A national organization planning an urban scavenger hunt in Nashville is facing a $10,000 civil penalty, after it claimed funds were being collected on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee.
The Department of State, with cooperation from Big Brothers Big Sisters, found that it had not partnered with Challenge Nation, a Washington, D.C.-based company that sponsors “urban adventure races” in cities across the country.
Challenge Nation has a race scheduled in Nashville Sept. 12. In promotional material for the event, Challenge Nation stated that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee would receive a portion of the proceeds from the event.
When contacted by The City Paper, Big Brothers Big Sisters said it was aware of the investigation, but because the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to discuss the case.
“We take fundraising for Big Brothers Big Sisters very seriously and are accountable for donations to our agency. We are very concerned about reports that anyone might exploit our name or mission in any scheme where donors are misled,” the group said in an emailed statement.
The Department of State probe determined that Challenge Nation committed two violations of the Tennessee Charitable Solicitations Act and assessed a $5,000 civil penalty for each offense.
“It is always a good idea to check with the Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming before donating to an unfamiliar group or donating through a third-party company,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “I would hate to see a company use a charity’s name to swindle money from Tennesseans, as it would make people think twice about giving money to charities that are legitimate and deserving.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee suggests donors visit www.mentorakid.org or call 522-5653 to make a donation.