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A Question about Straight, Inc. and Money

Intake Fees and Documentation Required:

Intake day: May 29, 1982. St. Petersburg, FL

I found this document among my father’s Straight, Inc. documents.

The first three items are crossed through since none of them are applicable.

According to this document parents paid:

$35.00/month for food.

$25.00/Doctor fee.

$2,000.00/Pledge Payment (aka fee for ‘treatment’)

$125 (Random fee? Appointment fee? No written explanation.)

Hmmm. I’ve heard rumor that most if not all of the food was donated to the St. Petersburg, Florida program (which is where these documents are from), but I’ll have to find proof of this. (Note to readers: If you have proof of this, please forward a copy to this site.)  However, even if it wasn’t donated, I’m sure we didn’t consume $35 worth of food there per month (especially thirty-five 1984 dollars worth).

The $25.00 doctor’s fee is hilarious. I wonder how they accounted for THIS fee in their books. I never saw a medical doctor in all my days at Straight, Inc.

And the $2000 fee for the program was classified as a pledge. I guess our parents were donors to the non-profit program, Straight, Inc.

Now, considering 99.9% of the items that made up Straight were donated, where did all that money go?

Program Expenses: 

Warehouse Building (in an industrial zone) – (most often donated or paid for by parents’ fundraising efforts).

Utilities. 

Signs on the wall.

Plastic chairs (approximately 600-1000 chairs)

Meals (usually donated? Usually only lunch and dinner or just dinner, depending on the program location, other meals were supposed to be provided by parents when possible)

Salaries (kid-graduates did 99.9% of the ‘therapy’ and got paid minimum wage, when they got paid — which wasn’t consistently)

Non-profit business registration and filing: Only a few bucks per year.

That leaves Executive Salaries. But when I spoke to one former executive staff member he scoffed at the proposal that perhaps they got paid well.

The Numbers Don’t Add Up

When I entered Straight, Inc. on May 29, 1982, there were approximately 350 kids in the group.

Though more than 350 kids had entered the program (within the year and paid the fees) but were no longer there because they escaped or were withdrawn or on the rare occasion terminated.

So let’s use a rough and conservatively estimated number of anywhere from 100 – 350 kids admitted to the program in any one location and in any one given year in the early 1980s. And let’s use the low estimate* that each one was charged $2000.

(*Low estimate: because we know parents paid more than just the initial “entry pledge payment” because there were the additional fees listed above for each kid, plus the collections of additional donations two times per week at each open meeting, plus numerous other fundraisers going on at any given point in time, in which the parents were expected to donate either their time, money and/or other resources. ‘Afterall, who can put a price on a child’s life?‘, which is what the program proclaimed was at stake if the parents didn’t meet all of these expectations.

The Math

100-350 kids at (a minimum of) $2000/each = $200,000-$700,000 of tax-free money in any given year in the early 1980’s for the nonprofit corporation that went by the name of Straight, Incorporated and proclaimed to save kids lives with their ‘breakthrough modality of kids helping kids and parents helping parents.

The Question

Where did all of the money really end up? If you have any answers or ideas, please be sure to leave them in the comments below.

Published inStraight Inc

7 Comments

  1. An afterthought: Why would a parent have to write out three different checks all made out to Straight, Inc.?

  2. Leathers Leathers

    As far as I’m aware of and what my mom told me is that she paid between $7k-8k the day I went in. My dad had died and she became quite wealthy overnight. She did not BS about money so I believed her. I got the impression that at the time the kids from either wealthy parents or who were court ordered tended to be held at phases longer. I didn’t escape until I was close enough to my 18th birthday that it would’ve been a pain in her ass and not enough to have her go thru the judicial system. She was a paralegal for a big firm and I just know how she thinks. She definitely had the ways and means to keep me there indefinitely. The kicker is that it turns out she paid Straight, Inc. with my inheritance money. I PAID FOR MY OWN YEAR LONG MIND RAPE! I should’ve had just under $40k when I turned 18. There was only $10k. Sorry, had to tell you backstory. I’m curious as to what other parents paid though, and if my mom may have been full of BS and just took my money. She did a lot of traveling with her new man and months would go by at a time before I would see her. Non-profit my a$$!

    • I’m curious as to how much was charged over the years and in various locations too.
      Which year and location was this?

  3. LMM LMM

    In the old days, the “fee” was $500 total. Plus support by parents for newcomers who stayed with us. Group meal contributions. And open meeting donations.

    • Thanks!
      So far we have:

      – ‘Old days’ (circa 1976-1977) approx $500+ for one kid in St. Petersburg, Florida
      – mid 1982 approx $2000+ for one kid in St. Petersburg, Florida
      – late 1983 approx $4700+ for one kid in Springfield, Virginia
      and $7000-8000+ in (year? location?)

  4. Susie Susie

    Initial fee in Marietta, GA (2221 Austell Rd) was $3500 for an in-town child. Out of town children paid way more. Remember they had 10 locations and 14 satellite offices. Multiply that $700,000 by at least 10. This does not include offshoots miller Newton opened such as KHK (Kids Helping Kids), Kids of Bergen County, and more. Not sure where the $35 fee came in. Many, like myself, got served Peanut Butter in a plastic sandwich baggie for torture. In Marietta, Wednesday night meals were at the host homes. For the children on peanut butter, they received no meals at night and no Po Folks on Sundays. If the host family home had no peanut butter, the child did not eat. I was on that “diet” for months…no jelly… no bread. I became emaciated, lost my fingernails, and developed cervical lump on the front side of my neck. To my understanding, some families were double and tripled billed, all the while they received government funding and the FBI investigated for embezzlement of medicaid funding to the tune of $950,000 So add that number to the millions.

    • Susie Susie

      Oh and we had 350-500 kids at any one given time.

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