America's worst charities

Our ranking based on cash paid to solicitors in the past decade

In detail#42: Survivors and Victims Empowered

Also doing business as: Child Protection Program, A Project Of Survivors And Victims Empowered, SAVE (Survivors And Victims Empowered)

Survivors and Victims Empowered was created to help prevent neglect and abuse. It publishes a child protection guide and newsletter on its website. The guide includes definitions and symptoms of abuse, reporting procedures, safety tips, referral resources and screening procedures.

Of the $8.6 million raised from 2001-2010, about 60 percent went to professional solicitors.

Survivors and Victims Empowered has pushed for restrictions on sex and violence on television. The president and founder of the charity, Phil Sheldon, is the son of the Rev. Lou Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, a conservative Christian organization.

The Pennsylvania attorney general sued the charity twice, settling charges in 1993 and 1998 for misleading donors. In one case, the state alleged that of the $4 million listed as charitable expenses, less than 1 percent was spent on direct aid to children. About half of the organization's revenue went to distributing outdated vegetable seeds to Native Americans. The organization has a history of inflating the value of the donated seeds to make it appear the charity was spending more on its programs than it was, the Detroit Free Press reported at the time. Sheldon told the paper that distribution of seeds relates directly to his charity's mission to prevent child abuse because it fights child neglect by malnutrition.

Officials at the organization did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

In their own words: the Charity's mission

Survivors and Victims Empowered is a charitable nonprofit organization created to help prevent criminal neglect and physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children and to help survivors of these childhood traumas in the recovery process. The organization's goal is to join with other organizations in both the public and private sectors to stop the abuse of children and remedy the damage cause by this abuse.

Unedited mission statements provided by the Colorado Secretary of State

Survivors and Victims Empowered

Known state disciplinary actions

Find out more about the actions in our database

States bringing actions Number of known actions Outcomes Total fines
Pennsylvania 2 Fine/penalties, Lawsuit $10,250

Fundraising and spending history

For years prior to 2008, cash raised from other sources might be included in the "cash raised by solicitors" column.

Year 990
raised by
was paid
Cash to
the charity
Cash to
direct aid
% cash to
direct aid
totals to
2010 pdf $660,683 $514,533 $146,150 $89,063 $0 0.00% $187,638
2009 pdf $654,745 $561,965 $92,780 $126,086 $0 0.00% $217,930
2007 pdf $535,423 $276,313 $259,110 $122,190 $0 0.00% $178,085
2006 pdf $587,753 $291,609 $296,144 $117,180 $0 0.00% $183,250
2005 pdf $685,263 $332,235 $353,028 $133,030 $0 0.00% $182,479
2004 pdf $838,942 $438,670 $400,272 $207,121 $0 0.00% $341,853
2003 pdf $1,179,086 $574,189 $604,897 $198,359 $0 0.00% $621,117
2002 pdf $1,337,100 $860,269 $476,831 $190,047 $0 0.00% $631,992
2001 pdf $1,270,869 $926,884 $343,985 $216,287 $0 0.00% $708,445
zTOTALS $7,749,864 $4,776,667 $2,973,197 $1,399,363 $0 0.0% $3,252,789

Who raised the money

Year Solicitor Cash raised Cash to solicitor Cash to charity % to charity Activity
2009 Preferred Community Services $30,979 $25,053 $5,926 19.13% telemarketing
2009 Newport Creative Communications $623,766 $536,912 $86,854 13.92% direct mail
2010 Newport Creative Communications $639,056 $495,180 $143,876 22.50% direct mail
2010 Preferred Community Services $21,627 $19,353 $2,274 10.50% telemarketing