EXPOSED: Cambridge Charity Fashion Show funds ILLEGAL charity
The committee checked their Instagram followers, not their finances.
Flustered fashionistas fuck up in funding fiasco.
A Tab investigation has revealed that the Cambridge University Charity Fashion Show is raising money for a charity – I AM ADAPTIVE – which is illegally soliciting donations and hasn’t filed tax returns:
■ The charity isn’t registered with the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services, meaning any donations solicited in or from Florida are illegal;
■ The charity hasn’t filed tax forms with the IRS since 2014;
■ There is no financial information available on the charity’s website;
■ The Cambridge University Charity Fashion Show made no checks into the charity’s financial background, instead focusing on the number of their Instagram followers;
■ The Show, which last year attracted attention for its topless models, has boldly stated its ambition to help I AM ADAPTIVE “launch in the UK”, despite the charity’s existing services not even stretching outside of Florida.
As a Florida-based charity, I AM ADAPTIVE is subject to the laws of both Florida and US Federal Government. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services had no online record of I AM ADAPTIVE’s registration, making it likely illegal for them to be soliciting for donations in Florida or, as they’re located in Florida, to solicit for donations anywhere.
I AM ADAPTIVE admitted they were unregistered, telling The Tab “(the) Florida Dep of Agriculture demands you file if you make more than $25,000 a year which we haven’t either year we have been incorporated.” However, according to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, “anyone who solicits donations from people in the state of Florida” is required “to register with the department and renew annually.”
The Department confirmed by phone that I AM ADAPTIVE was not registered.
I AM ADAPTIVE has registered with the US Federal Government as a 503(c) non-profit organisation. Tax-exempt non-profits need to file either a 900 or 900N form each year detailing all their financial information. I AM ADAPTIVE has not filed with the IRS since the 2014 financial year.
In addition, the ‘Finance’ page of I AM ADAPTIVE’s website hasn’t been updated since 2013 and contains only fake-Latin filler text.
While the Cambridge University Charity Fashion Show Committee said they found I AM ADAPTIVE through “a lot of research on our part”, they were somehow unaware that there was no financial information available on I AM ADAPTIVE’s website and that no charity watchdog had records of the charity.
When asked whether they checked the financial records, the fashion show committee said “not explicitly, we were in touch with the founder and runner.”
“Obviously before we finally sent them the money we would do extensive checks. We should do extensive checks.”
Remarkably, the committee said they were unaware that I AM ADAPTIVE was illegally soliciting donations and had failed to file tax returns. They told The Tab it was “an oversight” and in light of the revelations they’d “have to make our own enquiries”.
Previously, the Cambridge University Charity Fashion Show has raised £18,000 over two years for Cambridge House, a London-based charity which tackles poverty and social injustice.
The 2017 Committee explained the change in charities by saying that helping I AM ADAPTIVE move into the UK would provide a “tangible” impact. While it was CUCFS’ “idea to try and help them expand”, the committee couldn’t say much about where, when or how this would happen.
The committee told The Tab “we don’t believe that their HQ being in Miami will hinder their ability to spread into the UK because they use social media in such a good way” but that it’s “hard to foresee until we see exactly how much money is raised to see the exact level of support (we can give)”.
Committee members told The Tab they wanted “a charity which we can make central to the artistry so that everything in the show has a message about the artistry and we felt we personally could do the best job with this one.”
This is despite the apparent wishes of the founders of CUCFS, who stated in an interview with The Tab in 2014 that the show was set up “for such a good cause”, Cambridge House.
They also added that “there will be no lingerie or nudity of any sort in the show” – a decision quite clearly overturned by their successors at CUCFS.
CUCFS promotional material says “Nearly 20 years on from Aimee Mullins’ iconic walk for Alexander McQueen, CUCFS 2017 are excited to be supporting the non profit organisation I Am Adaptive with the aim to help them launch in the UK.”
The fashion show committee repeatedly mentioned I AM ADAPTIVE’s “really, really big” social media following – they have more than 50k Instagram followers.
“Their social media campaign is huge,” one committee member said, “they have a big reach throughout America and I think that’s a really, really important thing.”
A student who bought a ticket to the show and chose to be anonymous said “It sounds classic of careerist Cambridge students, who seem able to flit from one ‘CV point’ banker to the other, each apparently requiring identical skill sets, to be seen to be giving to charity without even checking where the money is going.”
Uber, one of the show’s sponsors, told The Tab they hadn’t been aware the Fashion Show was supporting I AM ADAPTIVE. They said they would await CUCFS’s response to the revelations before confirming that they would continue to sponsor the show. The Tab is still awaiting a response from Fixr and OC&C.
After The Tab asked the Fashion Show Committee for comment, all trace of I Am Adaptive has been removed from their website and social media in a complete U-turn. CUCFS declined to say anything further about where the proceeds of the show will go. The venue has a capacity of 1200 and early-bird tickets are currently on sale for £29.
CUCFS is no stranger to drama. In 2016 the show was embroiled in controversy over the “bondage-style” and “topless” outfits worn by some of the models. The Tab is awaiting comment from Cambridge University.
If you think the Fashion Show should support another charity, vote here for what it should be.