AP Breaking News
Newspaper: Flora Family Foundation donated money to charity with ties to infamous cult
San Francisco Chronicle/2005-02-12
(02-12) 18:46 PST Menlo Park, Calif. (AP) --
The Flora Family Foundation, an heir to the HP fortune, gave $61,500 over the past three years to a Southern California charity with ties to an infamous evangelical sex cult, a newspaper reported Saturday.
The Menlo Park-based Flora Family Foundation made the donations to the Family Care Foundation, which has extensive links to the Family International, formerly known as the Children of God, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
But Flora Family Foundation President Stephen Toben said it would have never made the grants had it known about the connection.
The Flora Family Foundation, which was established by the family of HP co-founder William Hewlett and his wife, Flora, learned about the charity while searching for groups working on international development projects, Toben said.
The Family Care Foundation, based in Dulzura in San Diego County, has an impressive Web site and didn't disclose any cult ties on its tax forms, Toben said.
A Chronicle report published Feb. 6 found that all six of the Family Care Foundation's officers have links to the Family International, and according to former members, most of the "independent" projects getting foundation funds are run by members of the Family.
But Family Care Foundation Executive Director Larry Corley has denied any ties to the Family sect.
Started in the late 1960s by Oakland native David "Moses" Berg, the religious sect's blend of Christian witness and sexual freedom attracted tens of thousands of devotees in the 1970s. The cult made headlines with controversial practices, such as using sex to recruit new members and allowing sexual activity between children, teenagers and adults.