Touch of Hope

The M&M (thanks for ruining the candy for me) report makes mention of the Touch of Hope fund that my Dad utilized to help people in need. The description of it basically makes it sound like a slush fund, which it was not. There was an application process, and my Dad was not the only one involved in its operation. Yes, it was up to his discretion, but there were others often involved in the recipient selection process.

Perhaps hindsight may show that more safeguards would have been appropriate if for no other reason than to prevent it from being discussed exactly the way it is now. But I know RZIM ran a tight ship with financials, and they didn’t treat TOH any differently. The organization was annually given some of the highest marks possible for its financial integrity, and even examinations brought about as a result of all this have not uncovered anything to be considered otherwise.

The way M&M references the TOH financials is a blatant misrepresentation. And it’s one of many claims the Board and leadership know to be erroneous, but they have allowed it to be accepted because it’s easier.

TOH was not the shady one man show the report claims it be.

Additionally, in yet another example in the report of narrative dictating motive rather than actual information, they say “significant” amounts of the funding went to four individuals.

As the reader, what do you think when you read that sentence? To me it sounded like this fund was basically used for four people. But then I thought, “what is significant?” Significant is a very subjective word. The percentage of funding is more important than the investigator’s definition of the word significant, but they conveniently don’t give us that number. The amount could have totaled 25% of all grants, which would be “significant,” but that also leaves room for a whole lot of people who received funding and were not massage therapists. And that information would drastically change the readers perception of that sentence. If it was a majority of the funding, I’m guessing they would have said so. Instead, they said “significant” and let our minds do the rest.

That paragraph also uses the context to make the reader think that he was likely involved with all four, though they allude to “evidence” for only one. But by wording it the way they have, they essentially get 4 for 1 – four allegations despite only mentioning “evidence” for one. I put the evidence in quotes because I still haven’t seen the evidence. They continue to find reasons to delay giving the phones back.

So all of that wording is intentionally used to create a picture, using carefully chosen words and little to no evidence.

Finally, I’ll tell you about a conversation that was relayed to me last summer. During a meeting with some staff, the topic of dad’s generosity came up. At that point one person referred to Touch of Hope, and mentioned that they (and others) would often tell Dad that they believed many of the Touch of Hope recipients to be lying to Dad. They said they would tell him they suspected they were lying just to get money from him. Dad’s response was that he knew they were likely lying, but sometimes the long term impact didn’t come from the amount of money; it came from the fact that they knew someone was willing to take a chance on them. In other words, even though the recipients were likely lying, Dad knew the gift of someone believing in them might actually foster a change within.

So one of many MANY questions about the investigation is this: is it relying on information from any of the same people that were once considered completely untrustworthy?