A youth nonprofit run by a Virginia Democratic politician tied to Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign continued to solicit donations despite losing its tax-exempt status in May, and failed to organize a youth basketball camp for which it was selling tickets.
Michael Futrell is running in northern Virginia’s 2nd District for a seat in the state’s House of Delegates. The seat is currently held by a Republican, but President Barack Obama’s strong showing in the area last year gives Democrats hope for a pickup.
The first line on Futrell’s campaign website touts his foundation Make the Future, “a nonprofit organization which provides underprivileged and at-risk youth here in our community programs and activities to develop leadership and personal responsibility.”
Make the Future’s website explains that it is a “non-profit 501c3 organization founded in 2010” which “has grown to be a pillar of strength and change in the community.” The group supposedly offers basketball camps for area children at least once a year, the most recent of which was set to run this week at the cost of $135 per camper.
But while you wouldn’t have known it from a look at their website, Make the Future is defunct and its basketball camp does not appear to exist.
A check of the IRS’ database on exempt organizations reveals that Make the Future’s tax-exempt status “was automatically revoked for its failure to file a Form 990-series return or notice for three consecutive years.”
Although the group’s status was lost on May 15 of this year, Futrell continues to heavily advertise Make the Future on his campaign website and in campaign literature.
In the “Why am I running?” section of Futrell’s profile at Democracy for America, he lists Make the Future as the chief rationale behind his campaign.
The group was also advertising and charging admission for fake events. A youth basketball and “academic enrichment camp” scheduled for this week, which the website trumpeted as a “staple event in the community,” was not held as promised, even though tickets for the event were on sale as recently as Aug. 27.
The Daily Caller News Foundation called the General Heiser Boys and Girls Club in Dumfries, Va., where the front desk confirmed that the advertised camp was not taking place.
It’s unclear how many campers, if any, purchased admission to the fictitious event.
Despite a revoked nonprofit status and no apparent projects, Make the Future’s website had a working “Donate” button, and a reporter from TheDCNF was able to give $1 to the group through PayPal on Aug. 27.
That $1 was refunded by Make the Future later that day, and the website itself was shut down shortly thereafter.
“We are currently updating our website,” Make the Future’s homepage now reads. “Please visit with us again later. Thank you.”
The group’s Facebook page also abruptly closed down on Aug. 27.