Only 1.5 percent of the million-dollar-plus revenue from UFF-Humana’s collection of used clothing is put toward development projects in Africa.
The self-described humanitarian aid association, located in Denmark, has made its financial records publicly available for the first time ever, but only for the years 2014 and 2015.
The release was in response to criticisms from the Danish media over the group’s secrecy.
UFF-Humana’s revenue for 2014-15 was 17.2 million Danish kroner (nearly $2.5 million), derived mainly from the used clothing sales. The group now has 915 clothes donation bins throughout that country, where it collected 1,696 tons of goods in 2015.
In the two-year period, UFF-Humana allocated just 1.5 million kroner ($217,000) for aid programmes in Africa, equaling about 8.5 percent of the group’s total revenue. But most of that aid donation came via sources other than clothing sales, such as Denmark’s national lottery and cash gifts from donors, which reduces the portion coming from clothing sales to 1.5% of UFF-Humana’s proceeds. Most of the money raised goes to cover staff wages and collection costs.
These ratios, unusual when compared with most nonprofits, have caught the attention of Robert Hinnerskov, Secretary General of ISOBRO, a national umbrella organisation for fundraising charities in Denmark.
“When I look at the accounts, I notice that a very small fraction of the actual wholesale revenue [from clothing sales] actually seems to be used for development aid projects,” Hinnerskov told Denmark’s Radio24syv.
In 2014 and 2015, UFF-Humana donated funds to five projects in Zimbabwe and Guinea-Bissau — all overseen by its parent organisation, ‘The Federation for Associations connected to the International Humana People to People Movement’, headquartered in Zimbabwe, Africa.
According to Denmark’s State Prosecutor for Serious Economic Crime, the Federation is run by the controversial Tvind Teachers Group.
The Teachers Group (TG), the controlling body of the broader Tvind organisation, is widely considered to be a political cult involved in financial criminal activities. Five TG leaders, including founder Mogens Amdi Petersen, are Interpol fugitives wanted in their native Denmark in connection with a multimillion-dollar tax-fraud and embezzlement scheme.
UFF-Humana denies that it gives money to the TG. But UFF-Humana is listed in the ‘Members’ section of the Federation’s website, and records show a membership fee of 68,124 kroner ($9,700) was paid to the parent organisation in 2015.
Moreover, TvindAlert’s investigations reveal that all of the nonprofit’s board members are in the TG: Else Jepsen, Carsten Hansen, Tove Pedersen, Anne Fritzen and Jesper Wohlert. CEO, Else Hanne Henriksen, and collection manager, Kaj Pihl, are also TG members.
Despite all this, UFF-Humana annually receives about half a million kroner ($71,000) from the Danish government.
‘UFF’ is a Danish acronym for ‘Ulandshjælp fra Folk til Folk’, which means ‘development aid from people to people.’