The Bend-based nonprofit organization run by troubled state House candidate Amanda La Bell has suspended operations amid resignations by board members over the way the group handles its finances.
La Bell ended her House campaign in September after state officials found she had falsely claimed a college degree she never received.
The website for La Bell’s The Rebecca Foundation says it is a “nonprofit cloth diaper lending program with local chapters across the United States, Canada and Mexico.”
As of Tuesday, the group’s website said it was ceasing services.
“It comes with great sadness that our foundation has recently undergone many abrupt changes,” according to a statement on the website. “Due to the sensitive nature of said changes, we have had to place all programs on hold until further notice.”
In a letter to volunteers with The Rebecca Foundation obtained by The Bulletin, six board members resigned, effective immediately.
“We can no longer assure our stakeholders that the foundation meets the standards of operational ethics required to be successful,” the letter says. “Given this information, we have made the painful decision to separate from The Rebecca Foundation. This letter serves as notice of our resignations, effective immediately.”
Stephanie Fisher of Durham, North Carolina, one of the board members who resigned, confirmed the letter’s content. She said she had become uncomfortable with the way donations were handled.
“It’s a matter of financial transparency,” Fisher said. “I didn’t feel I could continue with the mission of the group, unfortunately, so I bowed out.”
La Bell and The Rebecca Foundation did not immediately return a call and emails seeking comment.
The Rebecca Foundation website had removed any names under its listing of “Board of Directors.”
La Bell recently withdrew as the Working Families Party candidate for House District 54, which includes Bend, after it was disclosed she falsely claimed on the official state Voters Pamphlet that she graduated from Valdosta State University in Georgia. In a later statement to supporters, La Bell also disclosed incidents involving legal issues prior to moving to Bend.
Democrats had rallied to La Bell’s campaign after withdrawing support from the party’s nominee, Bend city Councilor Nathan Boddie, over allegations of sexual harassment. La Bell was endorsed by Sen. Jeff Merkley and Gov. Kate Brown, who withdrew their support after the information about La Bell’s Voters Pamphlet statement came to light. La Bell suspended her campaign, but remains on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The Rebecca Foundation website says it promotes the use of cloth diapers as “a sustainable alternative to single-use diapers” but allows chapters to provide disposable diapers if there is demand or in times of emergency. Its website says it is 100 percent volunteer-run and is a member of the National Diaper Bank Network.
— Reporter: 541-640-2750, firstname.lastname@example.org