A group of PBI alumni who are working with Prairie Bible Institute are asking alumni for more money, without disclosing where their initial funds came from, where the funds went, or how the funds were spent:
Update from the Healing Team:
In our previous communication, we have stated the goals that we established when we first formed: 1) healing for survivors; 2) justice for perpetrators. Over the past weeks, we have been privileged to have a number of abuse survivors come to us for help in accomplishing one or both of these goals. It has been a great honor to be entrusted with their stories of tragedies and triumphs as we have connected with them through phone, Skype, email, and in some cases, in person in our homes. We have shared memories, hugs, and tears. A number of survivors are pursuing additional avenues of healing and we are in the process of helping them walk further in their journeys. Many other alumni have come forward to offer to be “listeners” as well, and we are truly grateful for the wonderful team of “wounded soldiers” that God is building. On Sunday night, the Prairie Bible Institute Open Group held a “PBI Music Night on FB,” where they posted music that was written and/or performed by Prairie alumni. If you missed it, we encourage you to go have a listen! One of the pieces expressed our heart beautifully: “All My Favorite People are Broken.” We all qualify. The healing team is merely a group of broken people who are involved in loving other broken people to a place of greater wholeness. You can hear the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ea9uy6Mngk
We want to thank many of you who are praying for us and for survivors; we all need your prayers!
We also want to make an appeal to any of you who wish to donate to the Survivor Fund. Some funds have been donated, but we have some immediate needs to help survivors continue with their journeys through professional counseling and other healing-related resources. Some survivors have chosen to travel to Prairie campus as part of their ongoing healing journey. If you feel compelled to help survivors in this way, please send your donation to Prairie Bible Institute and note that it’s for “The Survivor Fund.” You can donate online at www.prairie.edu. Select “other fund” from the dropdown list of potential funds and type in “Alumni Healing Fund”. Receipts are provided for both Canadian and US donors.
We are so grateful for your support, encouraging emails, PMs, and prayers. Every team needs pray-ers, supporters, and doers. You are part of the team – thank you!
We invite you to contact us with any questions, encouragement, or feedback by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brenda Boytim Morrison, Mim Phibbs, Priscilla Virts Johnson, John Kepler, Jim Crites
The beginnings of The Survivor Fund Project
In November of last year, PBI President Mark Maxwell went public with information that allegations of abuse at PBI over it’s 90 year history had been turned over to the RCMP. Abuse survivors attempts to reach out to PBI had been halted as communication had broken down, and as media took notice of PBI, Maxwell told ChristianWeek:
So far, says Maxwell, three former students have approached the school with claims of abuse. But apparently none is prepared to go public, let alone take PBI to court.
As for the claims made on Facebook, Prairie has handed over 890 pages of allegations to the RCMP to investigate. “If there’s that much smoke, you’d think there must be a fire somewhere—and we couldn’t find it,” Maxwell says.
The article above was written December 7th. It appears that PBI had already laid out what it planned to do to address survivors concerns, including rejecting the survivors choice of a US group to investigate claims, make recommendations, solicit a report on the extent of various types of abuse which had occurred on campus and put campus policies in place. PBI had won the pr battle before the survivors knew what hit them. Let’s follow the money below the fold:
Prairie has refused, stating it prefers to cooperate fully and openly with police and even the media.
But nor has it rejected any third-party involvement. Maxwell says two “prominent” Canadian churches and a church in South Carolina, whose pastor is a Prairie alumnus, have all volunteered to act as mediators.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up going with a third party that looks like that,” he says. “We’re working our way through that right now.”
While PBI was granting media requests, alumni were talking behind the scenes about setting up what would become The Survivor Fund Project, recently renamed the Healing Team.
One of our ideas several months ago was that if funds could be made available to help needy survivors deal with counseling, going to the police, etc. it would be a worthy project. We made the suggestion to Mark Maxwell, and received his endorsement as per previous statements we have issued. As time went on we came to realize that our role as a small group of Prairie alumni could also be served in building relationships with hurting abuse survivors. We don’t want to see survivors having to walk their road alone. Some have friends and other networks to help, but there are some who are hurting and need a friend to walk with them, encourage them, pray for them, and to be there for them both in their good times and their bad times. This is what we felt God was leading us to do.
We do not represent Prairie, although we are known to Mark Maxwell.
The Survivor Fund Project Members may not represent PBI, but under the regulations of the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency), PBI is responsible for this team. PBI accepts and manages the donations, hands out donor tax receipts, and disperses expense funds to team members. This type of flow through or conduit arrangement is not illegal. This arrangement is ethically dubious, but more later. Back to the late November, early December behind the scenes planning.
One current member of The Survivor Team Project was part of that conversation, as was the South Carolina church pastor mentioned by PBI President Mark Maxwell in an above quote. By December 16th PBI alumni received a newsletter from Maxwell outlining the 3 steps PBI was choosing to take. Though not publcly named The Survivor Fund Project, PBI had the framework of a team in place.
1) Alumni: We have a truly amazing group of Alumni around the world. Many of them have offered to help in any way possible. A dozen of them have committed a great deal of time to working with those alumni who have stories of pain and injury. This group cares about Prairie as well as the need for the injured to find healing. Their efforts may include raising funds to help cover some of:
• the costs of travel if someone would like to come back, either to share with us or the third-party group; and
• the costs related to reconciliation and healing.
Subject to legal constraints, Prairie will allow these funds to pass through the school so that donors can benefit from a tax deductible receipt. Those who would like to share their stories of pain and injury are invited to contact this team at email@example.com.
I think it is important to reiterate that flow through or conduit funding is not illegal. In that announcement and the subsequent board pr repeat in March; Calgary Centre Street Church was named as the independent 3rd party.
The Survivor Fund Project alumni went public a couple of weeks later on January 11th.
One PBI alumnist has been the source of disruption as abuse survivors and PBI struggled to communicate and break the stalemate of previous months. Whether Fred Whaples, pastor of The Village Church in South Carolina intended to cause abuse survivors harm is irrelevant. PBI became aware of a letter of intent to sue a group of survivors meeting on FB. This threat was serious enough to ask Mark Maxwell if PBI had a statement. Maxwell responded, “Perhaps I’m missing something, but this has nothing to do with Prairie, so PBI has no statement to make.”
Whaples continued to be a disruptive force online, and complaints are now being investigated by Concord SC Police. Calls to PBI to send a clear message have been ignored.
I believe the PBI President. The intent to sue letter had nothing to do with PBI. Whaples has been honest about the fact he has been in contact with PBI President Mark Maxwell.
Whaples and other disruptive and upset alumni romped freely to the initial benefit of PBI. Eventually Whaples behavior had to have become a liability not only for fellow alumni, but for PBI. PBI remains silent.
My question to PBI is this. Did the any or all of the five thousand dollars Fred Whaples and The Village Church raised to help PBI abuse survivors fund the start up of The Survivor Fund Project?
2) Is the 5 thousand dollars from The Village Church for survivors now the funding for The Survivor Fund Project/Healing Team?
3) When did PBI receive The Village Church survivor money (5 thousand)?
4) Is the Village Church survivor monies ($5000) Whaples named, the main funder for The Survivor Fund Project/Healing Team?
5) What input did Mr. Whaples have into allocation of these funds?
6) Does Mr. Whaples still have input? If he doesn’t, when did his input stop?
7) Have Advent Funds and Survivor Funds been subsequently blended or kept separately? John Kepler:
These questions can all be lumped together. Fred Whaples, through his church, solicited funds from Prairie alumni for an Advent donation to Prairie. I believe it was sent to Prairie around Christmas time. I am not aware that there were any strings attached as to how it should be used, so presumably it went into Prairie’s general fund, though I am not privy to that information.
There was some talk on Facebook about The Village Church (Fred’s church) having another fund to assist abuse survivors, which was funded by his church. If there is indeed such a fund, then it is up to Fred and his church whether to make this information public. I am not aware of such a fund being sent to Prairie, so if it exists, it is apparently under the control of The Village Church.
No, PBI admin can disclose receipt of this donation for The Survivor Fund Project if PBI wants to.
Is Fred Whaples a member of The Survivor Fund Project? John Kepler:
Fred Whaples is not a member of this Healing Team, and never has been a member of this group.Period.Please do not try to psycho-analyze or read anything further into this statement. While we are concerned about all that is happening with both “sides” in this matter, we are simply not Fred.
Okay, no psycho-analyzing or reading anything further into this to the not-Freds.
Lets move on. Where did Freds money go? Given the havoc Whaples hath wrought, isn’t any team member concerned that the money the Team is using for survivors may have a sorry, unsafe and unhealthy origin and history?
It took a fair amount of public pressure to get the PBI Survivor Fund Project members to identify themselves. They chose to do so mid-January. Were the team members not-Fred? John Kepler:
1) Was Fred Whaples involved in setting up the team and it’s mandate?
No. While we were slowly evolving from being just friends to becoming a team offering ourselves to help abuse survivors, some of us discussed the concept with others outside of our group, and evidently someone spoke with Fred about it. This may have helped to spark his desire for financially helping the cause, and even to state that he was on board with this cause, but he has never been a member of this Healing Team.
I doubt anyone will ever know Whaples influence and early involvement, or the money trail.
Disclosure of The Survivor Fund Project Funding
As far as I know, nobody on the Healing Team will be made aware of who any donors are. For us to be given such information could be a violation of Canadian law. – John Kepler
This is an interesting statement, and I commend the Team for their carefulness with Canadian law. I checked with a charity law expert on donor disclosure.
1) PBI is free to disclose donors and amounts. If you look at PBI financial statements to Canada Revenue Agency, PBI goes above cap requirement in disclosing donors and amounts.
There is no law that states PBI has to disclose donors.
2) PBI is obligated to honour the request of donors who do not wish to let their name be made public.
Team members, survivors and the public are not prohibited by law to knowing where the donors and amounts have come from.
PBI can chose to disclose this information any time they want to. PBI can chose to state why they feel it is not in their best interests to disclose any time they want to.
PBI has gone public at every opportunity to state the willingness of the board and administration to be honest, open and transparent in it’s dealings with abuse survivors. Yet, the paid friends of The Survivor Fund Project, who are now asking for donations from alumni, do not know where their money came from. I believe John Kepler, every question I have asked the Survivor Fund Project has been answered. As far as I can tell, I am getting honest responses from the Project team.
However, I think the Team is deluded if they think they are running their Project or that the Project is autonomous. PBI is in control. PBI issues tax receipts and yet asks the Team to beg for money without telling the team what money was received. PBI issues expense money to the paid friends. PBI wants survivors on campus and is using the team to get them there. My ongoing unease has less to do with belief about the Teams honesty than the wisdom of this Project for the benefit of survivors.
Why can’t the Survivor Fund Project team disclose their expense spending and financial needs?
A final comment to survivors only
The Survivor Team Project, the lack of disclosure of funding, the use of the Team to raise funds to pay their expenses, and the use of unqualified Team members to facilitate healing remains ethically troubling on several levels. As I noted above, The Survivor Fund Project team have been gracious in answering what have been insistent and persistent questions. But, team members keep repeating they are just trying to ‘help’ survivors. Even if every Team member completely believes this is what God told them to do, it is clear the Team is not fully informed. The road to hell remains paved with good intentions. The Team, as sincere and as compassionate as they may be, are working in PBI’s hidden interests. From the first public statement, it is clear that part of the role of The Survivor Fund Project was mediation.
The unspoken implication of this Project is that you as a survivor are socially inept. isolated, not healed and that you need the Project paid friends. PBI desires that the alumni of this Project to get survivors on campus for a face to face. That goal is not a secret. While PBI has an ethical obligation to fund legitimate needs of survivors, any survivor choosing to use the Team relinquishes power and control (again!) the second you either chose to confront your abuser, tell their story to admin, take a healing tour or do whatever you believe you are supposed to do by going to PBI under the watch of a Team member. PBI is in control, the Team is being used, and ask yourself this: are you being potentially deflected?
How much of other relationships in this dynamic is quid pro quo? Is there a better way to financially assist survivors who need funds? Is there a better model or way for you as a survivor to make this trip if you chose to?
Motives are muddy and mixed. Be as wise as a serpent – your job is to act in your best interests. You owe PBI and The Survivor Fund Project Team nothing.
This question is not optional.
Do you as a survivor stepping on campus have adequate representation?
PBI intent is unspoken but clear – PBI doesn’t want lawsuits. That goal makes sense from a business standpoint, and administration running a charity can’t be faulted for doing their job protecting the school for the future.
PBI has paid out in the past, and one of the jobs of administration is to see that nothing is paid out in the future. The less publicly known about abuses, the easier it is for PBI. That’s not being harsh, that is people doing what they are paid to do. Handing well meaning Survivor Fund Project members a mandate and money to befriend abuse survivors and get you on campus for a face to face is in the best interests of PBI.
There is a genuine spiritual component involved. PBI teaches Ken Sandes Peacemaking model for churches in conflict. Sande teaches ‘reconciliation.’ Let’s be clear. This reconciliation model is set up to work between peers in church, not between the administration of an institution and people it has served who have been abused.
Stepping on campus with a Team member does not make you an equal, as much as you may long to be or need to be. The power dynamics are not in favour of the survivor. The Sande model is seriously flawed for this kind of interaction. It doesn’t matter that administrators, Team members and survivors may want ‘healing’; someone is getting paid to take you there, woo you, and assess you as a threat. Already the dynamics are on tilt. All the good intentions and pure hearts cannot change that reality.
If I say to any abuse survivor who chooses to allow a Team member to take them to PBI that the visit is a bad idea, I stand to become as manipulative as the Sande model.
How do you know this visit with a Project member is really your choice? What questions do you need to ask yourself, run past a professional therapist, lawyer and significant others? What questions are you prepared to ask PBI? How much control do you really have over what occurs on PBI property during your visit and what is done with the information you disclose?
How free are you to leave without condemnation if spiritual and emotional pressure is put on you or God forbid, you are flooded?
If you are choosing to go to PBI with a Survivor Fund Project Team member, do you need to ask yourself and your significant others about the impact of your visit on other survivors and outcomes for PBI?
Is there a better way to accomplish your goals without the ethical dilemmas placed in your way?