North American Missing Children Association (NAMCA) Loses Charity Status

North American Missing Children Association (NAMCA) Loses Charity Status

The North American Missing Children’s Association, a national organization that “helps find missing children”, had its registered charity status revoked after an investigation into the association’s finances.

The former charity, which uses the slogan “Missing children, if there were none we would not be here,” has been in operation since 1995.  The North American Missing Children Association’s registered charity status was revoked in February by Elizabeth Tromp, director general of the Canada Revenue Agency, because the association failed to provide financial information detailing the money it collected in 2006.

According to tax documents filed with the Canada Revenue Agency prior to that year, the charity had been collecting around $300,000 annually.  However, only about 34 cents of every dollar collected was used toward paying “charitable expenses.”

A majority of the association’s charitable expenses, according to its filings, involved its internet website and toll free number. The North American Missing Children Association website was supposed to keep people up to date with information regarding missing children in Canada and the U.S.   In December 2005, it was discovered that the website had not been updated since August 2003. Prior to that, the site had not been updated since February 2000.

Some of the names of the missing children on the website were misspelled. The company’s toll-free phone number rang through to a voice mail box. Repeated messages left before the 2005 story were not returned.

Shortly after the December 2005 article, the association pulled down its missing children information database and removed any mention of the toll-free number from the website. Calls to phone numbers associated with association found the numbers have been disconnected. Repeated e-mails to the organization have not been answered.

The association has updated its website to reflect the revocation of its registered charity status. Despite not being recognized as a registered charity, it continues to operate.

“Our primary purpose is to educate the public and offer guidance and assistance to those who need it,” the website reads. “We work with policing agencies by passing on important information that will assist in locating missing individuals.”

The association’s missing children database now redirects people to the website of the federal government’s Our Missing Children service, which is run by the RCMP. The association remains on a list of organizations that the RCMP does not recognize.

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