Multimillion Dollar Charity Aligned with US Secret Service
By James F. Tracy
Sandy Hook Promise, the multi-million dollar 501(c)3 predicated on the Sandy Hook Massacre event, is actively partnering with school districts throughout the United States to institute a nationwide, extralegal intelligence-gathering system targeting students at taxpayer-funded public schools.
The trade-marked “‘Know the Signs’ prevention programs” feature the “Say Something Anonymous Reporting System,” which encourages minor students and school staff whose institutions have partnered with Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) to divulge observational information directly to an SHP-operated “crisis center” on peers they suspect of being future “active shooters,” or who may otherwise be perceived as “at-risk of hurting themselves and others.”
SHP’s other trade-marked “violence prevention programs” include “Say Something,” “Start With Hello,” “Signs of Suicide,” and “Safety Assessment & Intervention.”
The Broward County School Board in South Florida, led by the former chief administrative officer of Chicago Public Schools Robert W. Runcie, has already signed a three year contract with SHP to implement the Say Something Reporting System across one of the largest school districts in the state.
The agreement comes months after the mass shooting event at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Like Sandy Hook, the Parkland shooting incident has numerous contradictions and anomalies, and within hours of its occurrence prominent Democratic Party leaders seized upon the tragedy to promote gun control and pave the way to the 2018 midterm elections.
The SHP contract language clearly indicates that the not-for-profit organization will be involved in instructional and information-gathering activities at Broward County public schools purporting to align with its “violence prevention programs.”
Say Something teaches students how to look for warning signs, signals and threats, especially in social media … teaches students how to be more inclusive and connected …
Signs of Suicide … trains youths and adults how to identify, intervene and get help for people who may be depressed or suicidal.
Safety Assessments and Intervention teaches adults in schools and youth organizations how to identify, assess, and respond to threats of violence or at risk behavior BEFORE a tragedy takes place.
In addition to SHP asserting itself as an educational entity working within the school district, the agreement allows SHP to hire a “full-time Program Coordinator” who is deployed throughout the district’s 135 schools to oversee the rollout.
In addition. SHP is hiring “certified trainers” to promote its agenda and ensure the schools’ students, staff, and community members are appropriately indoctrinated. (“As needed, SHP will recruit, train and manage a diverse pool of certified Promise Presenters to deliver programs.”)
Sandy Hook Promise Join Forces with US Secret Service
SHP’s “violence prevention programs” appear to be developed in conjunction with at least one US government agency that, in order to “create safe school climates,” recommended an identical “threat assessment process” and intelligence-gathering system whereby school community members are encouraged to surveil each other. A recent SHP press release references a document published in July 2018 by the United States Secret Service, “Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model.”
SHP’s coordination with the Secret Service is suggested in its own trademarked programs that closely resemble each facet of the government agency’s proposal for “threat assessment and prevention practices.”
The ideal violence prevention program, according to the Secret Service, would fulfill these specific functions:
Step 1: Establish a multidisciplinary threat assessment team of school personnel including faculty, staff, administrators, coaches, and available school resource officers who will direct, manage, and document the threat assessment process.
Step 2: Define behaviors, including those that are prohibited and should trigger immediate intervention (e.g., threats, violent acts, and weapons on campus) and other concerning behaviors that require a threat assessment.
Step 3: Establish and provide training on a central reporting system such as an online form on the school website, email address, phone number, smartphone application, or other mechanisms. Ensure that it provides anonymity to those reporting concerns and is monitored by personnel who will follow-up on all reports.
Step 4: Determine the threshold for law enforcement intervention, especially if there is a safety risk.
Step 5: Establish threat assessment procedures that include practices for maintaining documentation, identifying sources of information, reviewing records, and conducting interviews.
This report recommends that schools create “a targeted violence prevention plan,” which is exactly what SHP is carrying out in its “non-profit” endeavors. In such a system “students of concern” who express undesirable behavior or speech, upon being identified by peers and/or teachers to the “central reporting system,” are to be singled out for additional observation and potential “intervention” by law enforcement and other state actors.
Notably, both SHP and Secret Service “violence prevention” overtures use the February 14, 2018 mass shooting event at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as a lynchpin for the broad implementation of such practices. According to eyewitness sources, including Parkland school staff, Secret Service personnel were oddly present at the Stoneman Douglas campus to alter security protocols weeks before the Valentine’s Day incident .
A Multi-million Dollar War Chest
On December 14, 2012 the Sandy Hook massacre event was reported as fact by US news media, even though it remains difficult to ascertain what actually took place on that day. For weeks after the event the nation and world were terrorized by around-the-clock coverage and discussion of the narrative. At the same time powerful interests behind the multitude of gun control change agents, which included the families directly involved in the Sandy Hook event, capitalized on this fear. As a result of these efforts SHP and other ostensibly “non-profit” organizations have reaped tens of millions.
As MHB reported in 2016,
Sandy Hook Promise is presently directing its marketing prowess toward leaning on US public schools to enforce certain mental health protocols on children; what it terms “mental health first aid” that will purportedly prevent “another Sandy Hook.”
Indeed, Sandy Hook Promise has substantial resources to further an agenda of persuading an entire generation to both forsake their Second Amendment rights and be suspicious if not fearful of their peers and neighbors alike. Such and agenda is unhealthy for taxpayer-funded public schools and communities alike.
In the first four years of its existence the Sandy Hook massacre event’s premier fundraising organization has raised close to $15 million–an average of $3.7 million per year.
In 2013 and 2016 alone the nonprofit pumped the American public and larger donors for $14,822,769, according to the most recent IRS filings of the organization.
As MHB noted in 2016, these significant sums are due in no small part to the marketing talent heading up the organization and the fact that major news media have colluded to provide unlimited promotion of the event.
Tim Makris is Sandy Hook Promise’s full time Executive Director. Mr. Makris, who claims he had children attending Sandy Hook Elementary at the time of the December 14, 2012 incident, perhaps coincidentally brings twenty years of marketing and public relations experience to the project. As Makris’ LinkedIn profile reveals, he developed his skills in the corporate sector at Thule Inc., Procter & Gamble, and Schering-Plough Health Care.
Below is an excerpt of this savvy salesman’s pitch at the 2013 kickstart of the Sandy Hook Promise money engine.
Here is another video pitch Makris made to the prestigious Brookings Institution, where he explains in no uncertain terms Sandy Hook Promise’s public relations strategy to undermine the US Constitution and reshape US gun laws.
Sandy Hook Promise appears to have ties to the world of finance as well. Although the SHP board has seen some departures over the past two years, the previous chairperson of its Board of Directors, Kristin Lemkau, is Chief Marketing Officer of major global investment bank JPMorgan Chase.
And perhaps unsurprisingly Sandy Hook Promise is also linked to corporate news media. The organization’s former vice chair was Rob Cox, a founder and global editor of Reuters BreakingViews.
According to a profile of Cox published by his alma mater, The University of Vermont,
Within twenty-four hours of the massacre of twenty-six children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Cox and a circle of friends were working to found what would become Sandy Hook Promise, an organization dedicated to healing their own community and doing all it can to make sure others do not suffer the same fate.
James Belden was a Sandy Hook corporate officer through 2017. In addition to serving as a Newtown Commissioner, he likewise brought marketing experience to Sandy Hook Promise.
Before funerals were even held for the deceased children or the results of a satisfactory crime scene investigation were close to completion Commissioner Belden was before television cameras promoting “Newtown United,” another non-profit, while stressing “the underlying issues that caused this horrible incident–not just gun control but mental health and awareness.”
At present one of its prominent board members is Bradley Miles, who also heads up the Polaris Project, “a global leader in the fight to eradicate human trafficking and to restore freedom to survivors,” according to one description of the charity industry celeb. “Under Myles’ leadership, Polaris has worked to strengthen the U.S. national movement against human trafficking through policy advocacy in all 50 states and through a wide range of training and capacity-building programs.”
The millions solicited by Sandy Hook Promise thus far is merely a fraction of an estimated $130 million in federal funding and private donations brought in by Sandy Hook related charities.
“The latest edition of the video We Need To Talk about Sandy Hook lists a total of $131,009,229 in grants and donations, including the $50 million for the new school,” academic researcher Vivian Lee notes,
but this is only a partial accounting. Indeed, the total amount of money raised to date cannot easily be calculated. A 2014 Connecticut report on charitable donations lists organizations such as The Animal Center, Inc., Newtown Forest Association, Inc., Sandy Hook Arts Center for Kids, and Angels of Sandy Hook Bracelets, all raising funds in the name of Sandy Hook Elementary.
In addition, individuals involved in the Sandy Hook event, including those heading up SHP, have forged lucrative careers in their nonprofit sector, as evidenced by recent federal tax information.
Sandy Hook Promise Directors’ Six Figure Salaries
Sandy Hook Promise’s 2016 federal tax return reveals several or the organization’s board members bestowing themselves with substantial compensation packages for proffering the trademarked “violence prevention programs” to local school districts.
For example, in 2016 between SHP and “related organizations” Nicole Hockley earned an annual salary of $132,951, the lion’s share of which ($121,318) came from SHP’s coffers and the remainder consisting of “other compensation” from “other organizations.” Marketing maven Tim Makris pulled in a whopping $203,925, ninety percent ($179,711) came from SHP which he plays a central role in overseeing.
In fact, four of SHP’s eight compensated board directors earn six-figure salaries, while the organization’s “secretary” Mark Barden comes in close, with annual pay of $92,268. In total, the SHP board paid itself $746,026 to run its affairs in 2016 alone.
SHP lays out an even more substantial sum in marketing and advertising. In 2016, for example, the organization paid close to two million dollars ($1,834,446) to independent contractors for marketing, advertising, and “fundraising.” During that year, for example, SHP shelled out $604,922 to cause-centered branding and public relations firm Anne Lewis Strategies LLC for its services. Anne Lewis’ clientele also includes The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Greenpeace, and The Washington Post Company.
Such high end services are evident in the glossy promotion of the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System, in addition to SHP’s key 2016 “public service announcement” featurette used to persuade communities of the need for its training programs.
An Unprecedented Form of Nonprofit Activity
Despite Sandy Hook Promise’s urgent and sophisticated appeals and the surfeit of gun control advocacy in general school shootings are in fact rare and far from a pressing public health concern. Over the past quarter century an average of ten children are killed annually in school shootings. Nevertheless, because of groups like the Michael Bloomberg-funded Everytown For Gun Safety, USA Today reports, Americans have been
bombarded with facts and figures suggesting that the problem of school shootings was out of control. We were informed, for example, that since 2013 there has been an average of one school shooting a week in the U.S., and 18 since the beginning of this year. While these statistics were not exactly lies or fake news, they involved stretching the definition of a school shooting well beyond the limits of most people’s imagination.
In the 1980s Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) set out on a relatively successful campaign to change the nation’s fundamental orientation toward driving while under the influence. Like the numerous Sandy Hook massacre-related charities, MADD was founded by parents who lost their children in what remains a genuine threat to public welfare. Despite MADD’s efforts, according to the Centers For Disease Control 10,497 people died in alcohol-related traffic accidents in 2016 alone –close to one third of all such automobile-specific fatalities. This is one thousand times more than those who perish in school shootings annually.
Despite these still-daunting figures MADD has not yet proposed a system whereby adults and minor children are encouraged to report signs of problem drinking or alcoholism among their peers–information that may eventually be shared with mental health practitioners, law enforcement, and perhaps federal lettered agencies. Parents and taxpayers should be concerned that SHP is doing exactly this to address a verifiably negligible problem.
Sandy Hook Promise is spearheading an unprecedented form of nonprofit activism based on mediated events that remains in question. It is profiting handsomely from the public’s misperception of mass shootings that has been cultivated by news media’s misreporting and overall distorted coverage.
SHP has flourished as a result of the undue media sensationalism of shootings that is substituted for true journalistic investigation of such events. This has succeeded in creating the perceived need for SHP and its mission to transform teachers and students into a de facto intelligence-gathering force.
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— Everytown (@Everytown) August 26, 2018
At its heart the gun control activism that appeared to naturally spring from the Sandy Hook massacre event is a central part of the Democratic Party’s platform. These “activists” and their incessant pleas for public empathy were featured front-and-center in Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential bid. Unsurprisingly they are part of the Democrats’ strategy to retake control of the federal apparatus in the the 2018 midterm elections.
SHP’s bid to turn public schools into peer surveillance projects using the backdrop of an almost non-existent epidemic constitutes yet another chapter of progressives’ long-running and quixotic preoccupation with social engineering. This historic fascination with such well-intentioned “fixes” began with the formation of modern schooling in the mid-19th century and its eventual application of psychological and Taylorist methods to classroom instruction fifty years later.
By effectively teaching suspicion, surveillance, and deference to omniscient state authority, SHP’s “Say Something” takes this step further, suggesting to children that the “greater good” of preventing a future mass shooting should take precedent over trust and a respect for individuality, personal privacy, and organic community.