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TBAF Discussion and Support


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ADMIN NOTE:

In putting this forum together we hope to be a place where Clay fans can celebrate every aspect of Clay's career and life that he wishes to share with us. The Bubel Aiken Foundation is a big part of Clay. We hesitated to put a forum to discuss TBAF because sadly it has become a controversial subject with a lot of fans. However with the current WRAL news item and now the MSNBC gossip column that questions the integrity of this very young non-profit organization, we feel that this topic is necessary. And it will remain as long as a balanced, fair, and respectful, discussion takes place.

We are very much aware of the different complaints and issues that were brought up by the critics of TBAF. We are very much aware that TBAF is not perfect. It has gone through some growing pains and things haven't worked in the most efficient ways. There are areas for improvement for sure. But TBAF has also done some amazing things and should indeed be celebrated as well. We support Clay and his efforts to make TBAF a success.

We invite people to post their experiences and impressions about TBAF and also some suggestions on how this organization could continue to grow and help as many people as possible.

We are open to a discussion of the possible implications the MSNBC gossip item would have on Clay and the BAF and impressions on how the media is handling this story.

Finally, we would like to give a few posting guidelines about this topic:

1) No bashing of Clay, Fran or Diane - no matter what - this is just unacceptable.

2) Anything that crosses the line from constructive criticism into just plain nastiness will be edited or deleted- this will be up to the discretion of the moderators .

3) Respect for other's opinions is a must. The mods will just have to make the call if they think somebody is being condescending and rude.

Thank you

The FCA Admins

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I have always been impressed with what TBAf is doing. I actually like the fact that they haven't been too fancy with their brochures or communication with donors...I like the fact that they don't have a huge staff. Why? Because all that means money. I would rather see the money go to grants and to support the different programs of BAF than going to shiny brochures and all kinds of official correspondence with the donors. Should they have these...of course it would be nice to have them but not if it means taking away from grants and expenses for the various programs.

Another thing that always impressed me are the corporate partners BAF has acquired. First they targeted the right organizations because they are high profile and children oriented. Second I don't think these groups would associate themselves with just any upstart organization. Of course it could be the decision makers in these organizations are just Clay fans *g*...but really to set this up needs some leg work and good networking. They also must've given impressive presentations.

Finally Kudos for receiveing the huge grant from the DOE to work on a curriculum for inclusion. The best way to make lasting changes for inclusion for children with special needs is through changes in policy. It does not matter if there are camp Gonzos all over the US...if when these kids go back to school they are still seperated from their their peers then its back to square one for these kids. Creating a practical solution for inlcusion within the classroom is the most effective way to reaching the most children.

These are just a few things I would like to give TBAF props for...I'm sure others can add to this list.

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Do we have to be nice to Ms. Walls too? :rolleyes:

The gossip item on MSNBC was just that. It made absolutely no sense at all. I don't think this was from WRAL. Some of the numbers were different. It appears to me that she was fed this information and printed as she received it without checking out any of the numbers. I think she mentioned $150,000 in salaries. The audit report shows $112,284

She showed that only $345,000 was distributed. This number does not include the $155,750 spent for Project Gonzo nor does it include the costs of the 2 galas $189,891. So when reporting the amount distributed she includes the income from the galas but does not deduct the related expenses.

Almost half of the travel related to Project Gonzo. Which makes sense due to training and observations of other camps.

I did a calculation in the den of the Clackhouse and by deducting the income and expenses of the galas the resulting distribution of revenues to programs was more like 78% than the 35% or so they reported.

Sorry for the numbers talk. I really dislike the unjust manipulation of them.

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Do we have to be nice to Ms. Walls too? :rolleyes:

The gossip item on MSNBC was just that. It made absolutely no sense at all. I don't think this was from WRAL. Some of the numbers were different. It appears to me that she was fed this information and printed as she received it without checking out any of the numbers. I think she mentioned $150,000 in salaries. The audit report shows $112,284

She showed that only $345,000 was distributed. This number does not include the $155,750 spent for Project Gonzo nor does it include the costs of the 2 galas $189,891. So when reporting the amount distributed she includes the income from the galas but does not deduct the related expenses.

Almost half of the travel related to Project Gonzo. Which makes sense due to training and observations of other camps.

I did a calculation in the den of the Clackhouse and by deducting the income and expenses of the galas the resulting distribution of revenues to programs was more like 78% than the 35% or so they reported.

Sorry for the numbers talk. I really dislike the unjust manipulation of them.

thanks for clarifying...the numbers talk is fine...had to read it through twice...hee. But that is interesting and I think you may be right. Frankly I think that this item...of gossip will probably die down much like the Sewell incident. If this does not get fueled by well meaning phone calls and emails.

The intersting thing is this incident made me focus back on the BAF and the thought that its getting attacked made me look back on its short history...it hasn;t been smooth for sure. I do belive it will weather this too and I think many people are showing their support in different ways.

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My two cents on this....

I went to one of the early BAF events....the Dover BAF concert. Was it perfect? Hardly. There seemed to be several faults in the planning and organizing of the event. $200 general admission tickets (no assigned seats) which led to camping out in front of a casino, which led to a mad rush for good seats. Not what you would think for a pricey charity benefit. However, it was a fun concert and I had a great time. I was happy to donate to Clay's cause.

Although I have not gone to any of the recent BAF galas, I am glad to hear that they were very successful. It seems, the BAF has learned from their previous mistakes.

I am glad also, for the most part, these recent galas are aimed more at the corporate world than the fandom. I think it is a good step to move the BAF away from being mostly fan contributions to corporate contributions. Fan donations will always be important, but corporations have the big money. And with more $$, the BAF can do bigger and better things.

I met Fran in Dover and she was extremely nice and pleasant. She even went out of her way to get my Raleigh AI2 crowd photo signed by Clay for me. Beyond that, I dont know Fran and feel it isnt my place to sit in any kind of judgement of her or her role in the BAF.

I only hope this recent WRAL and MSNBC stuff doesnt hurt Clay or the BAF.

{{Clay & the BAF}}

Edited by buzztechie
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buzztechie said....

I am glad also, for the most part, these recent galas are aimed more at the corporate world than the fandom. I think it is a good step to move the BAF away from being mostly fan contributions to corporate contributions.

Yes, I agree! What will be interesting to see is if those fans who seem very very committed will then move away from BAF.

I know we are not supposed to write or email, but I certainly hope someone has provided WRAL with the correct figures.

I would also like to know where the reported "donations are pouring in" are coming from....I guess I am hoping that these are not just from fan groups, but from folks who got curious about BAF and checked the website.

Maybe the person who did this thing inadvertantly got some recognition for BAF!

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First off, kudos to those who started this, it was needed. Thanks so much. Secondly I do many fundraisers for TBAF and would not do so if I didn't think everything was being handled well.

One thing to remember is this organization is only 2 years old if that. It takes a great deal of time and sometimes expense to get something started especially a non-profit of which I have been involved in for 16 years. I did not read all the comments nor the accusations. I felt it was not necessary for me to do so.

I believe with anything large like Galas which they had never done before the lst one, each time you learn more and more how to present and handle them.

I am so glad WRAL checked into it and found nothing out of the ordinary in this type of organization. I feel it will be getting stronger and stronger helping more and more children with disabilities. I know I get alot of joy doing fundraising for them and will continue to do so.

Kudos to Mr. Clay Aiken for putting his life out there to help those that cannot speak for themselves. All success in the future to TBAF.

:D Smiles, Carol

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Wow its really nice to hear from someone who has worked with them on several projects. I just get this impression from other volunteers that this is an organization that is difficult to work with. Unfortunately it seems as if the negative stories are what gets retold again and again. Thanks for posting about your experience.

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First off, kudos to those who started this, it was needed. Thanks so much. Secondly I do many fundraisers for TBAF and would not do so if I didn't think everything was being handled well.

One thing  to remember is this organization is only 2 years old if that. It takes a great deal of time and sometimes expense to get something started especially a non-profit of which I have been involved in for 16 years. I did not read all the comments nor the accusations. I felt it was not necessary for me to do so.

I believe with anything large like Galas which they had never done before the lst one, each time you learn more and more how to present and handle them.

I am so glad WRAL checked into it and found nothing out of the ordinary in this type of organization. I feel it will be getting stronger and stronger helping more and more children with disabilities. I know I get alot of joy doing fundraising for them and will continue to do so.

Kudos to Mr. Clay Aiken for putting his life out there to help those that cannot speak for themselves. All success in the future to TBAF.

:D Smiles, Carol

Thanks for your insight into TBAF and charitable organizations in general. I don't know much about it, but common sense told me that the amount of work they were getting done was pretty good for an organization that is so young. I think this should be focused on more than it is - they are DOING things, and Clay is trying to good things for children. Kinda sad that the only attention they get sometimes is negative - did they ever hit the press this much prior to this (when it didn't involve promoting a gala)?

Would it be totally shallow of me to add right now that Clay is hot? :D Eh, who cares - we're all about celebrating.

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The BAF is such a young foundation & in many ways I think the direction the foundation has moved is what upsets a small particular group of people (just can't call them fans?) It seems that several people thought that Clay's foundation was going to be the savior of their personal struggles with services for thier children. They seem to think that the BAF should be a foundation that just doles out grants. I think when that didn't happen they became disillusioned with Clay & the BAF. It's a shame that such a small group of unhappy people can bring so much negative attention to an important foundation.

Finally Kudos for receiveing the huge grant from the DOE to work on a curriculum for inclusion. The best way to make lasting changes for inclusion for children with special needs is through changes in policy. It does not matter if there are camp Gonzos all over the US...if when these kids go back to school they are still seperated from their their peers then its back to square one for these kids. Creating a practical solution for inclusion within the classroom is the most effective way to reaching the most children.
bolding mine

I think this is probably the most important project that BAF is undertaking. Being able to help 1 child is fantastic for that 1 child, but helping a teacher/school will help all children.

There's no question that BAF has had some issues but I don't think any of them are scandalous or illegal. They did learn that the Galas did not work as fundraisers so at least the one in FL was used to raise awareness. Clay & the BAF were all over the news media that week. He spoke at a caregivers conference & was interveiwed for the magazine. I know that the first 2 Galas were advertised as fundraisers but I don't expect anyone at the BAF to be psychic. They are learning from their mistakes and that is all that really matters.

It does make my heart sick for Clay, Diane, Fran & Faye. It just seems like such a personal attack on all of them. I can only hope that the attacks don't escalate.

Thanks MusicFan427, it really is wonderful to hear from someone who has voluteered with the BAF.

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I find it disheartening when there is a discussion of some perceived troublesome aspect of the foundation and only the negative perceptions are viewed as valid. I have seen discussions where people with experience in working in or with small foundations are ignored and their comments trivialized. Especially if they assert that the foundation really is doing fine, that the problems they are having are not unusual and that they will most likely work out the kinks in time. That they really have done a remarkable job so far.

It is a shame that the story that is being picked up now is the MSNBC gossip piece and not the WRAL article. I just hope that Clay had a plan in place for this eventuality.

I agree diamondjake2001 that some had their own vision for TBAF and are disappointed that it is not addressing the issues that they want to see addressed. I think it would be wise to read the mission statement and realize that the foundation is there for a specific purpose that is more general in nature than some would like it to be:

The mission of The Bubel/Aiken Foundation is to provide services and financial assistance to facilitate fully the integration of children with disabilities into the life environment of those without.

The Foundation will create awareness about the diversity of individuals with disabilities and the possibilities inclusion can bring. Through collaborations with the disability, education, entertainment, and media communities, the Foundation will recognize those whose commitment to breaking the stereotypes attendant to the developmentally disabled has broken barriers and extended the boundaries of the human experience for all.

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diamondjake2001

They seem to think that the BAF should be a foundation that just doles out grants.

I work for the equivalent of a non-profit that survives on grants and corporate donations. Part of what we do is give out grants. One key thing I have pushed since day 1 is that we can't simply give out grants. You are not going to get government or corporate grants to simply redistribute money. They are looking to buy into something. They want value added. You need to support the grants you give out and gather success stories to build the status of your organization. You need to put on your own programs. My organizations puts on conferences and summits to build vision, consensus and action plans to create change in our particular area. These are the things corporations and government grant organization are looking for.

I've got lots more thoughts, but I need to get some real life stuff done. It's nice to have a place to talk about the good things that have happened. The BAF (in my professional opinion) has done a lot in a short period of time. What makes it even harder is that they have been under the constant microscope of the fans and had the double edged sword of a celebrity spokesperson (who in my personal opinion is hawt!).

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I've been wondering about the timing of the BAF story by WRAL coinciding with Clay's story in TV Guide and his tour. There is something so deliberate about all of this.

Following Clay's career has been an eye opening experience. I had a low opinion of the media before but my opinion of most of them has sunk very low. I don't trust what I read and would stop taking the newspaper if it weren't for my husband reading it each morning.

Lionel Ritchie once commented that he hoped Clay wouldn't give up show business because of what Clay has had to deal with. I guess Lionel knew what he was talking about.

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First of all, I'm glad this thread exists... I'm loving the discussion in here so far!

I've been wondering about the timing of the BAF story by WRAL coinciding with Clay's story in TV Guide and his tour. There is something so deliberate about all of this.

Yeah, I thought about this too. People have been fixating on the negative for a long time now (since at least March), so WHY did this story get picked up now specifically when the tour is just about to start? My suspicion is that a hater or a disgruntled "fan" (I can't call whoever did this a fan either) has been planning this and was waiting for the first round of publicity right before the tour started to contact WRAL... I wouldn't put it past them either to have pointed the MSNBC gossip columnist in the right direction too... and, of course, now that MSNBC has completely twisted the story and chopped out all the relevant bits where Clay & BAF come out looking good, that is the story that the OTHER news outlets are picking up - and calling it NEWS when they got it from a gossip column!!! Irresponsible journalism at its worst... it's unbelievable! <_<

Following Clay's career has been an eye opening experience. I had a low opinion of the media before but my opinion of most of them has sunk very low. I don't trust what I read and would stop taking the newspaper if it weren't for my husband reading it each morning.

Seriously. I don't trust journalists at all anymore. The girl that sits in the cubicle next to me at work reads Page Six everyday with her morning coffee and the girl next to that reads US magazine and In Touch all the time. And they believe everything they read. I am constantly reminding them how full of crap those things are. I am especially shocked though that a supposedly serious news outlet like MSNBC would be writing libelous things on their website. It's their fault that the twisted version of the story is being spread all over the country because THEY changed it.

Anyway, I'm mad. I hope this goes away as quickly as the Sewell thing, but I'm bracing myself for an even more twisted version to hit the Enquirer or the Globe or the Star any day now. *sigh*

I just hope that Clay has some good PR people in his corner. I really feel for him having to deal with stupid crap like this right before his tour starts.

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I'm just glad it came out as part of a gossip column...not as legitimate news like when newsweek picked up the Sewll story.

SO did other news agencies really pick the story up already?

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Ansa I did not see this myself, but reports on several different boards are saying that MSNBC political show of Tucker Carlson just made a few salacious remarks about it, with accusatory tone about amount of dollars shown as business

expense, not using the same figures as WRAL, and to top things off made a a gay inuendo comment as well (Sorry for the run on sentence)

This whole situation makes me feel very sad. It's another example of how low humans can go with no regard for the impact of their actions.

My understanding was that Fran is/was a lawyer, is this correct? If she is doesn't it seem that she could come forward as a spokesperson, to answer these charges, or would that just add fuel to the fire?

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I'm just glad it came out as part of a gossip column...not as legitimate news like when newsweek picked up the Sewll story.

SO did other news agencies really pick the story up already?

Yes, that's the problem. Other news agencies are picking up the MSNBC gossip piece now and calling it news! (Do the journalists picking up things from gossip columns and calling it news have no integrity at all?)

Something called allnewsheadlines.com (can't remember) reported the gossip item from MSNBC as news. And then Tucker Carlson - some jerk who reports on MSNBC on television (I think - correct me if I'm wrong) just repeated the MSNBC thing as news (I don't know if he's known for gossip - I've never seen his show nor do I know who he is - I've heard that he isn't very credible though) and he added a few gay slams for no apparent reason. (oh thanks, atinal... you explained it better than me)

This is getting ridiculous. That was absolutely uncalled for. I hope Tucker Carlson rots in hell along with the person who initiated this whole thing to begin with. :angry:

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Sigh...well hopefully BAF and Clay will weather this. But you know who I feel sorry for ...Diane.

I bet she never thought her name...yes it is her name in that foundation...will be dragged through mud like this...when all she wanted was to help other kids like her son. This must be so stressful for her.

(((( Diane & Clay))))

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Sigh...well hopefully BAF and Clay will weather this. But you know who I feel sorry for ...Diane.

I bet she never thought her name...yes it is her name in that foundation...will be dragged through mud like this...when all she wanted was to help other kids like her son. This must be so stressful for her.

(((( Diane & Clay))))

No kidding. Clay being a celebrity and all...I would guess that he's slowly but surely getting used to having his name thrown about in gossip columns (although it makes me wonder about the way he talked in the TV Guide column, and sometimes wonder if there's a connection). But Diane...she seems to me to have a generous spirit, and wants good things to come out of the BAF. Her name is on the foundation...and I think sometimes people forget that.

And...that's all I'm going to say for now. I'm too pissed off at MSNBC to write coherently.

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Just adding my WORD to everything stated by everyone else. I met Diane at Florida and she is the nicest most sincere person. Clay is a celebrity and has learned to deal with some of this. Diane is not. And it must be hard for her to cope with all of this. She has enough on her hands as it is.

My experience with the media and journalists in general has not been good. Worked for public figures and learned how jaded the press really is, so this is no surprise.

Clay had to see this coming a mile away. I hope that he and his legal team have been prepared for it, and are ready with something. Just can't imagine what that might be.

And, for all practical purposes, we all had angst over his remarks in TV Guide just a few days ago. And guess what? This article by Walls is a prime example of just how jaded and rotten some people who deal with the entertainment business can really be. From a PR perspective, and I am no PR person, it almost seems like the BAF story underscores the validity of the things he said in TV Guide. I would hope once the truth is out there that the average person would see it that way as well.

Just hope that there is a BIG turnout at GMA this year. It would be terrible right now to see a big dropoff on national TV after this story broke. Bracing myself for Leno and Conan too.

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My understanding was that Fran is/was a lawyer,  is this correct?  If she is doesn't it seem that she could come forward as a spokesperson, to answer these charges, or would that just add fuel to the fire?

I would imagine that neither she, nor Clay will come forward for the same reason that Clay doesn’t jump every time someone says something about him that he doesn’t like (Sewell) – you don’t give accusations without merit more press than they deserve. You don’t feed the monster. You treat it like the eye-roll inducing garbage that it is. You walk away until someone says something to your face and you can’t avoid it. Then you roll your eyes. <g>

I’m not worried about GMA – if anything, Diane and Company will at least give Clay an opportunity to roll his eyes on camera. Diane might even go so far as to look at the original story and report what WRAL did. Conan and Jay? Eh, who cares. Jay has surprised us before.

What I keep reminding myself is that, IMO, this is a gossip story without merit – and we’ve seen that before. (And, I will add, there are laws governing charitable organizations - and so far, the BAF continues to operate. Telling.) We’ve had other things happen in this fandom that cause major angst and hair pulling and fear that it would somehow damage or hurt Clay. Did any of them ever come to fruition? No. Could this one? Well, if things are as WRAL says they are, I imagine a lot of faxes will be flying behind the scenes if anyone attempts to make it “worse”. The faxes will all have multiple names at the top and will contain language that no “normal” human could hope to understand. <g>

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Well, my heart breaks for Clay. But I knew this would happen the very day I saw that site go up. Surprised it took so long. And people wonder why he can't get over it and adapt and be all happy in his new life. Maybe it's all the knives sticking in his back. I don't know how this will play out in the media but it will not be good for Clay even if the story goes no further. Because as we can see already this story isn't about a new company with some growing pains it's about Clay Aiken being a thief. The innuendo has already begun. The story will never be about Fran because nobody gives a shit about her but the fans. Even if some intrepid reporter does some research or has it handed to them by some do gooding "fan" the angle will still be CLAY AIKEN because that will sell papers. Fran will be a footnote. Even if she quits, she will be a footnote at the bottom of the article rehashing how Clay Aiken has failed. I know Clay's fans will try to help and I can understand it. They'll respond to articles and try to defend Clay or straighten the record and it will keep the fires of interest burning. But I can't even be upset about that because I know they are doing it out of love.

So hugs to Clay. Thanks to Sewell, which is nowhere in this ballpark, I've learned how to sympathize but I can't afford empathy...I can't internalize this situation because the bitterness I feel will take over. So I'll do what I can. And Ansa and I will be donating our little pin profits to TBAF. And then I will scream my ass off for Clay at my concerts to let him know he has my support.

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I was thinking about this whole situation last night. I wonder if Diane wishes she had not pushed Clay to try out for AI. Is the headache of all the "fans" really worth it in the end? I hope they can personally look past the garbage and see all that they have accomplised in 2 short years.

I also wonder if some of Clay's mood in the TV Guide article was related to all of this in some way. I'm sure that Clay and his people have been aware of the Cafe website for a while. But it's more than just that website. It seems that Clay fans think they know how to run all aspects of Clay's life which includes his foundation.

The one thing about the Clay fandom that makes me get upset is this idea of entitlement. Is this a factor in other fandoms because this is the first fandom I've ever be part of? I have been a fan of several artists but never to this extent. Is it because of the way he got into the business? Should any of his fans be entitled to tell Clay how to live his life & run his foundation? I just can't figure it out.

I understand the desire to not empathize with Clay but I'm having a hard time keeping myself from doing it.

Personally I think it would be a huge mistake for Fran to step down. There has been no true mismanagement of the foundation. While she may not be great with communication that is not mismanagement. I don't really care about her qualifications for the job, the fact is Clay gave her the job & he appears happy with her performing that job. And all the complaints about her salary make me sick. She worked for FREE for the first year & only took salary for the second half of last year. For a foundation that brought in over $1,000,000 you would expect to pay the CEO a decent salary.

I realize I'm ranting. I'll join you, couchtomato, and continue to support the BAF & scream for Clay at my concerts, too!

Edited by diamondjake2001
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Well, my heart breaks for Clay.  But I knew this would happen the very day I saw that site go up.  Surprised it took so long.  And people wonder why he can't get over it and adapt and be all happy in his new life.  Maybe it's all the knives sticking in his back.

I kind of think we are talking about two different issues here: 1) how Clay feels, and; 2) Clay’s image.

I do agree that this could really hurt Clay’s feelings even more than they were before. Yes, those knives are sharp and, because of stuff like this, the TV Guide article doesn’t surprise me in the least. I do feel bad for HIM, really. Cause, I love the dude and I don’t think he or anyone in his organization is doing anything wrong. I'm certainly in no position to know, but then no one but those involved in the daily operation of the charity are in a position to know. Well, along with the AUDITORS and lawyers. Sure, it has problems – all charities and companies do, especially when they first start out.

Clay’s image?? Well, they say lots of bad stuff about Clay – people either believe it or they don’t and a large part of the time people don’t even hear about it. Hell, a republican friend of mine just asked me who Karl Rove is!!! And that's front page news!! Some will call Clay a thief. Some will say he’s mean to children and he’s fake (Sewell). Among other things. Will it make hay and create a REAL problem for Clay’s career? That’s why he’s got lawyers, agents, managers and publicists – if there is no truth to the story, they will decide how to handle those who try to make waves.

I don't know how this will play out in the media but it will not be good for Clay even if the story goes no further.  Because as we can see already this story isn't about a new company with some growing pains it's about Clay Aiken being a thief.  The innuendo has already begun.

Ah, see above. The Karl Rove thing really got me thinking. Or course, many people, for some crazy reason, pay more attention to baseless gossip than actual news – but as much as it bugs me for Clay himself, for his image I’m not too concerned. Unless a bunch of people start dropping the ball.

The story will never be about Fran because nobody gives a shit about her but the fans.  Even if some intrepid reporter does some research or has it handed to them by some do gooding "fan"  the angle will still be CLAY AIKEN because that will sell papers.  Fran will be a footnote.  Even if she quits, she will be a footnote at the bottom of the article rehashing how Clay Aiken has failed. 

Don’t you hate it when an agenda completely misses? I shouldn’t joke, I suppose, but for whoever got this started it was never about *Clay* and yet there he is taking the heat. Could have seen that coming a mile away, if ya stop and think about it. Clay is news.

So hugs to Clay.  Thanks to Sewell, which is nowhere in this ballpark, I've learned  how to sympathize but I can't afford empathy...I can't internalize this situation because the bitterness I feel will take over.  So I'll do what I can.  And Ansa and I will be donating our little pin profits to TBAF.  And then I will scream my ass off for Clay at my concerts to let him know he has my support.

You go, girl. I’ll be screaming too. <g>

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