Fund Raising Efforts

Spokane, WA: HSLDA conference – Looking for funds

Shortly before the 2004 September/October HSLDA national leadership conference in Spokane, Washington, we told Chris that we needed to reach out for funds apart from HSLDA since Mike Smith no longer wanted to fund us on a regular basis. We also felt that HSLDA had done enough for us by this time anyway and we were thankful. We told Chris from the beginning that if HSLDA ever wanted to stop giving us funds we would only be ever thankful for what funds they had already raised for and gave to us.

Even though it was not money from their membership funds (it was not money taken out of HSLDA’s pocket) but rather specially donated funds raised in addition for Germany, we believed that it was an added burden for them to take in the money for us. Therefore, we wanted to begin to ask for donations ourselves directly.

One day in September, Chris called to tell us that Gregg Harris and Doug Phillips would attend the national HSLDA Spokane conference and that he wanted to introduce them to us about supporting our ministry. We were very excited about this. When we met them at the conference a few weeks later, they were both eager to offer the support of their ministries.

Gregg invited our entire family to come to an event he was having in Portland, Oregon in late November so we could meet with his churches and board members. He told us that he would finance our trip.

Doug also asked us to visit him in San Antonio, Texas, where he promised to arrange for me to present our ministry to big donors who would be present the first night of our arrival in San Antonio. Doug invited us to stay in his home for four days while he was working to secure funds for us.

At the Spokane HSLDA conference, Chris told us that there would be an international workshop, a new workshop being introduced and that he wanted me to be prepared to speak. It puzzled us that I was not invited to speak during this workshop. Germany was the hotspot of the world of homeschooling and we were not invited to speak? We believe some of the state leaders had approached Chris afterward because they wanted to hear us. After this workshop, Chris arranged a special time after the conference where we were given the opportunity to speak for 10 or 15 minutes.

Again, this puzzled us knowing that people were interested to hear a report of our work because so much money was being raised for Germany. It was also at this meeting that I ran to catch up with Mike Smith to ask him if I could be given 30-seconds to thank those present during an evening dinner event for supporting our ministry in Germany. Mike appeared irritated with me and said in a sharp voice, NO!

When we returned home in Germany we found ourselves stacked up with work, allowing us little time to create a ministry brochure that we could present at the upcoming meeting upon our return to America. It was Doug’s idea to create this brochure. Though we were short on time and money to create it, we did the best we could.

Fundraising Trip – Gregg Harris, Doug Phillips

When we finally arrived in Oregon, Gregg had arranged for me to speak to his gathering of churches. It was an all day affair. We thought it was quite odd that Gregg waited until the end of the day, to ask me to finally speak. He told me that I only had 10-minutes. I had prepared a power point presentation that was a bit longer than 10-minutes. I was prepared to be the keynote speaker but rather found myself in the unimportant position of speaking at the end of the day when many of the people had already gone home.

As we were leaving, Gregg asked us if we could return to Portland in a few days to meet with his board privately, which we did. They honored us with a check to cover our travel costs and told us that they would pledge to our ministry personally another $1,000 each month for the year 2005. We felt honored and blessed. When we were getting into our car to leave, Gregg asked us to have Doug Phillips call him immediately when we saw Doug because Gregg couldn’t reach him.

Leaving Portland and arriving at the Phillips’ house in San Antonio, we were amazed to see that Doug had not fulfilled his promise to have big donors present to meet us. Rather awaiting us at his home was a few families from his local church. When I told Doug that I had prepared a power point presentation and that my son Klaus who was along with us would operate the laptop, he insisted that he himself would do it.

As I spoke, the pictures he brought up did not coordinate with my speech. For some reason he seemed to pull the pictures up in a random way that confused me. When the event ended and after the people left I perceived that Doug was not very friendly toward me like he was when we had left him in Spokane two-months earlier. During the time we spent in his home he made himself unavailable and appeared to be somewhat aloof. We could not understand this.

On Sunday, he asked if our family would like to attend his church with him. This appeared strange because of course we wanted to do this. One of the reasons for us to come to San Antonio was to meet the people attending Doug’s church. When it came time for church members to introduce guests they had brought along to the church service, Doug only offered that we were a family from Germany and very little more. This surprised us. After the service there was a potluck meal in the church dining hall.

People were very friendly and asked us many questions. Afterward, when we were walking to our car to leave, Doug ran to me and offered us a check for $2,000. We didn’t know where this money came from, whether it was from Doug personally or from church members. But this was the total and sum of his great fund raising effort to support our ministry and a far cry from the hope he had given us.

When we returned to Germany both Gregg and Doug were impossible to reach. After Spokane and before we arrived back in America to meet their groups, my emails were swiftly answered. But now, upon our return to Germany after meeting their groups, my emails went unanswered. We could not understand this.

Gregg had promised to send us a check for $12,000 right away. Yes, Gregg’s grandchild was terribly ill and a few weeks after we had visited Gregg and his group, the child died. We believed that this was a terrible burden on Gregg and believed that this was the reason he was not responding to my emails.

But at Gregg’s request we began to send our emails to his board and they never responded either. Eventually Gregg did send the money but he did not seem to be the same friendly Gregg when I was finally able to reach him on the phone. Doug had promised to put our story on his list of special donors that included 40,000 names, asking for donations for our ministry. Doug never answered my emails like he had always done before our visit and he would not take my phone calls either.

Seeking Employment

Even though Mike Smith told us that HSLDA would no longer give us money on a regular basis, HSLDA continued to send us $5,000 a month through April 2005. After that funds abruptly stopped. We desperately needed money to cover our work and cost of living.

Since we were out of funds with seemingly no future hope of receiving further donations from HSLDA, I told Chris that I would look for a job. My children now wanted to return to America so I told him that I was looking for a job in America. Amazingly, at this time James McDonald, owner of Homeschooling Today magazine placed a notice on the state leaders email list that he was looking for someone who could help him. I emailed back to James and asked him what he was looking for because I was interested.

On September 7, 2005 we asked for and received $3,000 from HSLDA. Vanessa from HSLDA accounting wrote: “As per Chris Klicka we are wiring you $3,000. Attached is a Grant Use Report form that our auditors and board have wanted us to begin implementing. Essentially we need you to complete this form before we can send you another contribution. There is nothing you have done wrong. We have merely wanted to increase our controls so that we have adequate documentation in our files in the event we ever come under public scrutiny.”

“There is nothing you have done wrong”? What did she mean by this? Of course there was nothing we did wrong. We always and only did what we were instructed to do.

© 2008-2009 All rights reserved.


Legal Mumbo Jumbo

  • This is an educational and critical site and, as such, is protected by the 1st Amendment's right to free speech.
  • This site is neither endorsed, nor sponsored by, nor affiliated with Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
  • HSLDA and Home School Legal Defense Association are registered trademarks of Home School Legal Defense Association.