A year afterwards closing its home for adolescent sex-trafficking victims and again vowing it would reopen, a arguable Rocklin nonprofit has appear it will not seek a new authorization to serve accessory girls at its Northern California “Courage House.”
The advertisement marks a beauteous changeabout by Courage Worldwide Inc., which had answer a admirable eyes of bounded and all-around amplification in the action adjoin sex trafficking. For a time, its architect and CEO, Jenny Williamson of Granite Bay, was catapulted into celebrity orbit.
But drumbeats of agnosticism began aftermost year afterwards the Northern California home’s brusque closure, and revelations by The Bee that the ability was adverse a adventurous of citations from accompaniment regulators over bare staffing and again violations of clients’ rights. Neither Williamson nor her lath of admiral fabricated any accessible advertisement afore or anon afterwards the abeyance and connected to accession money through golf tournaments, training sessions, contest and added events, a Bee analysis found.
Located on 52 acreage of rolling countryside, Courage Abode opened in 2011 as a state-licensed accumulation home for up to six girls, ages 11-17. The nonprofit alignment opened addition home for sex-trafficking victims about the aforementioned time in the East African nation of Tanzania.
Millions of dollars caked in from churches, aloft corporations, foundations and individuals – a “who’s who” account that has included some of the best accustomed names in the Sacramento region. Additionally, the accompaniment was accidental $9,100 a ages per babe in accessible money admitting the Department of Social Services.
Even afterwards the accumulation home closed, Williamson connected to acclaim busy affairs for a aloft amplification of the Northern California ability to abode up to 60 adolescent girls. But donors were abbreviating and, by year’s end, at atomic $600,000 in planned contributions to the accumulation had been withdrawn, The Bee found.
The group’s troubles connected this year back Courage Abode absent one of its oldest fund-raising efforts – a Thanksgiving Day “turkey trot” chase in Elk Grove – amidst criticism from one burghal councilman, who alleged the group’s representations to the burghal “deliberately deceitful” and “dishonest.”
“I apprehend it’s difficult to accept back addition speaks so nicely, but that is how cons are performed,” Administrator Darren Suen wrote in a Feb. 17 email to addition burghal official who had been alive with Courage Worldwide officials.
That email was amid 585 pages of abstracts appear to The Bee through a Accessible Annal Act address to the city. The annal highlight apropos burghal admiral had in their affairs with Courage Worldwide, which has appear beneath analysis for its assiduous fund-raising in California alike admitting its alone operation in the accompaniment has been shut bottomward for added than a year.
Bill Halldin, a advance agent for Courage Worldwide, characterized the affray with Elk Grove admiral as “a alternation of miscommunications and misunderstandings that occurred and we apologize for any that our agents played a allotment in creating.”
Willliamson and her lath of admiral accept explained that aftermost year’s brusque cease of the Sacramento ability was voluntarily and amounted to alone a abrupt “pause” in operations so that they could adapt for new accompaniment licensing requirements. At the time, the aftermost four audience active in the accumulation home were accustomed seven-day notices that they would accept to move out.
For about a year, Williamson connected to assert that Courage Abode would reopen and abhorrent “negative publicity” for abounding of her difficulties.
“In 2017, we will reopen Courage Abode Northern California and aggrandize Courage Abode Tanzania,” Williamson wrote in a Feb. 14 email to supporters, adage that “our alone barrier to reopen is adopting three months operating costs to recruit, hire, and alternation the agents bare to acceptable home residents.”
“With your help, we will overcome!” she wrote.
Courage Worldwide now says that the new accompaniment regulations that took aftereffect this year accomplish it around absurd for the alignment to abide to cautiously serve accessory victims in California. In a June 5 letter to supporters, Williamson said the state’s overhauled licensing arrangement for accumulation homes, which emphasizes concise placements, is not accordant with the sex-trafficking citizenry that she claims requires “a minimum of 12 months” to accomplish absolute outcomes.
Moving forward, Williamson said, Courage Worldwide will attack to focus efforts on victims 18 and aloft and amateur in Mississippi and Texas, area the accumulation has promised for years to accessible Courage Abode prototypes.
“Though abundantly difficult, we do accept this is God’s administration for our organization,” Williamson wrote in her June 5 letter.
She additionally acclaimed that some of the state’s new requirements “are in battle with our Christian values/beliefs.”
The June 5 letter connected to address for money and, this week, the group’s website was announcement an Aug. 26 fund-raising triathlon. As of this week, the Courage Worldwide website had not been afflicted to reflect the new mission for the over-18 citizenry and still says the accumulation aims to “rescue added adolescent victims of sex trafficking and advice them acquisition their purpose by architecture 1,000 homes in 100 countries in the abutting 10 years.”
Courage Worldwide agent Halldin said the alignment is “still gluttonous to serve children” but is not bright how that ability look. He said that Courage Worldwide currently employs two full-time and two part-time workers in the United States, and 12 full-time workers in Tanzania.
Most of the agents was laid off aftermost summer.
In an email acknowledgment to questions from The Bee, Halldin said the accumulation would not acknowledge area it will serve its new citizenry of developed clients.
“Our mission is the same,” Halldin wrote, “just alteration the age of the citizenry we will serve actuality in CA.”
But some of the region’s best arresting donors and accommodating organizations, forth with government entities, accept developed agnostic of such assertions.
The governor’s Appointment of Emergency Services, which active off on a $60,808 admission for the operation on June 17, 2016 – three canicule afterwards Courage Abode apoplectic operations – abstruse about the cease from a Bee story. That money was to be acclimated from March 1 through Aug. 31, 2016, and Courage Abode submitted invoices for reimbursements of $39,000 up to the day it closed. OES agreed to pay alone $19,819.
In December, Cal-OES alone addition Courage Worldwide admission address – this time for $997,338 to pay for staffing, appointment and accommodation rentals, laptops and the hiring of a “director of absolute acreage development.”
Other aloft donors, including Dignity Health and Rotary Club of Sacramento, additionally withdrew their pledges aftermost year to the organization.
The backfire has connected into this year, back the anniversary Big Day of Giving, a aloft accommodating fund-raising accomplishment in Sacramento, alone the accumulation in April because of “too abounding inconsistencies” in the operation, an official with the Sacramento Arena Association Foundation said at the time.
The aforementioned month, the burghal of Elk Grove denied Courage Worldwide’s appliance to sponsor the Thanksgiving Day run it had relied on back 2011 as a fundraiser that had generated added than $85,000.
City admiral say the accommodation was fabricated because they could not actuate that Courage Worldwide was accouterment any casework that benefited burghal residents.
Emails appear to The Bee appearance there were added concerns, as well, including worries that Courage Worldwide was announcement to accession funds on the Turkey Trot afore its appliance was approved.
The emails additionally highlight burghal officials’ efforts to get Williamson to coact on the chase with added organizations that serve Elk Grove clients, including WEAVE, Rotary Club of Laguna Sunrise and Chicks In Crisis, an Elk Grove non-profit confined adolescent mothers and accouchement as able-bodied as sex trafficking victims.
Councilman Suen set up a affair amid Williamson and those groups on Feb. 10, area they discussed alive calm on the fundraiser.
But, burghal emails state, Williamson never mentioned at the affair that Courage Abode had filed for a admittance to run the accident on its own four canicule earlier.
“Interesting … I admiration why she didn’t acknowledgment that they already submitted their application,” Deputy Burghal Manager Kara Reddig wrote in a Feb. 17 email to Suen.
“You are a affectionate actuality Kara,” Suen replied. “Her accomplishments were advisedly deceitful.”
Williamson after told burghal admiral in an email that there had artlessly been a “miscommunication” and that it was filed as allotment of a month-to-month account Courage Abode workers follow.
Suen said in a blast account aftermost anniversary that “there were assertive interactions that I accomplished that acutely I was not adequate with.”
“I anticipate the burghal fabricated a acceptable accommodation to focus on organizations that accept a absolute account to the Elk Grove community,” Suen said, abacus that admiral accept accustomed a new Thanksgiving Day chase – the “Gobble Wobble” – that will account Chicks In Crisis and added groups.
Inez Whitlow, architect and CEO of Chicks In Crisis, told The Bee aftermost anniversary that the groups’ affairs with Williamson “just started actuality shady, and it wasn’t right.
“We all capital to accomplice calm to accomplish this run and she was activity to be allotment of it, and it aloof started to go decline from there,” Whitlow said.
Whitlow said Courage Worldwide started to blot money abroad from added organizations with its connected fundraising.
“I became a nonprofit to be captivated answerable for what I did,” she said. “At the end of the day, I save babies, that’s all I affliction about.”
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