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The American Indian Relief Council are scammers, swindlers, and flim-flam men.

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 18 years ago, in 2006, on the World Wide Web.

I recently received a letter in the mail from the American Indian Relief Council, signed by Brian J. Brown. Maybe you have too. Mine was printed on bright yellow paper, and goes like this, except that it is printed in ALL CAPS:

Dear Mr. Johnson,

A true emergency may soon confront the Indian people here on the Sioux reservations of South Dakota.

As you know, Americans in the cold-weather regions of our nation have seen heating fuel costs spiral out of control.

Here in Indian country on the northern plains — with winters that can be as bitter as most anywhere in the world — this can be a matter of life and death.

The cost of propane fuel — which is used by most of the people on our reservations who have any heat at all in their homes — has climbed every year.

And experts are already predicting even higher prices this year — which were already too expensive for thousands of Sioux families.

undsowie. I’m used to getting lots of junk mail from non-profits, and I’m used to high-pressure sales tactics; if I think the cause is worthy I usually pass over it in silence and put myself down for a small contribution. But a couple of things raised an eyebrow: the sheer intensity of the high-pressure pitch (escalated by the sensationalistic use of the phrase freeze to death, emphasized just like that, three times in the course of the letter), my unfamiliarity with the organization, the fact that they were a subsidiary council of a suspiciously vague-sounding charitable organization rather than an independent organization exclusively concerned with a specific group of Indians, and a number of small signs (starting with President Brian J. Brown) that this might not be an organization directed by the Lakota Indians themselves. So I checked up on them through Google. It’s a good thing I did: the American Indian Relief Council is using high-pressure sales tactics because they are swindlers. They sound like they aren’t run by Lakota Indians because they aren’t run by Lakota Indians. If you like throwing your money away on white people’s comfortable offices, then by all means give it to them. Otherwise, don’t.

Here’s the breakdown on AIRC, courtesy of In These Times (April 2001). Emphasis is added:

Charitable organizations are latching on to Native American causes because they are an easy sell. Americans feel guilty about their nation’s treatment of Native peoples, and they give money with the intention of correcting history’s wrongdoings, says Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy. These charities exploit the tremendous reservoir of goodwill that exists worldwide for Indian people, agrees Vernon Bellecourt, an American Indian Movement leader.

… One rogue charity, the Rapid City, South Dakota-based American Indian Relief Council (AIRC), gained notoriety in the early ’90s when it was accused of dumping useless textbooks and outdated gardening seeds on the Sioux reservation as part of its relief program. One of the AIRC’s largest services was its employment-training program, which consisted of hiring Native Americans to make fundraising calls. Employees blew the whistle on the organization’s dubious fundraising pitches, which they said were manipulative exaggerations and lies. They complained that the money the AIRC raised for Native Americans wasn’t making it to the reservations.

Eventually the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office sued the AIRC in 1993 for lying to donors about certain reservations, claiming they were hit by catastrophic natural disasters and needed funds to prevent famine and death. The lawsuit also charged that the AIRC overvalued the prices of goods it donated to tribes–like the expired seeds–listing them at market value. In 1999, AIRC President Brian Brown settled the lawsuit and agreed to pay the state $350,000.

But instead of shutting down the AIRC, Brown–who had previously been sued by the attorneys general of Connecticut and Pennsylvania in 1991 for inflating commodity values and deceiving donors–discreetly downsized the group’s South Dakota operations and shifted its focus to the American Southwest. The AIRC has been born anew under a different parent organization, National Relief Charities (NRC), which operates two new subsidiaries–the Council of Indian Nations and Southwest Indian Relief–in Apache Junction, Arizona. Brown keeps a low profile in his current office, tucked away in a nondescript industrial park outside of Portland, Oregon.

However, the charity’s makeover is entirely superficial. The NRC is still distributing a pitiful portion of its revenues to the constituency it purports to serve. According to the NRC’s 1999 federal tax filings, it earned more than $8.3 million in donations last year, but only 30 percent was spent on programs. In contrast, Brown’s salary has hovered at about $120,000 for the past two years. The National Charities Information Bureau, an Arlington, Virginia-based watchdog group, suggests charities should spend a minimum of 60 percent of total expenditures on programs and services, with the available balance going to fundraising and administration.

— In These Times (2 April 2001): Indian givers

In case you were wondering, their 2004 Form 990 reports that they raised $17,494,328 in revenue in 2004, and their spending on programs and services had climbed … to 50.6%. President Brian Brown raked in $168,669.

Where you can give

The bad news is that although AIRC are a pack of flim-flam men profiting off the penury of others, Plains Indians are facing a real crisis from the spike in propane heating costs. We’ve had the good fortune of an unusually mild winter this year, but that good fortune only goes so far.

The good news is that it’s not all bad news. There are lots of scamsters out there looking for a quick buck from you, and an increasing number are using sympathy for American Indians to get it. But there are also lots of good folks, many of them living on or by the reservation, providing real mutual aid who could benefit from whatever help you can offer. The best place to start is by finding groups directly associated with the actual reservations, and directed by the Indians that they claim to benefit. That is to say, by finding efforts that have more to do with mutual aid and less to do with the pretense of charity for others. As an example, here’s what I found, with the help of Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation, for groups on the Pine Ridge Reservation (home of the Oglala Sioux Tribe) that are helping folks out with heating costs this winter:

Update 2006-10-06: Last year I listed a number of groups, including Cangleska, Inc., OST Healthy Start, PTI Propane, and Bob’s Gas Service, which offered help with heating costs in Winter 2005. I recently got a note from Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation pointing out that this information is out-dated for Winter 2006. Since the information and the groups offering help change so often, the best thing for you to do is check out the latest information from the Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation Lend a Hand with Utilities page.

I’m sending $20 by PayPal to the Cangleska shelter tonight. (In case you’re interested, I found Cangleska’s Form 990 for 2004; it reports $2,815,490 in expenditures with $2,730,924 on services, meaning that 97% of expenditures go directly to services.) Please do give what you can. It’s important. And, as I was reminded tonight, it’s also important to keep an eye out for those who exploit our sympathy for the poor and suffering in order to make a fast buck. There is real need out there; unfortunately need all too often draws scamsters like circling vultures. You can help out; just make sure that you check up to find out who it is that you’re helping.

74 replies to The American Indian Relief Council are scammers, swindlers, and flim-flam men. Use a feed to Follow replies to this article

  1. Lisa

    I am contacting you today concerning your recent post about AIRC. I too am connected to this charity and find your opinion uneducated and can tell you obviously know nothing about this charity or charities in general. You claim this charity is “not run by the Lacota” and therefor must be a scam. This statement is not true. If you knew anything about the charity you would know that all program ideas (wants and needs) come directly from the people they help as well as when they need the help. And when the money is collected it is the “Lacota” ( as well as other tribes) volunteers joined with program partners who distribute the goods to thier people. Now, as far as the charities 990 is concerned you would be hard pressed to find another charity that helps so many reservations all over the United States. AIRC is by one branch of 7 that NRC runs. And as any charity grows to help more and more people the expense grows as well. Did you tell in your note that AIRC purchased more trucks to be able to transport more good to more people? No! You didn’t! Nor did you bother to ask someone from donor relations department any of your questions before you assumed the answers. It is people like you that hurt honest charities that are trying to help people by not finding out the facts before you blow your top. So please let people know THE TRUTH and maybe you should suggest they seek the FACTS for themselves. Thank you, Lisa L. Hall

    • spiritualchild

      I have been hounded by them relentlessly! I tell them over and over to stop calling me that im disabled, and they wont shut up! They keep talking anyway and wanting money. Its disgusting. The thing is that they are calling themselves Native advocates, but theyre really thieves. Im upset that they are doing this to Native People. I gave money for a few yrs as someone told me this was a good charity! Cant believe that they did that. They and I think another name they call themselves have been harrassing me day and night 7 days a week! I have myself on the do not call list, and have told them to stop over and over again. Called the attorney generals office, and will fill out a complaint. I am glad I read this article. I think this person who wrote this Lisa Hall, is full of crap. They should be ashamed of themselves.

· March 2006 ·

  1. T. Good

    Perhaps you should evaluate a charity on what they do today and not what was in the press years ago (an obviously opinion based article)or a lawsuit that was initiated 13 years ago! I’ve seen what this charity does for the Lakota people first hand and I give them kudos. I suggest you make a trip and visit their office in SD to see for yourself before you slander a perfectly good, honest charity. That’s what I did and am glad to be a contributor.

· April 2006 ·

  1. chris

    i too received this letter just today. i checked it out on google and found the same aritcles referenced by the OP. this mr brown is full of it. don’t send anything! do your research before you donate anything to anyone! peace-

  2. Richard

    Received a solicitation from Mr Brown today and thought I’d ccheck the organization(AIRC) out before opening my check book. The American Institute of Philanthropy lists the following; “American Indian Education Foundation / American Indian Relief Council / Council of Indian Nations / National Relief Charities / South Dakota Indian Services / Southwest Indian Services” all as organizations unwilling to provide “basic” documents to AIP confirming the use of contributions/income. Sort of a red flag isn’t it – personally I always check out organizations that list only a PO box number as their address.

    • hmazuji

      i was going to give them another donation, but instead spent a few moments on research. the person that stated it is my responsibility to donate responsibly is spot on. it is not the charity\’s responsibility to be responsible. i very easily switched my donation to Futures for Children: \”Thank you for your donation to Futures for Children.\” end of discussion

· August 2006 ·

  1. Wanda

    I too recieved a letter asking for a donation to buy Thanksgiving turkeys for Native Americans.I give to alot of charities but,I always check them out first.I must say I was very disappionted with my findings about AIRC.It was saddening to find that an organization with the means to help only takes advantage of tragety for self gain.In my opinion the ones who do this sort of thing are no better than the ones who took advantage of the Native Indian in the country years ago!

  2. Wild Bill

    I received my “Thanksgiving Letter” today from the AIR Council. After checking the Internet, I found the old legal cases. Based on my own personal observation and research, the legal troubles Brian Brown experienced only taught him how to give up to the Native Americans just enought to evade the regulators and pocket the rest. It is quite interesting that the first two responses listed were from supporters sounding like sock puppets of Mr. Brown. NO, I won’t be sending any money to this organization, but have contributed many hours of time and cash to the local Native American tribes near my home. Those without the benefit of a Casino (since their reservations are located far off the beaten track) tend to suffer the most. Congress and the BIA need to either pony up the promised benefits under the various treaties entered into in good faith nation to nation or continue to hang their head in shame as shining examples of the white man’s forked tongue.

· September 2006 ·

  1. james golff

    well i wish i had researched before i donated. sure enough, i sent $30.00 last year and $60.00 this year for Thanksgiving. I always felt suspicious that it seemed AIRC spent the equivalent of my donation and more trying to get more money from me. I feel like a chump.

    • hmazuji

      no. you aren’t looking at this with the perspective: it was worth $90 to learn about how and when and where to give, and airc taught you this. now when you give to Futures for Children, you can thank airc for pushing you in that direction. because without airc, you wouldn’t have thought it necessary to give.

· October 2006 ·

  1. Ned Delaney

    Seems a response from the AIRC would be in order. I don’t know Mr. Brown, but I do know several families on Pine Ridge who have had experience with the various organizations in question. In that light, it should be easy to contact someone on Pine Ridge for an assessment. If you’re not sure where to start, I would suggest Oglala Lakota College at Kyle.

  2. Onikaze

    I just received the Thanksgiving letter from the AIRC and there were things in there that made me immediatly go online to check it out. First off, there is an illustration that prominently displays a very a very cheerful male pilgrim, a female pilgrim wiht a plate of food, and a young indian male looking rather forlorn. The message this seems to convey is, “Look, we good Christians are bestowing this boon on these poor heathens because that’s how magnanimous we are.”

    Second, to the Native Americans really put much emphasis on Thanksgiving? I can understand that, as a tradition of American culture, it might be somewhat observed.. but I would think from the Native American perspective it would be rather morose – like celebrating the beginning of the end. It would almost be like the Jewish having a feast to mark the opening of Auschwitz.

    I also thought it was interesting that the state how little meat there is in the Native Americans’ diet. Now, I know there is a shortage of food in general, but that’s pretty much a white, fat, American mindset – that meat is everything. So, in showing that mindset, the AIRC is further showing they are looking at this from a fat, white American bias.. not a multicultural perspective you would think people trying to help Native Americans would have.

    This cultural bias is further betrayed by the emphasis on how some families asked to have the meals frozen so they could eat at Christmas. While many Native Americans are probably passively Christian by default of their ancestors being converted at gunpoint, the mention of Christmas and the closing of “God Bless You and Your Family” reeks too much of fat, white, American, Christian bias. Again, “We’re helping these poor heathens because we’re such great guys.” There’s no cultural sensitivity in there that demonstrates a respect for the Native Americans’ individual cultural heritage.

    The upshot of getting this letter is, while I definitely will not be sending one cent to the AIRC, I will contact my local Cherokee nation to see if they have their own local organization that I might contribute to, either by money or manpower.

— 2007 —

  1. mari gilbert

    I am very glad that I checked out this charity before giving too. This “freezing to death” stuff that I received today made me very suspicious. Thanks for the warning. This letter is going in the trash.

  2. Darren

    Check out their rating in Charity Navigator. 50% of their revenue goes to fundraising, compare that to the Red Cross where 3.5% of their revenue goes to fundraising!


    I received a phone call today 02/20/07, from a woman who did not give a name, but said she was calling for the INDIAN RELIEF COUNCIL. The call was directed toward my mother who is currently on the NDNCR, (National Do Not Call Regestry). She is a senior citizen and does not need to be bothered by high-pressured IDIOTS(Telemarketers). Be assured that this is to be reported as a breach. Further more, she sounded more ASIAN than AMERICAN!!! Feel free to contact me via E-MAIL.

  4. Alita

    I received the “freezing to death” “high-propane” phone call today, 3/13/07, but what I found interesting was that they asked permission to send me a letter, then told me they would include a $100 pledge card.

    While I was talking to the man who identified himself as “Carlos”, I went to the web and googled AIRC, and came up with their website and this one. When I asked him about it on the phone, he was adamant that they were not a scam, and even said that 100% of my donation would go to help the Indians. Knowing I had to research this more, I told him he had permission to send a letter, but he had to put $0 pledge card in.

    I’m glad I found this site and read more, but will inquire at my local university also. The first couple of replies on this site make me even more suspicious.

  5. Alp

    I received a phone call from Geraldine Querubin last week asking me to make a donation to this charity, American Indian Relief Council. She was very polite, but pleaded with me to promise to donate something before committing to send me something in the mail. I told her that I would research this charity.

    I’m not sure what to make of the In These Times’ article, but what does concern me is that I didn’t find American Indian Relief Council in IRS Publication 78.

    The thing that caught my attention, that distinguished this from most other solicitations, is that there was no mention of the “tax deductible” nature of your donation. Charities usually remind you that you get to write it off.

    I did find “National Relief Charities” in Pub 78; I’m assuming it may be some sort of umbrella organization. So while there are a number of red flags, the fact that the “parent” organization is a registered nonprofit suggests they may be audited by the IRS, and it’s less likely they are a complete scam.

    But why give to an organization that has a 50% efficiency when there are so many others?

    “Publication 78, Cumulative List of Organizations described in Section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, is a list of organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.”

  6. Thomas Svensen

    I too got a letter from The American Indian Relief Council in January and was suspecious as always. I did some research on the net and was not impressed. I took the time to call their toll free number that was on the back of the letter and to my amazement someone actually answered the phone. The young lady who answered the phone answered question after question for me. She offered me the phone and address of their offices in Rapid City, SD and told me if I was ever in the area to stop by. I didn’t donate but when I was on my way from Chicago to Yellowstone, I thought “What the hell” and called their offices. I was given directions and stopped. I’ve just returned and have to tell you, they are legit…..they gave me a tour of their warehouse and invited me to go out to help with one of their programs the next day. I turned them down but was impressed that someone actually offered. The majority of their employees there, including the manager of that office, are Indian. You have to make your own decisions on who to give to and I am a big skeptic, but sometimes taking the time talk to someone and seeing with your own eyes makes a difference.

  7. Richard

    I’ve previously given to this charity, and now regret having done so.

    This charity refused to provide materials to the American Institute of Philanthropy, or to the Better Business Bureau. Also, this charity received only a 1 star rating (out of a possible 4) from Charity Navigator. Does anything else need to be said?

  8. Walking Bull

    Hello, I am appauld at the ignorance of people posting these negative messages about American Indian Relief Council. I am a Lokota Souix Indian and have lived on the Pinridge reservation all my life. I can tell you that AIRC has changed the lives of many of my people everyday. They feed hundreds of people everyday that without them would go hungry. They have a great reputation on the reservation as really the only charity that really helps us. Past lawsuits, bad ratings, high adminastration costs, who cares, they are making a huge difference in people lives for the better. If you ever knew how tough life is on the reservation and have seen what AIRC has done for my people you would donate. They are the only charity that we see on the reservation. Everyone loves them and how they help us, so to all the people who obivously don’t know what they are talking about shame on you.

  9. RB

    Here are a couple of links that should further raise the level of skepticism about NRC:



    This last one is on a telemarketing industry website, soliciting telemarketers in the Phillipines. Here’s their pitch:

    Description: National Relief Charities-Manila Center is looking for individuals who are qualified for the position of Outbound Call Agents. Successfuly applicants for Outbound Call Agents will have a great career in National Relief Charities-Manila Center.

    Outbound Call Agents

    Candidates should have Assertive Sales Skills Excellent English Communication Skills Strong customer service orientation at least 1 year of outbound calling experience honest, reliable, dedicated and hardworking college graduate male/female; at least 24 years old

    Bring your updated resume and drop by our officce at anytime.

    A salary of PHP 12,750 for a 3-day workweek, 30 hours a week, bonuses and performance incentives

  10. Richard

    Here is a notice looking for people in the Phillippines to work as telemarketers for this charity:

    Description: National Relief Charities-Manila Center is looking for individuals who are qualified for the position of Outbound Call Agents. Successfuly applicants for Outbound Call Agents will have a great career in National Relief Charities-Manila Center.

    Outbound Call Agents

    Candidates should have Assertive Sales Skills Excellent English Communication Skills Strong customer service orientation at least 1 year of outbound calling experience honest, reliable, dedicated and hardworking college graduate male/female; at least 24 years old

    Bring your updated resume and drop by our officce at anytime.

    A salary of PHP 12,750 for a 3-day workweek, 30 hours a week, bonuses and performance incentives


  11. James Ainsworth

    Thank you for putting this information on the web… My mother receives these mailings regularly, and she always tries to give $10 or $20 to a wide range of poverty relief, hunger and international charities because of her Christian values. But I had my suspicions about these Indian charities, but I never really took the time to follow up on my hunches until today, when I came across your expose. Now I’m going to make sure my mother doesn’t give a penny to these folks or waste time with them in any way. Thank you for doing the leg work on this…

  12. Eva

    I received a phone call too, from a young woman who spoke perfect english, asking for a donation to the Council of Indian Nations. I informed her I had already donated to other charities. She asked if she could send me a letter. I agreed. When I received the letter it contained heartbreaking information about how the indian’s were suffering. I did feel badly, but I needed to find out if this organization was legitimate. I’m glad I “googled” their name and found your website. The letter I received said “Levena Jones” was the President of this organization. I wrote her a letter stating I would not be able to contribute to their charity at this time and mailed it using the pre-sorted stamped envelope they sent with their letter. I was careful not to sign my entire name, using only my first name, so they couldn’t forge it.

  13. Roy T.

    I received a call recently from someone purporting to represent Native Americans, but was suspicious that they did not mention any specific tribes that they were representing. Furthermore, the caller had a distinctive accent greatly resembling those of people who had been repeatedly calling me from call centers in India. I thought this odd, but told them to go ahead and send their letter. It was from the Concil of Indian Nations, a front organization for the National Relief Council, which apparently spends more of its money on staffers than it does on the people they are supposed to be helping. Listed as one of the primaries is the same guy who lost the Pennsylvania court case as head of the AIRC. He should be turned over to those who he is exploiting and let them be creative about his punishment.

— 2008 —

  1. Amanda Mitchell

    After a phone call from this agency and a follow-up later requesting $100, I looked them up and found this website. I copied these pages and stuffed them in an envelope along with the donation request with a personal note stating that I had read this and if this information was INcorrect, then please call me. We’ll see if they do.

  2. Jane Doe

    Please, please listen to these people…I am a former employee of the NRC. They make us sign a disclosure about never speaking of the practices of NRC. But they are by far the biggest scam artists you could ever imagine. The only good thing about NRC right now is that Brian Brown, former President, and Chief Bottle Washer or Scam Artist left his wife and children in Portland and ran off with one of the telemarketers from the Phillipines. She took him to the cleaners in court and he lost his control of NRC. I volunteered at a non-profit organization in my community and thought it would be wonderful to do something for the American Indians. Once you start working there, you can see their main concern is earning money for NRC and very little goes to the American Indians. Donations are sent to PO Boxes in the South Dakota, Arizona, and New Mexico. The donations are then shipped to other locations to be processed. Marketing is their biggest department…looking for additional mailing lists, and phone lists to find more donations. Please…deep six these mailing to your trash can.

  3. John Running Strong

    It is very unfortunate that some people believe everything that they read on the internet. Having worked with numerous charities, I can tell everyone hands down that this organization is legit and does everything possible to ensure that donations are used appropriately (If you looked online, you would find negative publicity about nearly every non-profit charity out there). This company consistently looks for ways to improve their charity ratings and will have their percentages in line very soon. Yes they may have made some mistakes in the past but c’mon everyone, this was nearly 15 years ago and the president has since been removed. They truly want to exceed donor expectations and have a positive image. It takes time to rebuild and that is just what this company is doing. No one is getting rich. The president drives a 7 or 8 year old mustang. In addition, this company also has a restriction program in place that allows donors to have 100% of their donation go towards their programs…did anyone above mention this? A wise person posted above ” sometimes taking the time talk to someone and seeing with your own eyes makes a difference.” In conclusion, everyone is entitled to believe in what they want, but its almost saddening to hear that people have not taken the time to just call an 800# and see for theirself that this company really does make a differenc in Indian Country!

  4. Ron Stransky

    John: Call and 800 number? What does that prove? Nothing can be learned just by talking to someone on the phone, you can’t tell if soone is lying or not. We need some third party to investigate and tell us THE TRUTH. I have been giving to this organization for years. Now I am left wondering whether I should give again, and what the truth is……

  5. Ron Stransky

    Well, I soent just a few more minutes doing research, and here;s more TRUTH.


    Sorry John Running Strong, your organization spends almost half the money it collects on organizational expenses, and was rated only 1 of 4 stars :(

— 2009 —

  1. Ed

    How do I stop the American Indian Relief Council (AIRC) phone calls(average over three times a week)? I have told them to stop at least 10 times. We no longer give because of their constant nagging and now I have found other reasons. My wife felt guilty. If they really needed help and the money really went to deserving American Indians their casinos or Obama and their over paid solicitors can take care of them. We do not make as much as their solicitors. A pair of charity solicitors used to live next door. They had a new BMW and Jet Ski and lived on the lake. They have since moved up.

  2. Churchmouse

    We, too, received yet another phone call from the AIRC today, and would like to know how to get them to stop hounding us. Their number always shows up on our Caller ID as “unknown name” 000-000-000 or somesuch; so we are unable to block them. I’ve tried everything to have them take us off their contact list, from reasoning with them politely, threatening them with legal action to hanging up on them, but they JUST WON’T STOP. :(

    We made a few small donations awhile back, but now it seems that was a mistake. While I’m not opposed to helping Indians (or any other legitimately needy cause), we mainly restrict our giving to explicitly Christian-based relief organizations that we have confirmed share both our beliefs and values, not just “good Samaritan”-type appeals (we are opposed to casinos and other forms of gambling as opposing Biblical stewardship principles, for instance). The last time I checked out the AIRC website, however, perhaps not surprisingly it contained some antiquated/caricaturized/stereotyped references to our faith.

    When I asked the telemarketer how they got our phone number to begin with, they mentioned it was from one of their other affiliated organizations (they all seem to have similar names, and we’ve gotten calls from many of them). It makes no sense. When I asked her how do we get removed from the contact lists, she replied, “Well, Ma’am, if you would make a donation today…” I cut her right off and quickly excused myself from the conversation. These people use strong-arm, high-pressure tactics and just will not take “No” for an answer!

    After reading this page, however, I will not allow my sympathies to be played on anymore by these groups. They are about as bad as Feature Films for Families (a Mormon-affiliated film distribution group) with their repeated telemarketing calls. We are also on the National “Do Not Call” Registry; but I understand that charities are exempt; along with any organizations with which you have a “business relationship”. Be aware that a “business relationship” is defined quite broadly and can be something as innocent as having entered a sweepstakes that they sponsored, taking part in a refund offer or accepting a small “freebie” giveaway such as product samples. I believe they are allowed to keep contacting you for up to eighteen months after that; so be careful about entering contests and stuff.

  3. Guest

    I’m not sure if things were different in the past, however after reading through theses posts, I did some research online and found that their IRS Form 990 for 2008 shows that 73% of funds went to programs. Isn’t BBB requirement only 65%. Just my 2 cents

    Editor’s Note. For the record, the anonymous author of this comment posted the comment from the IP address, which at the time of this note (28 September 2009, 11:20 AM Pacific) resolves to the host mail.nrc1.org, a domain registered to National Relief Charities, the parent organization of the American Indian Relief Council. It is therefore likely that he or she posted the comment from a computer owned by the parent organization of the American Indian Relief Council. Make of that what you will. —R.G.

  4. Destiny

    My mother received a call the other day from council of indian nations. It was a middle eastern man she was talking to. Although leery about it she still wanted to help as do I and asked for more information on it. Two days later we get something from CIN talking about the food surplus shortage for the Apache nation. Something still gives me pause about it though. I looked here for more information and most of what I found is years old. How do I find a 800# or where do I go to check it out? Everything I have read on hear is he said she said crap not much of it is really useful. Anyone got suggestions?

  5. Bill Cohen

    National Relief Charities is a little difficult to understand and you have to do careful analysis. Their 990 for fiscal 2008, which they link to from their web site contains no attachments. Understanding the details of their program expenses and revenue is important. For this you can access their complete 990’s for fiscal years 2005, 2006 and 2007 through the Guidestar website (you will have to register – but only at the for free status). http://www2.guidestar.org/

    First review their 2008 financial statement, also available on Guidestar. You will see that their total donated revenue is $41,695,000, including about $21 million in contributions and gifts and $20 million in non-cash contributions. Ironically, the 2008 990 states only $21,630,000 in total revenue. Most likely the non-cash goods include food that they do deliver to Native Americans in-need, and in their own trucks (their balance statement lists almost $908,000 in trucks and equipment).

    Next review the detailed expense attachments which are at the end of both the 2006 and 2007 reports. (Copy these PDF documents to your files so that you can turn these sideways statements to the correct position.) You will see that the vast bulk of dollars within the program expenses are in fact more expenses. Only about $6 million flows out to the needy as grants; $4+ million in donated food and $1+ million in cash grants and scholarships. To those who have written that this agency does a lot of good I am sure that dispensing over $4 million in food is a large scale effort – but they claim to collect $41 million!

    Since it is difficult to correlate between the $41 million revenue shown in the 2008 annual report and the much smaller amounts in the 990’s (which includes audited financials in the 2006 and 2007 990’s) it is questionable if the food donations of $4+ million come from the contributions and gifts or from the non-cash donations which do not make their way into the 990. By the way does anyone else find it strange that they own over $9 million in real estate and have started a profit sharing plan for their top executives, pretty creepy behavior for a helping organization? While the president may spin around in a 8 year old Mustang she does have a base salary over $160,000 (before profit sharing). The question is what does she have in the garage?

  6. Guest

    I did some digging around as well as made some phone calls and actually found this company to be very transparent. While everyone has there own questions, I could only speak for myself when I say EVERY question I asked their representatives was answered without hesitation. I was even invited to come see one of their warehouses the next time I’m in the area. I spoke with their PR Manager (I think her name was Helen). I’m no 990 expert, but they were able to discuss everything with me in detail. Much of their revenue is in donated goods and defintely makes it to where it should go. I would encourage anyone with questions to simply contact them and then make an informed decision. I think the contact numbers are (don’t hold me to these though) 1-877-281-0808 was their PR dept. 1-800-416-8102- was their customer service. Everyone should make an informed decision when they donate, however as Destiny previously replied much of the stuff posted here is useless. Good luck all

    Editor’s Note. I agree that everyone should make informed decisions; so those who are reading this comment should be informed that its anonymous author posted the comment from the IP address, which at the time of this note (28 September 2009, 11:12 AM Pacific) resolves to the host mail.nrc1.org, a domain registered to National Relief Charities, the parent organization of the American Indian Relief Council. It is therefore likely that, although the author of this comment posted it anonymously, and chose to represent himself or herself as an out-of-town donor, he or she in fact posted the comment from a computer owned by the parent organization of the American Indian Relief Council. Make of that what you will. —R.G.

  7. Jesse Walker

    The “I think the contact numbers are (don’t hold me to these though)” was a nice touch.

  8. Ron Stransky

    I you want a telemarketer to stop calling you: 1) Put your name on the Federal gov’t DO NOT CALL LIST 2) Just tell the person calling “Put me on your do not call list” (use those exact words).

    while certain organizations are allowed to call you, they too must maintain their own internal DNC lists. So once you tell them to stop, they must.

  9. Helen Oliff

    My name is Helen Oliff and I am posting this as an authorized employee of National Relief Charities. NRC is a Native American serving charity that is dedicated entirely to quality of life for Native Americans on poverty-stricken reservations. Sadly, this blog has persisted for awhile with misinformation, the gist of which seems to be that NRC is not a real or credible charity. So let me tell you more about us. First and foremost, NRC is required to file an IRS Form 990 because of our 501(c)3 status. You can see NRC’s 990 for 2008 and its annual report at http://www.nrcprograms.org. Second, there is accurate information out there if you want it. NRC is transparent and posts our newest information in our Press Room at http://www.nrcprograms.org/PR. We also issue our newest press releases at http://www.business.PR.com/NRC.

    It is unfortunate that NRC did not see and respond to this blog sooner. We have always kept our focus on programs and the people we serve, rather than ratings and what is online. We realize that being open is important, and so I am responding to you now. If you have any more questions about NRC, please send them to PR@nrc1.org. Thank you.

  10. Jesse Walker

    Her name IS Helen! Guest was right!

— 2010 —

  1. Lisa Prime

    With all the need in our country, it sickens me that people take advantage of charitable people, denying the needs of others, living in luxury. How can they possibly sleep?? What shall they say when they see our Maker?? Just to make sure I know where my money is spent wisely, I will eliminate Council of Indian Nations from my tight budget. I regularly donate to Running Strong for American Indian Youth, and will continue to do so. I have wasted much needed money!

  2. Helen Oliff for NRC

    Over 70% of donations received by National Relief Charities go toward our programs. Only 3% go toward administrative expenses. More information is available in our 2008 annual report at http://www.nrcprograms.org/PR.

  3. Laura J.

    … where does the rest go?

  4. Helen Oliff for NRC

    It’s in the annual report, but to answer your question, the rest goes to fundraising. The BBB finds it acceptable that up to 35% of donations go to fundraising.

    NRC appreciates the donations we receive and uses them wisely. We are always sad to see donors go, but glad to know their support is still going to help Indian country.

  5. Isla

    I’m quite embarrassed to say I worked for about three months for one of this company’s branches, the one in the Philippines. I should have seen the telltale signs.

    To begin with, they don’t have their own domain name for the company’s email address. They use yahoo. But they have a website. It was odd but I ignored it.

    I know most who applied there were enticed by the 3 or 4 day work schedule per week. I admit it was not a bad idea, especially since I just got out of a very toxic three-year stay in one of the more reputable call centers here. But more than that, I had really been looking for a way to give back, to help, which I miss from the times when I used to work in outreach in remote areas. So imagine my excitement when I found a way to actually help for a living.

    I was wondering why we had to call under several different names, like the ones mentioned in this post, AIRC, Southwest Indian Relief, and about three others but they say they’re just all under one umbrella _ NRC. And, yes, the information was shared between those several agencies under it. And, yes, unless you say the exact words “Put me on your do not call list”, no amount of cursing or ranting would oblige a telemarketer to do so. I started looking up their website and it looked normal. But one day, during a huddle where they give updates, they showed us a picture of kids that NRC allegedly helped. What made me decide to leave the company was the t-shirts the kids were wearing in the picture _ according to them, given by our charity, of course. It read ninemillion.org. Hellooooooo. I looked at everyone’s faces and, obviously, none of the other agents were aware of ninemillion.org or the fact that it was created by United Nations. Fortunately, I recognized it because I actively checked out different organizations with whom I could hopefully volunteer, since like I said it was really something I miss and want to do, so I’ve checked out UN, ninemillion.org, RockEd, etc. Besides, we see care.org, Wildlife Fund, UN and alot others on Channel 25 (Net25) aside from ninemillion.org which stands out because of football great Ronaldo! How can no one notice that? And how can the company just pick out a picture to say they helped those kids and have the nerve to choose one with another organization’s name on it and think we’re so naive. Still, trying to be rational, I researched any connection between ninemillion.org and NRC. I found none. I didn’t even resign, I just didn’t come to work anymore because I was so repulsed at what I’ve been a part of. It took me three months to get over the guilt (as I was pretty good at getting donations because I really believed in the cause, often raking in hundreds to thousands of dollars PER donor, PER day from which we get a small commission which I was never after anyway. I was happy to just be paid for doing what I really want to do _ help) I was so misled.

    Now I have a better idea of which outreach/charity/organization to volunteer for and have even tagged my friends along but certainly not something like this. But the saddest thing to me is most of the people I worked with in NRC are still there. They either know it and have no conscience just like the people who started this. Or they just aren’t aware enough to know anything about current events, general information and the big world out there.

  6. Helen Oliff for NRC

    I am writing on behalf of National Relief Charities and wish to correct the information posted by Isla.

    1. NRC has no domain or email server on yahoo. Our domain has always been http://www.nrcprograms.org.

    2. The ninemillion.org pictures were taken at a day school in the Breadsprings Chapter of the Navajo Reservation. We distributed the shirts to the kids when they were participating in an all-day health fair on July 12, 2007. You are correct that there is no connection between NRC and ninemillion.org. Those shirts were donated by Nike and delivered to the kids by NRC. The kids knew this. They also knew that they liked seeing themselves in the pictures we took. NRC supports hundreds of communities with projects like this one, where the partners feel supported in creating a positive experience and motivated to plan even more activities for their participants.

    3. NRC provides over 26 different services to over 75 reservations. Our fundraising calls are based on the need, which is constantly changing. On a given day, we may call about a blizzard or tornado, kids starting school without school supplies, contaminated drinking water in a community, food bank shortages, or other needs related to health, housing, or safety… those basic human needs that go unmet unless someone calls attention to them. Our response to each need falls under a different program, such as AIRC, SWIRC, and so forth. So yes, we call for different programs.

    4. Over 70% of donations are devoted to our programs. This figure is well within the standards established by the Better Business Bureau and charity watchdogs. As a GuideStar Exchange Member, we provide our annual report, IRS form 990, and audited financials to GuideStar for reporting to the general public and to donors who want accurate information about NRC. We invite any one to visit http://www.nrcprograms.org and http://www.guidestar.org to learn more about NRC and its programs.

— 2011 —

  1. Kelly Vernon

    My mother in law received letter today with a necklace from the mint. She was just fixing to send them a check when it caught my eye. I am an Osage Indian with a role number. I know that if I truly need assistance the tribe will take care of me. I was saddened to see that someone is scamming the Indians once more… Don’t send money!!!! If I need to see a dr. i can go to any indian tribe facility. doesn’t have to be my own tribe.

  2. NRC

    I’m writing in behalf of National Relief Charities to reply to Kelly’s post. Some tribes are unable to assist individuals, and NRC does not assist individuals either. Nor do we provide cash. We support programs on the reservations that are serving entire communities or populations such as Elders or students or the home-bound. We provide material services and other support that creates opportunities for these programs to work toward their self-determined goals. We only work with reservations that invite us into their communities, and we are always glad of this. That’s why we’re here. We work with over 1,000 such programs every year. In fact, I just ran a quick report and NRC has worked with 8 Osage programs so far in 2011. Hope this helps. If you have any more questions about NRC, feel free to send an email to PR@nrc1.org. Thanks.

  3. disgruntled

    yup, you guessed it, I just got a call from National Relief Charities; they must not have updated their call script, because several years have passed since the first post, and I still got “they WILL Freeze to death” but a few things raised some flags: her thick foreign accent and the woman’s insistance that I “pledge money now” after extensive googling this is what I found

    1) the have been found guilty of fraud in the past 2) the president makes over $172,000 (2009) 3) the respondent above, Helen Oliff, is the paid Head Of PR 4) fake “awards logos” on their website (in some cases no such award exist) FINALLY 5) Dismal ineffiency: only about .26c of every $1.00 go to intended recipients

    • NRC

      I am replying in behalf of National Relief Charities. Continuing to post misinformation on this web site is not helping anyone. If you have a complaint, you should contact donor relations at 800-416-8102. We have previously made several facts clear:

      1. That we do have a call center in Manila, so it is no surprise if your caller had a “foreign” sounding accent.
      2. That at no time was National Relief Charities found guilty of fraud; the claims made were never proven and the settlement agreement clearly states “no finding of wrongdoing on the part of NRC or AIRC.”
      3. That our entire operating expenses and salaries (for our President and over 300 people) cost only 2% of income, which is below typical charity standards.
      4. That our efficiency exceeds the BBB standards for charity accountability, which is 68% going to programs. In the case of NRC, over 70% goes to programs. You can find our annual report at http://www.nrcprograms.org/site/DocServer/2010AnnualReport.pdf?docID=3062. Page 15 of this report clearly shows that over $30 million a year is spent on helping those in need. This includes our Public Relations department which, as with all companies, is for the purpose of supporting public education and information.

      Regarding award logos, it would be foolish for any organization to run the risk of copyright infringement, and each award shown on NRC’s web site is proudly displayed with approval and permission of the granting agency.

      Regarding Elders, sadly, it is true that some Elders do get hypothermia and some also die in their own homes from the cold. But most people do not wish to hear this and our Quality Assurance team for telemarketing ensures that no such claims are made by our phone agents.

      Although you feel “Disgruntled,” it doesn’t resolve anything to post negative comments on a site such as this. This thread is an easy target for people who want to spread misinformation. If you truly want a resolution, simply contact our donor relations team and let them know what you would like to see changed. Their phone number is 800-416-8102. Thanks.

— 2012 —

  1. Mike

    It’s Saturday at 5:45 and I just received a phone call from The American Indian Relief Charity. You could tell that this woman was calling from a call center. The woman asked me to donate $100 because American Indian can’t pay their heating bills and children are freezing. Even though this smelled of a scam call I politely declined and said no thank you. She them moved to script 2 and continued to say “I understand, you don’t need to donate that much, perhaps a little less to warm your heart”. At this point she learned that I was in control of the conversation and hung up the phone. A quick Google search revealed a Pennsylvania lawsuit agents this organization, a BBB rating of F, and other complaints. Not surprisingly the information that this organization controls/publishes shows them to be a very favorable organization.

  2. Retired Cop

    From BBB.org website…

    National Relief Charities Also known as: American Indian Education Foundation American Indian Relief Council Council of Indian Nations Native American Aid Navajo Relief Fund Rescue Operation For Animals of the Reservation Southwest Indian Relief Council (snip)

    This organization has provided current materials to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) When a report is complete, it will be available at no charge by contacting this office or by visiting our Web site.

    Since Ms Oliff from NRC is active on here, I have a few questions for her…

    1) Posts on this site date back to 2006. BBB.org states that they are compiling a report on your charities, which indicates that you have recently submitted documentation to them. The Better Business Bureau is pretty much the de facto standard organization here in the USA when it come to determining legitimacy. QUESTION: WHY HAVE YOU WAITED UNTIL NOW TO MAKE AN ATTEMPT AT LEGITIMACY WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU?

    2) You list several “accreditation” logos on your website. Let’s address them…

    INDEPENDENT CHARITIES OF AMERICA. This is the first logo on your site. Clicking on that logo takes one to the ICA website which lists their standards of “high quality charities”. The last “requirement” is “A variety of other miscellaneous standards must be met.” Lots of words are used are used on the page, but not much in the way of specifics about AIRC/NRC; especially when one searches for AIRC… the only mention is that AIRC is a charity that is endorsed by them. A person only has to click on the heading “Ways to Give” to see that ICA’s main purpose is a conduit by which individuals and employers/employees can donate money.

    COMBINED FEDERAL CAMPAIGN From http://www.opm.gov/cfc “The mission of the CFC is to promote and support philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient, and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.” In other words, this is a program through which federal employees can donate their payroll money. Clicking on the federal logo does NOT take you to the government site, but rather a blog on NRCs website. On their blog, you’ll see prominently displayed, “National Relief Charities has been designated as a “Women, Children, and Family Services” charity for the 2011 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC).” HOWEVER, WHEN I DID A SEARCH FOR NATIONAL RELIEF CHARITIES ON THE CFC WEBSITE, THE ORGANIZATION WAS NOT LISTED. NRC may have been on the list in past years, but it appears that they are no longer recognized by the United States Office of Personnel Management.

    GREATNONPROFITS.ORG This website is perhaps the most objective/transparent and gives insight into the mindset of NRC. People can post their opinions (pro or con) and then NRC posts their comments. The remarkable thing is not necessarily the comments of public posters (remember: anyone can post anything, whether true or false), but the official replies by NRC. Perhaps the most outlandish comment made by NRC is that to a post dated November 28, 2011. The poster complained about being badgered by a large number of mailings from NRC’s “sub-charities”. In their official reply, NRC states (in part), “If you opt to become a monthly donor, that would also help reduce your mailings from us.” It would seem that to get NRC off your back, you need to regularly donate.

    GUIDESTAR.ORG Clicking on this icon take one to the Guidestar.org page on NRC. Guidestar is an organization that advertises charitiees and matches them with donors. At first, it appears that NRC meets Guidestar’s criteria for transparency, annual revenue/expense data, and has a 4 out of 5 star rating. But further analysis raises questions. First, revenue/expenses for FY 2008 is the current posting of financial data. One would have to question why there is nothing more current. Second, The 4/5 star rating is misleading. If you look at the posters, donors give NRC a low grade which would result in a lower atar rating. However, due to an overwhelming number of NRC employees and “clients” giving the NRC a high rating, the overall rating ends up being 4/5.

    DMA.ORG Tucked near the bottom of the column is a logo that says “DMA”. Nothing happens when you click on it, and there’s probably a reason. DMA stands for Direct Marketing Association. DMA bills itself as “… the industry’s leading trade association for direct and interactive marketers dedicated to helping our members increase their effectiveness and profitability.” Part of their offering to their customers are mailing list rentals.

    CHARITYNAVIGATOR.ORG Just like the DMA logo, clicking on the charitynavigator.org logo does nothing. And, there’s a good reason for that. NRC is rated 2/4 in the Financial category and 3/4 in the Accountability & Transparency category. If you search for NRC on charitynavigator.org, you’ll notice that there are some issues noted in the areas of ** Process for determining CEO compensation, Donor Privacy Policy, and Audited Financials.** As you scroll further down the page, you’ll find that being the head of a charity is anything but charitable… CEO/President Shannon Albert is paid $189,847. That’s 0.44% of NRC’s expenses. Not bad for someone who only has two bachelor degrees and purportedly drives and old Mustang to work.

    Finally, I’d like for NRC to answer this question in particular… IF THE NRC IS SO FOCUSED ON HELPING NATIVE AMERICANS, THEN WHY DO THEY NOT PROVIDE EMPLOYMENT TO NATIVE AMERICANS BY STAFFING THEIR CALL CENTERS WITH “INDIANS” WHO NEED HELP? I FIND IT HYPOCRITICAL THAT NRC NOT ONLY OUTSOURCES THEIR FUNDRAISING, BUT ALSO OUTSOURCES IT OVERSEAS, THUS DENYING JOBS TO AMERICANS OF ALL RACES. (Overseas outsourcing has been confirmed in multiple posts on various websites by the NRC.) Could it possibly be that it is hard to find A Native American who would stoop to the marketing tactics that NRC employs?

    The bottom line… ** Does NRC help Native Americans? With an income of $40+ million, even if 10% of that made it to helping people, it would a substantial amount. So the real question is not “Does NRC help Indians?” but **Does NRC pass on the maximum amount possible to Indians?” It would seem that the published data would indicate would indicate “No”. Is NRC an illegal scam? Unless evidence come to light, the answer is “No” at this time. By law, they do not go over the line in their operations to the point that a red flag would be raised. (Ms Albert’s degree in Criminal Justice and membership in boardsource.org no doubt helps in that area.) Is what NRC is doing unethical? That depends on your definition of “unethical”. If you have a problem with exorbitant operating costs, less-than-transparent finances, badgering donors into giving, and excessive compensation, then you would probably answer “Yes.” WHILE NRC AND ITS SUB-CHARITIES DOES PROVIDE LIMITED ASSISTANCE TO NATIVE AMERICANS AND ANIMALS, A QUESTIONABLE PART OF MONIES RECEIVED GOES INTO ADVERTISING AND COMPENSATION. PROSPECTIVE DONORS WOULD DO WELL IN CONSIDERING SIMILAR CHARITIES WHICH HAVE LOWER OPERATING COSTS AND DO NOT EMPLOY STRONG-ARM SOLICITATION.

    A PERSONAL NOTE… I’m sure that the information presented here will upset some people. All info presented here was obtained using a common search engine, so anyone can confirm the data. I have spent my entire life helping people in positions in both public safety and military. My spouse is part Native American and we have spent time working in a center for Native Americans and on a rez. NATIVE AMERICANS MOST CERTAINLY ARE IN NEED IN HELP, BUT WE NEED TO MAXIMIZE OUR DONATIONS BY CHOOSING A MORE EFFICIENT CHARITY THAN NRC. PLEASE HELP, BUT PLEASE CHOOSE WISELY

    Thanks for taking time to read this rather long post.

  3. Retired Cop

    It appears that there may be an upper-middle (or is it middle-upper?) management change in NRC.

    The Washington Post has the following jobs on its website 2/4/12 link *Controller (details) National Relief Charities Sherman, TX 01/17 Call Center Manager

    (details) National Relief Charities Sherman, TX 01/09*

    The Call Center Manager starts out at $55,000/yr [link] (http://careercenter.nptimes.com/jobs/4629696?utmsource=BoxwoodIndeed&utmmedium=Indeed&utmcampaign=Boxwood%2BIndeed%2BFeed) The Controller position pays $65,000.00 – $80,000.00 {link] (http://www.careerbuilder.com/JobSeeker/Jobs/JobDetails.aspx?ipath=EXIND&siteid=cbindeed&JobDID=JHM3K56X1XVCFF3MXVC)

    While doing some more research, it appears that another “branch” of the NRC conglomerate has surfaced.

    National Relief Charities-Manila Center (Ortigas Center) Address: National Relief Charities – Manila Center U2504 Prestige Tower, Emerald Ave, Ortigas Center Pasig City Philippines Source: http://www.callcenterdirectory.net/call-center/Philippines/Ortigas-Center/National-Relief-Charities-Manila-Center-771.html

    National Relief Charities-Manila Center (Virginia) Address: National Relief Charities 13318 Airpark Drive Elkwood, VA 22718 Phone (540) 825-5950 Toll-fee (800) 416-8102 Source: http://www.callcenterdirectory.net/call-center/United-States/Virginia/National-Relief-Charities-Manila-Center-770.html ** This info may be useful for enforcement agencies trying to track down NRC calls.**

    In case you’re interested in the type of individual in the NRC Call Center, here is a job posting for NRC… *Outbound Sales Agent PHP 8000 – 10000 plus bonus (National Capital Reg)


    • SHIFT 3 – 20hrs/ week Thursday – Sunday 8pm – 1am

    • SHIFT 4 – 15hrs/ week Monday – Wednesday 8pm – 1am



    • One year international outbound experience
    • 20 part-time positions available.
    • We are looking for individuals with good verbal skills, goal–oriented,and with a positive attitude.
    • Outgoing personality

    National Relief Charities (NRC) Company Address: Prestige Tower Suite 2504 Emerald Avenue, Ortigas Center Pasig City – Industry: Call Center / IT-Enabled Services / BPO Type of Company: Private Limited Company, Local Based Company* Source:http://callcenterjobs.com.ph/category/national-relief-charities-nrc/

    Let’s look at the wages these folks make PER MONTH… 10,000 PHP = $234.12 American 1,500 PHP = $35.11 8,200 PHP = $192.98 1,000 PHP = $23.41 Source: http://coinmill.com/PHP_USD.html Rate effective 2/4/12 IS IT ANY WONDER THAT NRC DOESN’T EMPLOY NATIVE AMERICANS AT A STATESIDE CALL CENTER???? 20 hours per week X 4 weeks = 80 hours. Do the math and the ‘best job (with a bonus) comes to $3.37!!!!!

    This triggers a “red flag”… IF NRC SPENDS SO LITTLE ON WAGES IN THEIR CALL CENTER, WHY/HOW DO THEY SPEND OVER 25% ($10,992,951) OF THEIR REVENUE ON “FUNDRAISING EXPENSES”??? Source: NRC FYE12/2010 http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=6293

    This post is one more insight into the workings of one what may possibly be one of America’s most lucrative charities.

  4. William

    As an American I can sympathize with calls for help as long as they are legitimate but Council for Indian Nations (C.I.N.) are a scam, plain and simple. True, a little of the total funds raised make it to those in need but the greater amount goes for advertising(to raise more money) outsourcing(foreign countries)and so called programs. If C.I.N. was legitimate 75% or more would be spent to go directly to help those in need instead of extravagant salaries and profit sharing. Do I give to charities? Yes, but only to those I have thoroughly investigated. C.I.N. does not meet my criteria for a legitimate cause.

  5. George Saufley

    I used to donate to these reservations. Southwest Indian Council Now that I am retired I have cut back on these donations. Now that I have stopped they keep calling and asking for a donation at least 10 times a week. Makes me think its a scam. I thought that the Southwest Indian Council was Legitimate. Is it possible that scammers are using their name?

  6. TruckerMark

    If the above information is true, an annual salary of $10K for part-time call-center staff would do a whole heck of a lot of good if it was offered to 50 Sioux reservation residents in South Dakota instead of to Filipinos, as there would be an economic spin-off of 2.5 or more too.

    I must say that I am extremely disappointed with AIRC and its sister charities. Back when I was working full-time earning $70 or $80K, I did give them some of my dough, but like many other people have said, the charity then besieged me with junk mail from all of its different charities, and numerous other native charities that I had never even heard of did also, after they shared my name and contact information. Unfortunately for me and for my ability to donate on a consistent basis, in 2009 I lost my 30+ year career because of declining eyesight, and my earnings in retirement are less than half of what they were when I was working. Ever since then the AIRC family of charities have harassed me on a near everyday basis by telephone even though I have requested numerous times that they cease and desist. Just today I have been called 4 times by various members of the AIRC charity, even though I haven’t given them any money in over three years.

    Because of my current earnings posture, I can only afford to provide limited amounts to 4 or 5 charities. One of my long-standing charities is Lakota College, the Sioux-run undergraduate institution in South Dakota, which, despite a fairly low graduation rate, is included on several charities rating websites in the same level of stature and respect as charities like the USO, the Disabled American Veterans, and MADD. Did anyone know that the only public libraries on the Sioux reservation in South Dakota, a physical area the size of the State of New Jersey, are funded by Lakota College? Lakota College has two major funds, one to fund the operation and growth plan of the school, and the other to contribute toward student debt (since before a student can get their degree or certificate, they have to pay their educational debt to the college). They also do something that most other charities do not, which is to invite their donors to visit the school during graduation, so that their donors can be publicly honored for their help. They will also work with donors to set-up trusts, and donors are welcome to visit at any time too.

    I feel that perhaps the best long-term solution for improvement for the population that Lakota College serves is through charity in higher-education funding, and also some level of charitable spending in regard to the providence of employment there would be a big help too. Perhaps some level of contribution on down the road once better employment conditions exist to substance abuse treatment and self-esteem building might be in order too. I have also given from time-to-time to other native primary education schools, that see that their students get a quality education as well as enough to eat. Our treatment of our native populations has been a national disgrace for generations, and it would be nice to see America embrace bringing our most disadvantaged residents into the fold that the rest of us take for granted within our lifetimes.

    I have driven extensively in my career through several of our largest reservations, and most of those residents are doing very poorly, but I by myself can not possibly afford to help contribute toward all of the issues that our native populations face, so I am trying to do what I think will result in the greatest possible benefit for the long-term at the lowest possible cost. Once the residents of the Sioux reservation (or our many other problem native reservations) become better-educated and better-employed, better self-esteem will be engendered, and a much better and more-profitable future with far less critical humanitarian need will result.

    It is long past time for the hatred, abuse, and neglect of our native populations to end, but I would be very careful who you choose to represent you in your desire to help end the suffering, and my own opinion of AIRC and their half-dozen sister charities is that we (and they) could do a whole lot better with our charity dollar.

    AIRC member charities:

    American Indian Education Foundation / American Indian Relief Council / Council of Indian Nations / Native American AID / National Relief Charities / Navajo Relief Fund / Sioux Nation Relief Fund / Southwest Indian Relief Council

    Complaints: (If they don’t fall on deaf ears): 800-416-8102

    My advice: Don’t ever give them your telephone number!!!

— 2013 —

  1. low cap

    NRC = Total scam artists. Unethical organizations like NRC make it hard for Native run non profits to communicate to people who care about Native issues. be sure to understand that this organization is not run by Native Americans. it is their religious paternalism that drives them to take money on behalf of Natives and telling Natives what they need, rather than funneling the funds of good intentioned donors into these communities to allow them to grow and thrive themselves.

  2. spiritualchild

    Sickening that these people have pretended to be Native People. They are taking advantage to their own financial benefit. Native people really do need help, but I agree the best way is to talk to the people themselves. I know there is conning on the part of some people in charge of tribes, so its hard to find a way to know your money will go to the people who need it. This is a very sad situation. They have tormented me relentlessly and have unknown on the phone number listed.

  3. Jon Doe

    Everyone look at the organization’s Form 990 that they must submit for taxes… It shows a gross discrepency in the the amount of cash donations compared to what they actually provide for the intended recipients. They can’t fake that information… http://www.nrcprograms.org/site/DocServer/Form_990.pdf?docID=213

— 2014 —

  1. ed ulmer

    I just received a second call at work from them and told them, this was a business and said honestly i am not interested of which his reply, I understand if you dont like to help people out that is fine.

  2. erin matson

    I’ve not read these posts but at last a place to vent. I’ve given to several 1st people tax exempt some time ago Un til they began phoning me. now they phone me every day, east indian voices I always recognize & when I hang up they call back & hang up on me. this has been going on for years

  3. Nick

    I looked at this… http://www.nrcprograms.org/site/DocServer/Form_990.pdf?docID=213

    It shows that have an account in foreign bank – Philippines. Why is there a need to store money in an overseas account if the org is already tax exempt?

  4. Jennifer

    Hi Nick – They have a bank account in the Philippines because a year or two ago, after their president had been found to be defrauding them and and was put behind bars, and they were being publicly criticized for the level of expenditures on administrative expenses rather than programs, they did what any self-respecting profit-driven entity does, and opened a call center overseas. In this case in the Philippines. So those calls you’re getting from an ‘Indian’ organization are actually coming from extremely low-paid labor exploitation in a foreign country. Nice, eh?

  5. juliana fern

    On 6/25/2014 i received a small package from the American Indian relife Councel it is a coin with sacagawea on the front and it has a 2014 date on it there was no letter or anything with it and i never give to telemarketing or junk mail

  6. Mr Abc

    Phone call from 385-313-3974


    High pressure donation solicitation; very desperate and usually they do not transmit their calling ID.

    Caller: American Indian Relief Council Call Type: Non-profit Organization

— 2015 —

  1. Should of known better

    This program could have been a great one. Yes there are Native Americans working there. Yes it is a decent job till you get fired. Yes he sleeps around with the workers. The program does put a lot of smiles on the faces of people On Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It has it’s good and bad. I am just surprised it took his wife so long to figure out he was a cheater. She was a kind lady tho. Wow I had no idea he was arrested lol just reading all these post. nice.

  2. Ex Employee

    I am so glad to hear the President was found guilty of fraud. Actually, I am sure that if he was in the Philippines office, he was most likely a scape-goat for the President from the Sherman, Texas, USA office who drives a brand new Cadillac Escallade! This of a “Non Profit organization” :/ I wondered, in fact, we all wondered how much money she actually earned as a single woman.

    When I first was employed with National Relief Charities, I was so excited to help out with fund-raising for Native Americans. I have a personal interest as my relative is Native American and was raised on one of the reservations that this company claims to assist. That reservation is Pine Ridge in South Dakota.

    In training, they have us read different spiels for the different organizations they are incorporated. National Relief Charities is an umbrella company and there are twelve other company names under that one umbrella-yet they are all one in the same organization.

    Since this is a telemarketing/fundraising organization, we are paid a salary as well as bonuses ( extra pay, a free microwave, a free trip, a day off from work), based on how much money we can raise that day. We are expected to raise $1,000.00 a day. (one thousand U.S. dollars a day) Now, that might sound a bit much, but to raise $600.00 a day for anyone was normal, and I’m not much of a sales person.

    I found some of these spiels really far-fetched. I’ve been to Pine Ridge reservation myself and I know that these Native Americans do not have to walk 1/4 mile to get drinking water. But THAT was one thing that we were taught to say in order to get that extra $10.00 to provide water bottles to the Native Americans to drink! Whether the Native Americans actually got the water bottles, I do not know.

    Also, their spiel for the ‘diabetic Native Americans’ package in order to provide lotions and a care package for them specifically. Again, one of the many umbrella organizations under the one corporation of National Relief Charities. It sounded a bit outlandish to prey on the Native Americans who suffered with diabetes, but it would have been an excellent gift if in fact it were given again, I do not know. There were NEVER any videos shown to us employees of these deliveries of care packages or groceries or animal care or back packs for the poor school children…etc. Perhaps NRC should take yearly videos of exactly what they do with their multitudes of millions of dollars we have earned their organization and share it with the world.

    When I topped my first $1,000.00 my boss congratulated me and feeling proud of that accomplishment, I went into the break room only to be let down by two women who laughed and said, “You don’t actually think National Relief Charities has a mobile van that goes out and rescues ‘abandoned’ animals on the reservations do you??” I was dumbfounded. I thought, these two women have been working (scamming) for this company for two years and were quite successful at fund raising and here they are mocking the very thing they work earnestly for; and saying it’s all a scam. Where is their conscience?? What am I doing? That was my question. Am I a scammer too? I want to see proof of this mobile rescue van, I want to know exactly how they rescue these poor abandoned animals that NRC claims are on the reservation and they rescue and adopt out. I want to know who or where these animals are sheltered until NRC adopts them out. Now I’m at loss, because I wonder about the old woman that just gave the organization $500.00 and when I read the spiel about how scared they are and if she would give more money for a new blanket for the ‘abandoned’ dog and for a toy to comfort them, she gave another $100.00 from her credit card. $600.00 she gave thinking it’s to help out an abandoned dog, I love dogs and would have wanted to help out also if I was on that end of the phone…but the laughs of my co-workers who mocked saying “Do you really think NRC has a mobile van that goes to reservations and rescues dogs?” haunts me. Even to this day. I can’t call the woman back because NRC has inbound calling only, so we don’t have a phone number to the donors. On an average, we take 700 phone calls.

    I was sad, disheartened. All this manipulation for what? Who’s getting the $15-$20 million dollars a year anyways? Is this really all a scam? What about all the millions of dollars their 500 employees in Manila, in the Philippines is making? This Sherman. Texas office has only 35 employees and a couple of them are part time yet we are making over $15 million a year! Where is all the money really going? And do the Native Americans know what kind of things we are saying to their discredit to earn all these millions of dollars?

    Out of curiosity, I asked my manager one day when she came by to check on my lower than usual income that I was making. I asked her, “Why doesn’t National Relief Charities employee the Native Americans that live on the reservations to do this fundraising? And added, you would be giving opportunity to many who do in fact no have transportation into the bigger cities for a job?” She was dismayed, and said, “That’s not possible.” I said, “National Relief Charities might even have an office that would be free to run with no overhead if it’s on the reservation.” She didn’t want to hear anymore and walked away. Of course, she would lose her job if that ever happened, and what Proud Native American would lie and use deception to get money from innocent heartfelt people?

    That’s another thing about this evil company, and if anyone declares that my using the word ‘evil’ to describe the nature of this company, then with tears in my eyes right now, I challenge them to PROVE ME WRONG on this! National Relief Charities again is one of many different companies under different names. They bombard people with tons of mailings every month, acting as though they are all very different companies. Of course, as an employee, we are not to indulge the receivers; our donors, that they are in fact giving to the same organization. But, getting back to my pint of how I can now call this organization, NRC, ‘evil’ is because of this. National Relief Charities has the employees to call those people who have donated to them in the past. Mainly, these people that I have personally called were between the ages of 80 to 100 years of age! THAT is NRC’s primary donors. Many of these people are so old we had to shout on the phone just to get them to hear us because they were hard of hearing. Some seem to have mental disorders and would go with our coaxing to give spiel, some were not there at all mentally so we would send the brochures, one lady who gave me her credit card number began crying on the phone because our spiel of how hard those poor Indians have it on the forgotten reservations! We are told to share how the Native Americans have no money, no food, and a box of corn flakes cost $12.00 on the reservation! My co-worker shared in the break room how she spoke to an elderly man who asked if we could send his money back because he had spent $1,200.00 on National Relief Charities and now he was getting evicted and has to go live with his brother!

    THAT is why I call National Relief Charities EVIL. They do not take into account how these elderly 80-100 year old “victims” donors are doing when many live off of a small social security check every month and suffer the consequences of National Relief Charities GREED!!! Lord help me! But this ha been boiling up inside me for some time and it breaks my heart to know how many elderly people NRC (National Relief Charities has taken advantage of and for the 20 or so years that this government has allowed it to stay in business SCAMMING people daily! And their office in Manila Philippines who employees 500 people who make cold calls to the USA and wherever else, I do not know, to take into their lair a new group of victims to ensnare in their greed! And why doesn’t the Sherman, Texas National Relief Charities indulge us with how many millions of dollars that their affiliate office makes each year; considering they are contacting U.S. citizens who are giving to this operation. If our 35 employees; some which were part time could raise $15-$20 million a year I can only imagine how many millions of dollars that their Philippines office is making a year! And for over 20 years??

    Think of that if this company has been in business for over 20 years, and we can figure-if the income’s not been posted, how many millions they have made, why it must be at least a billion dollars! You should also know that when I was employed with this organization, they told me they NEVER bought food for the Native Americans. They always had big corporations like Kraft or Del Monte…etc, provide the food and National Relief Charities provided a truck to haul the goods. Now, where’s all the money going?? Is the supposed dog supplies or children’s backpacks paid for by National Relief Charities, another branch of the dozen they umbrella; or do corporations provide these things for free also and NRC just deliver them too? But my doubt goes back to my relative stating that in the years of working directly on the reservations and one relative living on one reservation, that neither of my relatives have ever heard of NRC or any such charity. I also am affected by the statement that my manager told me was that none of the Native Americans pictures that they use in their brochures have their real names listed. Now, that may be for personal reasons, but to me personally, if a person has a statement to share of the good of a company, then why not be legitimate and referrance their real name??

    Another of my relatives worked directly with both the Red Bud and Pine Ridge reservations, in fact worked right there on these reservations for years.

    After a few weeks as an employee of National Relief Charities, I decided to contact this relative and question whether they were familiar with this company who claims to help out these two reservations as they claim. My relative who is quite familiar with the Red Bud and Pine Ridge reservations said they had NEVER heard of them before; even though the company claims to have a ‘soup kitchen’ right on the reservation!

    • hmazuji

      i loved your post. thank you for taking the time to give us this invaluable insight. your words are beautiful, and there is iron and truth in them. wow.

    • Darlene H. Ransom

      Thank you for sharing…your heartfelt words are powerful and moving…your story needs to be heard and viewed by many!

    • Thaddeus Buttmunch MD

      YES!!! And THIS is why I do not simply IGNORE ANY Robocall!! I understand that by wasting the time of the person on the other End of the line-even a few minutes “going to the bathroom” “Looking for my credit card” and then Slowwlllyy reading an incorrect number, I am keeping them from the Good-Hearted, naive folks that would actually take the Bait and Donate!

      There are MANY Americans living at home with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, as well as younger folks who are mentally impaired. I have Always suspected that THEY were the ones getting Fleeced.

      I know that You are a Good person, and am sorry you were involved in this.

— 2016 —

  1. Thaddeus Buttmunch MD

    I USED to Give $100/year until I found out what SCUM they are. Yes, I frequently get Filipinas calling me on their behalf (not to mention Asian Indians and Filipinas calling me DAILY with a myriad of scams.) With the phone calls, I string them along for five minutes and then bless them out!

    REMEMBER: Ignoring Robocalls, while sometimes necessary, gets us Nowhere! They make MILLIONS of calls daily, and if even 1% pick up and 1% of Those Donate (sounds about right) they make Money!

    On the one hand, using Filipinos Does decrease their overhead, but it does NOT employ Native Americans, and if they steal most of the money anyhow, why GIVE??

— 2017 —

  1. Pat G

    NAHA now has a high rating in Charity Navigator and should be in the GOOD rating.

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