Michael Wenye Li / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Sage Hall is home to the SC Johnson Graduate School of Management, one of the three schools that are now part of the SC Johnson College of Business.

January 30, 2018

Charity Aggressively Solicits Donation on Campus Without University Authorization

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The Children’s Joy Foundation, a charity organization, has been harassing students by aggressively soliciting donations, without university authorization and often without identifying themselves since last semester.

CJF volunteers are confirmed to have fundraised in Ho Plaza, Sage Hall, the Physical Science Building and the Collegetown eHub. These activities were not “specifically authorized” by the University, according to Cornell spokesperson Lindsey Hadlock.

By fundraising without authorization, CJF volunteers trespassed on campus property and violated a university policy that requires fundraisers to submit their plans to the University for review.

Students reported feeling uncomfortable at the volunteers’ use of forceful tactics, including making unwanted physical contact and refusing to take no for an answer.

“She walked up to me … and asked if I had anything to donate. [She] persisted until I told her for the second time that I don’t carry my wallet with me,” Matthew Burke ’20 told the Sun. “After that she rubbed my shoulder and continued on to the next student.”

“She came up to me and started patting my back and just kind of shoved the donation thing in my face without explaining anything,” Bipra Kundu ’18 said. “She just wouldn’t leave. I ended up giving them $10 because I didn’t know what to do.”

CJF volunteers sometimes neglected to identify themselves while asking for donations.

“When they approached me [on two separate occasions], they didn’t tell me [what] organization [they work for],”  said Michael Wenye Li ’20, The Sun’s Assistant Photography Editor. “But the second time I looked carefully at the binder she was holding and I saw the name.”

Registered in the Internal Revenue Service database as a public charity, CJF aims to assist “the many marginal, poor and less privileged children in the Philippines and in Asia,” according to their website. The charity reportedly asked for donations at other universities as well, in some cases allegedly forging donation amounts to pressure students to donate more.

CJF seems to have little operating history in Ithaca. The Community Foundation of Tompkins County, a hub organization for local philanthropy, said they have “no history at all” of working with the charity.

“I’ve never heard of that foundation before,” said George P. Ferrari Jr., CFT Chief Executive Officer.

Cornell Police deputy chief David M. Honan said that the fundraisers have not yet been reported to the police.

“If members of our community have concerns regarding unauthorized activity, they are welcome to give us a call and we will have an officer respond to determine if the activity has proper authorization,” Honan said.

While a CJF volunteer declined to comment on the organization’s fundraising activity at Cornell, she said that all volunteers should have proper authorization for their activities.

“I know that [if fundraisers] do anything, they have to have permission,” CJF volunteer Diana Locano said via phone  call.

Locano then told The Sun she would return the call when a supervisor was available. At the time of the publication of this article, this has yet to happen.