TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Nicholas P. Scutari, to require charitable organizations that place clothing bins in public places to post disclosure information on each bin as a way to discourage clothes-collecting profiteers, was approved by the full Senate today.
“With charitable donations increasing, for-profit businesses began to realize the financial potential of donation bins,” Said Senator Scutari, D-Middlesex, Somerset and Union. “Profit organizations, claiming to be owned by charities, have started collecting for the needy. These groups then sell the clothing, donate a small portion to charity, and keep the rest. The public has the right to know if their charitable contributions will actually be going to companies looking to make a buck. Posting information on donation bins gives our citizens the opportunity to select what organizations they would like to help.”
The bill, S-597, would require that the organizations with public donation bins post information such as: the organization’s name, phone number and address; any other organizations that would maintain, service, and collects clothing from the bin; the State registration number and a statement of the organization’s charitable purpose.
“This legislation will allow people to give generously with the confidence that their donation will benefit the worthy cause of their choice, as opposed to lining the pockets of organized crime,” said Senator Scutari. “The registration program is essential to weeding out fly by night operators seeking to take advantage of people to the detriment of legitimate organizations.”
“The public should know that some of the donations from collection bins actually are sold in Third World countries,” said Senator Scutari. “Many donors assumed that these bins belong to non-profit charities and the donations that they receive will go to clothe those in need. Posting the information on the bins allows New Jerseyans to donate wisely. Donors want to be assured that their donations actually reach people in need.”
Senator Scutari stated that, “If any organization violates the notification requirements, they would be subject to up to $10,000 in fines for the first violation and no more than $20,000 for subsequent violations.”
The bill now heads to the Governor’s office for enactment.