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Dear supporters of Women With Drive Foundation,
In early April 2018, during the course of standard due diligence, our Board noticed some irregularities which prompted an internal investigation into the handling of monies by our Founder and acting Board President/Executive Director, Molly Cantrell-Kraig. An emergency special meeting of the Board of Directors was called and Kirkland & Ellis, a nationally recognized and respected law firm, was brought in to aid the Board in an internal investigation.
We held this meeting on April 12th and discussed what we had discovered thus far. All parties present agreed to the meeting being audio recorded, including Ms. Cantrell-Kraig. Over the course of the meeting the Board of Directors questioned Ms. Cantrell-Kraig about things which appeared to be either non-compliant with IRS tax law, or misappropriation and theft. Ms. Cantrell-Kraig admitted to purposefully deceiving the Board, providing inaccurate or incomplete information, comingling of funds, and fraud. At the end of the meeting we accepted Ms. Cantrell-Kraig’s resignation letter and unanimously voted Estrella Rosenberg into office as Board President and Interim Executive Director. Ms. Rosenberg has 14 years of professional nonprofit experience.
Following Ms. Cantrell-Kraig’s resignation, the Board worked diligently to finish their investigation as thoroughly as possible given the records they had access to. Issues fell under two categories: a fraudulent link on the organization’s website that sent donations to Ms. Cantrell-Kraig’s personal PayPal account, or stipends and reimbursements that had either not gotten proper Board approval, or were obtained by deceiving the Board about the true financial state of the organization. We found that acts under both categories had been happening for the entire existence of the organization, from January, 2011 - May, 2018. During this time period, approximately 67% of all funds meant as donations for our charitable purpose were either misappropriated or stolen by Ms. Cantrell-Kraig.
While the organization has been in existence since 2011, it was formed in Iowa as a component fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, who acted as their fiscal sponsor. In 2013, Ms. Cantrell-Kraig moved to Chicago, Illinois and conducted Women With Drive Foundation business from here while still a component fund of the Community Foundation in Iowa. On September 26, 2016 Women With Drive Foundation was incorporated as an Illinois Not-For-Profit Corporation. They also applied for, and received, their own 501c3 tax-exempt status from the IRS, dated the same.
For the portion of time the organization was incorporated in Illinois, 40% of funds meant for our charitable purposes were misappropriated or stolen by Ms. Cantrell-Kraig. For the portion of time the organization was under fiscal sponsorship in Iowa, 72% of funds were misappropriated or stolen. This represents the majority of our funds and has severely hampered our ability to perform our charitable purpose.
After discussing the final results of the internal investigation at our May 24th Board Meeting, we came to the conclusion that Ms. Cantrell-Kraig’s actions handicapped our organization to such a degree that it was not in the best interest of the public to continue. We unanimously voted to dissolve. Having already ceased business by unanimous vote at our April special meeting, we began the process of dissolution, which included dispersing the remaining funds in the Women With Drive Foundation bank account to a nonprofit organization with a similar mission. The Board voted to direct these funds to 1-800-CharityCars, who works to provide vehicles to families in transition. On July 12th we filed our articles of dissolution with the Illinois Secretary of State and received approval on July 25th.
We have reported this matter to the Illinois Attorney General, which has the principal state jurisdiction over Illinois charities. We are working with that office as they conduct their own investigation into Ms. Cantrell-Kraig’s activities.
We understand how shocking and upsetting this news is. As Board Members we devoted our time to the mission of Women With Drive Foundation because we believed in the difference it could make in women’s lives. We know you donated your time, money, passion and energy for the same reason. Please know that despite Ms. Cantrell-Kraig’s actions, your support did change the lives of many women. On behalf of them, we express our sincere gratitude.
We know you may have many questions or concerns and encourage you to contact Ms. Rosenberg either by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: (949) 606-6278.
Estrella Rosenberg, Interim Executive Director
Bryant Greening, Vice President
Kevin Zickterman, Treasurer
Caress Pouncy, Secretary
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