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Sophia’s Heart Foundation: Not a Scam

February 16, 2009

If you’re familiar with this blog, you will know that I do try and present information as fairly as possible.

Someone close to Danny Gokey has contacted me to set the record straight about Sophia’s Heart Foundation. And obviously, I’m going to post it.

I have spoken at length with to this person and they check out. I also have every reason to believe they are legitimate. Obviously, as I said before, I am not intentionally trying to take down Danny Gokey or the charity he established. I just felt the facts needed to get out there, which is why I wrote the other posts in the first place.

If you read through this blog, you’ll see all sorts of things, but whenever I’m doing an “expose” of sorts, I try to let the facts speak for themselves. And I’m still glad I drew attention to this in the first place because it would have eventually come out somewhere down the line. 

This is the email I received. None of it has been altered. I have been promised the financials for Sophia’s Heart Organization will be posted soon and these numbers are accurate. It should also be noted that Danny Gokey has not been employed with FBIM since July 2008. It was also during this period (before December) that he spent the majority of his time in Nashville and got to work on starting Sophia’s Heart.

This e-mail has nothing to do with the church, simply an account of Danny’s history and how the foundation started and what has occurred.

First and most importantly, I know for certain, the foundation has no direct ties to the church FBIM. The church has never received any money in regards to the foundation and the address was only used as a temporary mail drop because Danny’s home town is in Milwaukee (he did not want to use his home address and he did not have an official location set up for the foundation at the time). His brother in-law Ivan Santiago (his wife is Sophia’s sister) lives in TN, he is involved in the non-profit, and that is currently the home office of the foundation.

A brief history of Danny in relation to outreach programs and the beginning of the foundation: Early on Danny was involved with the Milwaukee Public Schools, I believe he spent a semester working with the youth. Danny also worked with Journey House Youth Center, a non-profit working with inner city youth for a couple years. Danny also helped with a ministry called Inner City Impact and donated every Saturday in his time and finances to help families in need. Him and Sophia have always had some type of involvement in youth ministries.

Danny worked for FBIM full time from 2003 – 2008 until Sophia died at which time Danny stepped down and left his position. Since Sophia died Danny has never received a pay-check from FBIM. From what I have heard, FBIM did help pay for Sophia’s funeral in the amount of $7,000. Friends and family helped with other costs related to the funeral. After Sophia passed away Danny received a check in the amount of $39,000 as a life insurance policy for Sophia that he never knew he was going to receive [from her work]. When he received the money (I believe that was in August of 2008), that is when Danny decided to start the foundation as a memorial for his wife and donated part of the insurance he received to other non-profits as well. Out of the $39,000 roughly $6,000 was donated to various non-profits and charitable organizations. Around $25,000 (or more) of that money was used to help assist in starting up Sophia’s Heart Foundation. Out of the $25,000, money has been used for legal fees, IRS fees, consulting fees, an event to promote the foundation (which provided gifts to all the children in Sophia’s life), salaries, and money going to the various programs listed on the website. And when I say salaries, I believe Dan has only taken about $1,500 of that money as salary since it started and he has been doing it full time since. The non-profit has raised about $4,000 from donations since it’s conception and 100% of all that money has either been used directly to support children and families in various need or not used at all (which will be used to support the various programs the foundation offers). All startup costs have been paid for out of Danny’s own pocket.

I am sure the foundation will be releasing specific statements regarding the money that has come in and gone out, I know it has every intention of being completely transparent. This is only an estimation of what has occurred, but I am confident when the numbers come out you will find I am very, very close to the actual.

So as of right now, Sophia’s Heart is a legitimate, non-profit charitable organization.

SOPHIA’S HEART IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH FAITH BUILDERS INTERNATIONAL MINISTRIES.

As always I promise to post any other information I receive on either Sophia’s Heart Foundation or FBIM.

Ah yes, FBIM…thank you for mentioning me in your sermon this afternoon. I’m touched. Deeply touched. How did I find out? Oh, well, it seems there are already DANNY GOKEY FANS staking out his church.

Oh, some things will never, ever change. (Taken from IDF)

But after reading the article..i must say that…. 
The VFTW article is CRAP!!! My husband and I visited Danny’s church this morning. Not the Milwaukee location….but the Beloit location that the article talks about. We didn’t even know this church existed until I saw Danny and Jamar on Idol. Did research and found that there was a location here by us. So we decided to visit because we’ve been looking for a home church and from what I read on their website..it seemed to be exactly what we have been looking for in a church. And guess what?? We’re gonna keep going. After visiting this morning, we know this is our church. I am so disgusted that someone would go as low as to do this. 
We met Pastor Pruitt…he’s a great man. The building is not falling apart……geezz louise!!! Now I know why pastor mentioned a blog this morning. And if i remember correctly he said….’it’s not getting Danny down’ I wold have to get the CD to know exactly what he said because I didn’t know what he was talking about until just now so I didn’t pay attention to his exact words. Ugggg…. someone is very very bitter! He spoke very highly of Danny as did every person we spoke to this morning. 
You guys don’t worry and don’t believe this stuff. It happens every year. They dig up dirt on contestants. But guess what??? There was no dirt to dig up on Danny so they had to attack his church. Bad bad bad. 
Don’t believe it for a minute.

Yes. You were just “looking” for a “home church” and heard about this one on American Idol because Danny Gokey and Jamar Rogers went there! Look how perfectly that worked out. 

Wow. I don’t think Stoner J’s fans were hitting his family’s church in Rockwell until oh, April? Maybe even May. 

Tithe away, sweetheart, tithe away!

American Idol is good for business at Faith Builders.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Vicky permalink
    May 15, 2009 7:07 pm

    I just heard Danny’s exit interview from AmIdol with Ryan Seacrest and it moved me to tears. Danny is such an amazing person…I personally think he got robbed on Idol, but that’s that and it seems Danny is fine with that. When I heard Ryan saying he’d like to help out with Sophia’s Heart Foundation, I decided to check it out myself and – wow! It is really a beautiful thing and an inspiration. I will definitedly include Sophia’s HEart in my yearly donations cuz I know how much good Danny can do, especially now that he is loved by millions around the world. Go Danny!

    And, Danny, I hope you are finding your calm. You have been through a really emotional year of highs and lows.

  2. Lori Long permalink
    May 15, 2009 1:35 pm

    I just wanted to say that I LOVE DANNY! He is awesome and I know that GOD is going to bless this AWESOME man. He touched my life in a positive way. He is an insperation to alot. DANNY, I love you and I will be the first in line to buy your album. You are awesom!!!!!
    Lori
    Tennessee

  3. March 13, 2009 3:05 pm

    Danny Gokey is a blessing and so is faith builders. The opinions of the people who “came to the church” are being stated because they dont understand the phrase of “Give and it shall be given back to you” Pastor Pruitt has been obedient to God for years. No one knows the stuggles and thepains he went through to get to where he is now. People keep mentioning that Faith Builders is the “money church!” If you want to go to a broke church that is going nowhere where nobody pays their tithes then that is up to you and see how far God will bless you, but don’t critisize a church that has FAITHFUL givers who also understand that Give and it shall be given back to you!

  4. spinshack permalink
    February 22, 2009 2:29 pm

    Lori is skeering me.

  5. InTheCHi permalink
    February 18, 2009 7:19 pm

    I voted for Danny!!!!

  6. lori permalink
    February 18, 2009 3:29 am

    I saw Danny for the first time tonight and was blown away…Satan has servants who will try to keep the truth and the light out of the media, but God is BIGGER. I don’t check people out on the internet, however, I typed in Danny’s name to find out about his Sophia and came across this site. What a blessing Sophia was to kids…and as a teacher I am thankful Danny is carrying on her ministry and his own…my husband and I received news today which was disheartening, and Danny totally lifted up our spirits. In fact, after years of watching, it was the first time we ever voted on American Idol!

  7. maxhate permalink
    February 17, 2009 2:42 pm

    WELL DONE.

  8. spinshack permalink
    February 16, 2009 10:28 am

    Really good work investigating both sides. No need to cover truth for humorous headlines.

    Seems that this charity was established with positive and good intentions, but that is separate from the church organization situation.

  9. February 16, 2009 3:21 am

    Nice work! Keep digging 🙂

  10. Thomas D. permalink
    February 16, 2009 2:58 am

    I like Dan a lot and it is good to see that this is indeed a legit endeavor.

    TopIdol, it is good to see a person with integrity (yourself) one who will warn people of religions and organizations that do take advantage of people. THAT IS NEEDED! Yet when truth(s) is presented you are genuine enough to admit that maybe this is indeed an organization that is legit.

    I HOPE that Sophia’s Heart Foundation does so well and that no shame is brought upon the organization from the mishandling of funds.

    I still cannot dismiss the church though…..that church to me is still fishy and weird.

    • TopIdol permalink
      February 16, 2009 2:59 am

      Yeah…I don’t think I’m done with the church just yet 🙂

    • Clark Bucher permalink
      May 14, 2009 4:43 pm

      I love Danny. I think he is a hero in every respect. To do what he has done with his life and to make the sacrifices he’s made so far, is nothing but spectacular. I have nothing but the utmost respect for him and think he is the absolute role model for every american..,male or female. He’s a man’s man. Danny your the best!!! Clark Bucher

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