do not help Pembroke, IL anymore. We
have tried to contact the
show who has aired a special about this community on numerous
America began with one vision: helping the people of Pembroke,
It started with an
article in the New York Times that ran in September 2002.
We helped this community for several years but found that, when we asked the
families what they wanted, we were getting requests for Game
Cubes, Nike shoes, and Basketball courts (not balls, courts!).
We also never received any photos from the community (which
we asked for repeatedly, even sent cameras and film) and
not one letter of gratitude for any of the food, uniforms,
or hundreds of Christmas gifts that we sent.
founder received numerous communications from people that
the Pembroke community was corrupt and our donations were
not reaching the people. While unconfirmed, we did make
calls to local merchants who mentioned that no one had heard
Focus America nor had any Christmas gifts been distributed
to the children. Calls made to the Reverend Dyson were
not returned and we threw in the towel on this community, turning
our attention to a former coal-mining community who sought donations
of food and only food.
While our flagship
Pembroke project failed due to Pembroke's lack of communication,
acknowledgement, or perceived appreciation by the recipients
of our donations, Focus America has since
grown into a powerful grassroots operation that
focuses on helping children within impoverished communities
throughout the US. Within 18 months of our inception, we have
over $300,000 of charitable services in a 100% volunteer-run
(and self-funded) charity with less than 1.5% overhead. We
are about actions in helping our own communities.
If you still
want to help the Pembroke community, we advise that you ship
items directly to the school district:
Community Consolidated Schools
4120 South Wheeler Rd.
Hopkins Park, IL 60944
Attn: Dr. BJ Howery
c/o Focus America