Non-profit Headed Up By Career Marketers
In the first two years of its existence the Sandy Hook massacre event’s premier fundraising organization has raised close to $6 million–an average of $3 million per year.
In 2013 and 2014 alone the nonprofit pumped the American public and larger donors for $5,809,367, according to the most recent IRS filings of the organization.
The lofty figure shouldn’t come as a surprise given the marketing talent heading up the organization and the fact that major news media have vigorously promoted the event without ever questioning its veracity.
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, 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 the performance of this savvy salesman at the inauguration of the Sandy Hook Promise money juggernaut.
Here is another video pitch Makris made to the Brookings Institution, where he explains in no uncertain terms Sandy Hook Promise’s public relations strategy to reshape US gun laws.
Sandy Hook Promise has close ties to the world of finance as well. The chairperson of its Board of Directors and another of its four corporate officers is Kristin Lemkau, Chief Marketing Officer of major global investment bank JPMorgan Chase.
And perhaps unsurprisingly Sandy Hook Promise is overseen by individuals representing the news media. The organization’s vice chair is 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.
The degree of such caring is frankly difficult to comprehend. In other words, hours before Connecticut Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver II stumbled through his press conference on December 15, 2012, explaining how parents were prohibited from viewing the bodies of their slain children, good-hearted souls like journalist Cox, professional marketer Makris, and banker Lemkau were scheming to cash in on the event. After all, this is what a community of like-minded souls is all about.
James Belden the fourth and final Sandy Hook corporate officer. In addition to serving as a Newtown Commissioner, he also brings 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 another non-profit, “Newtown United” and its promotion of “the underlying issues that caused this horrible incident–not just gun control but mental health and awareness.”
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.”
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.
Just how many individuals and organizations have sought to cash in on the Sandy Hook massacre and the broader public fear concerning child safety? Consider that even John Rinaldi, the convicted stalker of film actress Brooke Shields, oversees a Sandy Hook charity, “Sandy Hook Kids Center.”
“We are actively/tirelessly/relentless fighting on behalf of our kids,” Rinaldi proclaims on the organization’s website. “We combat abuse/violence that in turns creates bully [sic].”