AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A local woman is wondering where her church’s recent donations may have gone after finding out the non-profit that they sent money to is going out of business.
When Debby Bouknight, a treasurer at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Aiken, was closing her books for 2022, she realized the church never received a notification that their donations to Forces United had been received.
“We just haven’t been able to get in touch with any of them,” said Bouknight. “So, we’re trying to find out what happened to them.”
Bouknight tells us the church donated 631 dollars to Forces United in 2022.
While doing her year-end review, she says she tried to reach the organization via email and phone and never heard back.
Now with the Forces United website down and a voicemail that says their inbox is full, Bouknight is concerned about where the church’s donations will go.
“Are they still taking donations?” asked Bouknight. “And what’s happening to the donations? Or what happened to the money that they had on hand if they closed? What did they do with it? Did they give it to another organization?”
We went to the Forces United offices, where the doors were locked. However, we were about to talk to the group’s chairperson on the phone.
“We’re in the process of dissolving the organization,” said James Heffner, board chairman of Forces United. “We have stopped the program services we were offering. And, last year, Forces United lost a grant that it had received for roughly 13 years.”
The non-profit, which assists active service members, veterans, and their families, lost a Supportive Services for Veteran Families grant received by the CSRA EOA.
“This was a very, very tough decision for the board and staff that have honorably remained to see this effort through,” said Heffner. “The name of Forces United is recognized and well-respected within the community. That whole scenario was carefully weighed and the decision as we went about ultimately deciding what was the next thing to do but, most importantly, what was the right thing to do.”
Heffner tells us that Forces United will divert all its assets to another local non-profit, as required by law. They are also preparing an official statement to be announced in the coming weeks.