Posted on April 22, 2021

Group Given $87M Contract to Shelter Migrants Solicits Donations to Fly Families from Border

Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, April 16, 2021

A nonprofit organization that was given an $87 million federal contract to house migrant families temporarily in hotels is asking for donations to fly those families to their destinations across the country.

Spending any charitable donations could expose the organization, Family Endeavors, to legal problems while it is responsible for holding tens of thousands of children and families in Arizona and Texas over the next six months, according to two lawyers who are experts on government oversight matters.

Family Endeavors last month won an $87 million contract from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that other companies were not permitted to bid on. The deal mandated that the nonprofit organization would facilitate transportation of the families from the Border Patrol stations where they are held after being apprehended on the border to the hotels, as well as any emergency transportation from the hotel to medical facilities such as hospitals, and rides to airports or bus stations for families to travel once they are released into the country.

After being awarded the contract, the organization’s senior director, Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, posted on his personal LinkedIn account in April asking for public donations to cover the costs of families’ flights and bus fares from the hotels.


He shared a post from his employer, which refers to the three-star hotels that it is housing migrants in as “shelters” and did not mention that the organization had received a large contract to cover the 80,000 families expected to spend three nights each at the hotels.

“While many families have the financial resources to make it to the cities and communities of their intended destination, others are less fortunate. Should you wish to assist our shelter staff in securing travel arrangement for these families your financial contribution would be welcomed,” the Family Endeavors release states. “A donation to Endeavors is more than a tax-deductible charitable donation — your gift can help ease the strain on newly arrived migrant families. Donate today and help those seeking protection in our country.”

The organization recommends making a financial gift of $100 for a “land or air voucher” for one person, $325 to pay for a family of three, or $450 for a family of four. However, in most cases, families of two people show up at the border, so it is not clear why the organization is seeking four-person packages. Donors can also give $75 for a “travel resource backpack” that includes water, snacks, face masks, hand sanitizer, two adult shirts, two child shirts, two child toys, and a $25 Visa card for meals on the day of travel.

An attorney for the Project On Government Oversight, a nonpartisan organization that investigates corruption in government, told the Washington Examiner that soliciting public donations will open Family Endeavors to “liability.”


Family Endeavors responded to a request for comment from the Washington Examiner on Friday and said that the solicitation of donations was separate from its contracted duties.

“There is no provision in the agreement to provide transportation of families beyond the hub, and no public funds are being used to do so {snip},” the email read.