Cloth Chaos

A little while back, I started working on an article on the chaos revolving around the Cloth Diaper Foundation. I probably started the article in early to mid-May but I didn’t finish it until June. It was reviewed, approved and published a couple weeks later and has been up since the middle of June. I wasn’t calling names. I wasn’t being mean. I wasn’t lying. My intention was to organize the pieces of the story as best as I could and convey how people felt about what happened with the Cloth Diaper Foundation. The article can be viewed at;

The Cloth Diaper Foundation: Corruption or Compensation?

Recently, some people behind the Cloth Diaper Foundation found the article. It was inevitable, and I never expected it not to be found, but I definitely didn’t expect the reaction I got. One of the main leaders, Kristy Burt (who was referred to as the interim CEO, but says she is not the CEO, so now I’m confused) responded to my article in both a comment, as well as on the Cloth Diaper Cafe on Facebook.

“Samantha Van Vleet….. I am not the CEO, CDF no longer has a CEO, I was formerly the chairman of the board, now Toni is the chairman of the board, as last week due to health issues during this pregnancy I need to take on a more minor roll for the time being…. our website is not updated due to the resignation of our web designer a while back. Please be careful about publishing articles without the facts. Nice plug in there for your own co-operative btw. Also you may want to know that a 501 c 3 is allowed to pay there staff or compensate according to the IRS. after many phone appointments with the IRS and an attorney we learned A 501 C 3 is under the same category as a church, informational center, charity, and animal shelter and is allowed to pay\compensate staff. Even the real diaper association has minimally paid staff. CDF is working well with many of the new cloth diaper charities that have opened in the last few months. As we are closed we are doing our best to supply these charities with diapers to help other moms. We have sent out hundreds of diapers to these charities and redirected many donations so that moms in need are being helped while CDF is getting situated. It might be in your own co-operatives best interest to work with and not against already existing charities. What did you hope to gain by writing such an article as this? A Good journalist does her research educates her self on the subject, interviews and checks her sources to have a fact based accurate article. journalism is not supposed to be about opinion but about the truth.”

Now, so we are clear, I am posting this to clarify some points. I have no ill-intention in posting this. There is no “bee in [my] bonnet.” I just feel the need to clarify a few things.

  • “Nice plug in there for your own co-operative”
    I did mention the Cloth Cooperative in the article. Regardless of the fact I help run it, there is no benefit for me mentioning it. The Cloth Cooperative is operated completely different from the Cloth Diaper Foundation is. There is no incentive, whatsoever, for the work I do on the Cloth Cooperative. The diapers are never in either Liana’s or my possesion and go directly from the donor to recipient. The Cloth Cooperative is a legitimate suggestion for those looking to donate diapers; especially considering that donations go straight to those in need.
  • “Also you may want to know that a 501 c 3 is allowed to pay there staff or compensate according to the IRS.”
    I didn’t really delve into the legalities of paying volunteers, at least not very deeply. Of course non-profits pay their employees. Planned Parenthood. The ASPCA. Christian Children’s Fund. Salvation Army. Etc. They all pay their employees. The controversy over Burt taking diapers wasn’t over the fact she was receiving the diapers as “payment”, but rather that she got to pick and choose (while recipients did not), and that this information was not disclosed to donors from the very beginning. Even though it may be legal, it still left a bad impression on the public.
  • “It might be in your own co-operatives best interest to work with and not against already existing charities.”
    The organization I am a part of, the Cloth Cooperative, runs separately and individually. We are not working “against” other organizations and have the same goal in mind, however, the Cloth Cooperative is run differently doesn’t require the backup or monetary resources that the other organizations require. I don’t see how the Cloth Cooperative could work with other similar groups since the structure and set up of the organization is so different from most existing cloth diapering organizations. I am, however, open to suggestions if anyone has any.
  • What did you hope to gain by writing such an article as this?”
    I didn’t hope to gain anything. My intentions were simply to organize the events that led up to the current state of the Cloth Diaper Foundation in one place, and express the disappointment that many are feeling as a response to those events.
  • “A Good journalist does her research educates her self on the subject, interviews and checks her sources to have a fact based accurate article. journalism is not supposed to be about opinion but about the truth.”
    I am by no means a journalist. I wrote the article with the information I had available and the information I could find. Nothing in the article was a lie (although I am somewhat confused about the job titles at this point). My article may have come off biased, I can admit to that, because just as some of those who were generous enough to provide me with quotes, I am quite disappointed in the Cloth Diaper Foundation as well. Even so, I never interjected my own opinion surrounding the events. I could have requested interviews or sent emails; maybe I should have. I didn’t intend for the article to be a huge deal, and didn’t feel that an interview suited the angle and the direction of the article. I would, however, be willing to do a follow-up piece giving those behind the Cloth Diaper Foundation a chance to “set the record straight” if they wish. In which case, they can email me.
Comments
5 Responses to “Cloth Chaos”
  1. skyla says:

    Sounds like someone didn’t let their writing set for 24 hours before pushing the send button. For someone to be snide and sarcastic (not to mention not using spellcheck) is very unprofessional and shows this non-profit in a bad light. Ms. Burt would have been more professional to email Sammi and offer to do an interview from her perspective. Also interesting is I cannot find a rating for The Cloth Diaper Foundation. I look up the rating for every non-profit to see how much actually gets through to those who are in need. Just having a Tax ID number or special corporation does not automatically make sure your contributions actually go where the non-profits say they are going.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Samantha, your response to Ms. Burt is much too nice. I perceive this as a veiled threat; and absolutely unprofessional.

    “It might be in your own co-operatives best interest to work with and not against already existing charities.”

    It’s in your best interest? Or else what? Is she going to come beat you up? Say mean things about you on the Internet? (Watch for this, slander is illegal.) If any untruthful comment negatively impacts your life, i.e. you lose a writing assignment, and you can prove the loss as a direct result of what she says, you have a legal case against her. Even if it’s just a $25 that you get passed up for, she will owe you that $25.

    • Samanthavv says:

      That’s almost how I felt about it Jennifer. That the comment could have been taken as a threat… But really, that makes no sense. I have nothing to gain (or lose) from my cooperative.

      The only negative impact this is having is that there are rumors going on about me that are untrue, completely and totally. I just am refusing to stoop to that level. I offered to do a followup piece, offering them a chance to set the record straight, but haven’t received a response as of yet.

  3. SK says:

    Kristy Burt has since opened a Hyena cart store selling all the CDF diapers. Email me if you’d like more info.

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