(UPDATE: Flying Colors Sports’s owner Greg Benton posted a response in the comments below.)
Yesterday, my son and I did a family race.
It was neither great nor amazing.
It’s presented like a charity:
- They ask for volunteers and donations.
- They claim to benefit Active Families 30 Initiative, although some times it comes across as the Active Families 60 Initiative.
- At $30-$50 per family, it’s expensive, like one would expect for a charity fundraiser.
- They sell things you wouldn’t dream of in a real competitive event, like $5 Head Start Token to buy 1 minute off your time or $20 for a t-shirt with a plain logo.
- They claim donations to their “community fund” are tax-deductible.
Here’s a problem: this “charity” has the patina of a loose, for-profit operation:
- No IRS-recognized charities have names beginning with “flying colors sports” or “active families“. In fact, Flying Colors Sports is an Ohio for-profit LLC that was chartered in 2004. Ohio had no business on record beginning with “active families”. (Search for yourself.)
- Through Google, I can’t find clear evidence of anything charitable these Active Families 30 or Active Families 60 charities have done, or that they even exist!
- The event organizer said Akwasi Owusu-Ansah was supposed to attend but couldn’t because he was just traded. Um, no. It was January 15. He had been traded 6 weeks prior, on Dec. 4.
- Poorly run, disorganized event, especially for something that cost between $30 and $50 per family.
- No trained medical staff, or if they were there, they were well-hidden.
- Was run worse than many free Cub or Boy Scout events I’ve been to.
- Low-quality, sloppy web site with poor poorfreading, like “Norbuck Par” or “I-365” (it’s I-635!). In fact, it’s just thrown together with Godaddy’s free Website Tonight tool (see bottom of most pages).
- The promised race packet was just a green, generic bifold flyer with no useful event details.
- Credit card data is transmitted with no security and converted to email, which is inherently insecure.
- No runner identification whatsoever. It’s all on an honor system basis. I could have easily scammed my way into the event.
- Instead of “8 fun-filled stations“, there were six, and they were silly: 1. blindfolded guide, 2. sponge relay, 3. mummy wrap with toilet paper, 4. golfing a tennis ball into a hula hoop, 5. “hold the football between your legs while you go around some cones” and 6. a bingo game. Yes, the last station is really a game of chance, where you watch slower people get lucky and pass you up! Sure, these were enjoyable, but not $30-$50 per team enjoyable!
- Purportedly tax-deductible donations are to be sent to the private residence of Donald and Karen S. Helton at 7858 Red Fox Drive, West Chester OH 45069.
- The company’s headquarters are at the private residence of Gregory L. and Michelle R. Benton at 8270 Miranda Place, West Chester OH 45069.
So what’s the truth? Is there really any charity behind this?
I don’t know.
It could be that this is all legit, and some charity puts on an overpriced, over-promoted, hokey event run by a marketing firm that communicates poorly.
But it’s also possible that this is only a for-profit enterprise. If that’s true, it would be shameful. They would be getting undeserved free labor, and they would pretty much be pocketing money from families’ charity budgets.
Either way, participants deserve the truth, and they deserve something better than a brief, sloppy event for $30-$50, and taxpayers deserve for a charity to be organized properly, with IRS recognition.