State: Two Memphis charities misused funds intended for children

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Image courtesy of the TN Comptroller’s Office

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two Memphis nonprofit companies dedicated to feeding children are accused of misuse of funds meant to feed kids during Summer 2020.

The Comptroller’s office audited two companies in Summer 2020, Open Doors Inc. and Alumni Music, Inc. Both companies were recipients of the Summer Food Service Program for Children (SPSP) funds.

The agencies visited 21 different feeding sites; eight of them were Open Door and 13 were administered by Alumni Music. They found that sponsors were not feeding children at 17 of these sites.

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State auditors determined that the majority of these sites were not feeding children, but they did observe a supper service on July 23, 2020 at an Alumni Music’s Giving Back event.

These meals consisted of a slice of bologna, a single piece of pineapple, one package of crackers, ten cheeseballs, and roughly 2-3 ounces of fruit punch and milk.

The reimbursable rate for this meal was $4.15.

Alumni Music sent in claims for reimbursement to the DHS in June and July 2020. The DHS had initially reimbursed them for $49,325 for claims related to the month of June, but they subsequently denied an additional $41,784.

Auditors documented connections and overlapping personnel among Alumni Music and the SFSP who had been terminated prior for “serious deficiencies” while working.

In addition, auditors pointed to the number of Open Door and Alumni Music sites that shared the same locations at the same strip malls. This is not allowed by program guidelines.

The DHS requested repayment of those funds upon independent review. DHS denied all July 2020 claims from Alumni Music, amounting to $141,403.

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