DES MOINES, Iowa — Last week, we told you about Urban Horizons, a Des Moines charity going door-to-door, soliciting donations. Urbandale Police suspended the organization’s Peddling Permit, saying they had questions about how the money was being used and how Urban Horizons was representing itself.
We now know Urban Horizons affiliated itself with Youth Emergency Services and Shelter, a decades old center for abused children.
“Apparently they’d said they were out raising money on our behalf, which obviously wasn’t true,” said Stephen Quirk, Chief Executive Officer for YESS.
YESS provides housing and other services for children ranging in age from birth to 17-years-old.
Quirk says he was notified a week ago that someone, claiming to be associated with YESS was soliciting donations.
“We do know of one individual who made a $500 contribution.”
But that money didn’t go to YESS. Urbandale Police suspect it went to Urban Horizons, an organization that claims to have offices in a dilapidated home on 14th Place in Des Moines. We knocked on the door, but no one answered. We also called the President of Urban Horizons, Robert McGregor Sr., but he declined an interview. A volunteer for the non-profit told us he gave the donations he collected to McGregor, who told him the money would be used to turn the “office” into a shelter for at-risk youth.
Quirk says that’s especially disturbing, because YESS is expanding.
“We’re in the midst of a capital campaign.”
Quirk doubts the Urban Horizon’s sales pitch is a coincidence. He says it’s misrepresentation and fraud at its worst.
“This is taking money from children and that certainly bothers me a great deal.”
Anyone who contributed to Urban Horizons or has information on the organization is asked to contact Urbandale Police.