The curious case of the foodless food charity

It turns out that giving away free food to poor hungry children was an extremely lucrative enterprise in 2021.

I’ve mentioned before how hundreds of nonprofits sprung up overnight (or reactivated) in the early days of the pandemic to join in the free-food distribution game that devolved into the Feeding Our Future scandal. I’ve documented how the final price tag is likely to exceed $500 million.

Few nonprofits bothered to file required tax returns to document their efforts. But I’ve managed to track down a baker’s dozen and they tell fascinating stories.

The following 13 nonprofits all filed 2021 tax returns, all had little or no revenue the previous year, all received all (or almost all of) their revenue from government free-food programs, and al 13 reverted back to inactive status in 2022.

Only one of the above 13 nonprofits has been implicated in the Feeding Our Future scandal. Nonprofit “C” is actually Community Enhancement Services, operated by Liban Alishire, Defendant No. 36 and Guilty Plea No. 6 in the case.

Alishire was in the news this week, as a Federal court is inexplicably allowing him to travel to Kenya, as he awaits sentencing, to attend to “business.” Au revoir, Liban, au revoir.

His nonprofit offers a great case study. He did more than $1 million in revenue in 2021 from free-food, with food costs accounting for less than 40 percent, producing a healthy profit margin of more than one-third his revenue.

A couple of nonprofits show patterns that one would expect from such operations. Nonprofits “E” and “L” spent nearly all their 2021 revenue on acquiring food for distribution.

A couple of nonprofits need to rework their filings. Nonprofits “A” and “I” report nearly all of their costs under “other expenses” without further elaboration. Hopefully, there is some food in there somewhere.

By the way, the mission statement of nonprofit “A” is given as “Family empowerment and preventation of community.” Mission accomplished.

Two nonprofits are in line for management awards. Nonprofits “H” and “M” succeeded in exactly matching income to outgo at their brand-new startups in the middle of the chaotic pandemic period.

But the hands-down winner of the game is nonprofit “J” who managed to produce a 41 percent profit margin without spending a single dollar on food (their other expenses of $7,800 was spend on office rent). The mission statement of “J” reads verbatim as,

The organization has established for the sole purpose of distributing food for Covid-19 victims.

Nice work if you can get it, and you can get it, if you try.