Danzer said she became friends with Manley and Sydney while supporting her own niece through cancer treatment. Danzer’s niece also passed away, but she was drawn to the idea of forming an organization because of the mission. The group formed in 2018 after a young girl named Sydney died from kidney cancer. Her mom, Dana Manley, told the public she wanted to keep her daughter’s legacy alive by continuing a toy drive started by her late daughter. The group also helped answer kids’ wish lists. “My niece was in the hospital over the holidays,” said Danzer. “We understand the importance of having these toys. And so not being able to do that is hard because it’s the kids — that’s why we all got involved to begin with.”
The letter was signed by Lillie Danzer, the group’s interim president. Danzer recently took the responsibility after learning her name was still on the bank account that was depleted. Danzer did not know there was trouble until the bank called. The post goes on to say that Dana Manley and her husband Matt both willingly and freely signed resignation letters acknowledging the reasons why the board asked for their resignation.
“In the middle of March I was notified by the bank that that account had gone negative and was about to go into collections,” said Danzer. “Which is what brought an investigation by the board.” The group posted on April 19, “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the process of dissolution of SydneySoldiersAlways has begun. The decision was made by The Board of Directors after being made aware of the mismanagement of funds and other violations of the by-laws set forth by the Foundation by one of its founders, Dana Manley.”
Since Sydney’s Soldiers Always posted an announcement, other groups have also addressed the issue with their followers as well. The president of the group Misfit Toys Car Club posted a 16-minute video on Facebook apologizing to supporters who may have made a donation to Sydney’s because of the club’s recommendation. “Unfortunately, at this point, we haven’t heard back from them, so we’re not really sure where that stands,” said Danzer.
The Wentzville Police Department confirms that it had contact with the board and has since relayed information to the Missouri Attorney General’s office because the investigation spans at least three counties. The AG makes it a policy to neither confirm nor deny an investigation. Danzer wouldn’t say how much money has been taken because she said she doesn’t know. She believes around $200,000 had likely been collected through the organization’s short existence, but that could include the value of in-kind donations, too, and she doesn’t believe all of that money was mismanaged.
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