Fundraising Fiasco Leaves Dance Team in Tears

Six months after a fundraiser, a Fort Worth dance team is still waiting for their cut of the check

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    A Fort Worth dance team turned to a fundraiser to raise money to help pay for a national competition in Las Vegas, but six months later, the trip is in jeopardy because the team is still waiting for its cut of the check. (Published Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014)

    A Tupperware fundraiser turned into a fiasco for members of a Fort Worth dance team because they say their company sales representative still has not paid them their portion of the proceeds.

    Members of DFW Dance Force in Fort Worth were raising money to attend a national competition in Las Vegas this June.

    Owner Lynn Nykaza said the cost of the trip is expensive.  Nykaza said on top of travel and food expenses for the team members and their families, the entry fees for the 14 girls, ranging from 6-years-old to 15-years-old, would be $2,200.

    To raise money to cover that fee, the girls started fundraising efforts last summer after Nykaza was contacted by Tupperware representative Tammy Spruell.

    “She came by the studio one day during the summer. We were closed, and she called my number and left me a voice mail.  I had been looking for a fundraiser at the time and I was like, ‘This was perfect timing,’ ” Nykaza said.

    In total, Nykaza said the girls sold about $2,000 worth of Tupperware. While Nykaza said she did get her studio’s portion of the commission from sales placed directly online through Tupperware, when it came time to get their cut from Spruell, she never gave it to them.

    “I’ve been going round and round and round with this lady and she keeps telling me she’s going to bring us our cut of the check.  It’s been six months now, I guess, and still haven’t received anything,” Nykaza said.

    “I feel horrible because we were saving that money to go to completions and everybody was looking forward to going and dancing,” said Kaci Ervin, 10, one of the students who sold Tupperware for the team. “It’s just rude.”

    “That’s not respectful to the world or this dance studio,” said Patricia Aguilar, 11, another student.

    Parents were upset as well.

    “It’s not fair to the girls, you know. It’s complete shock,” said Tia Sprunger, whose daughter Alexis sold Tupperware to family, friends and even Sprunger’s co-workers. “They worked hard. We worked hard.  It’s completely unfair.”

    After Nykaza said she got the runaround from Spruell, she called the Tupperware corporate office directly.

    “They told me that they’d call me when they got something resolved. And they said it would be three to five days business days. Well, it’s been a month now.  I’ve been calling them three times a week and they still haven’t helped me.

    That’s when Nykaza contacted NBC 5 Investigates Consumer Unit, who in turn reached out to Spruell and Tupperware.

    “It was an error on my part,” said Spruell.

    Spruell told NBC 5 she tried to send a check, but it may have gotten lost in the mail. She had another one waiting to give to Nykaza, but she was out of town.  Spruell also said she is no longer working for Tupperware.

    When NBC 5 contacted Tupperware, Kimberly Price, the global communications and public relations manager asked for questions to be submitted via email.  This was her response:

    Thank you for connecting me with Lynn.  Our Customer Care department has spoken with her and have (sic) resolved the remaining balance for her fundraiser.  It is our company policy that we do not comment on the questions you have listed below.

    Thank you for understanding, Kimberly

    For anyone planning a fundraiser, it’s best to research the company and check references the company’s representative.  Ask if the company and the representative delivered on their promises and if they’d be responsive in the event of a problem.  Also assure the fundraising company has clear written policies and procedures.  While an organization may be raising money, the more it sells, the more the company profits too.  So make sure it’s a good partnership.

    Nykaza said she’s learned this lesson and won’t fundraise through Tupperware again.

    The team is now working on other ways to raise money, and the girls are still practicing hard.  They’re not giving up on their dreams of competing in Las Vegas.

    Nykaza said did speak with Price, who apologized and said she would send a check for the team’s cut of the sales.

    “All I want is what the girls worked hard for,” she said.