Thanks to a generous contribution from nursing job board NurseRecruiter, last month we awarded our first ever nursing scholarship to a promising future nurse who was raised in a cult that routinely violated the basic human rights of children. 

The recipient of the scholarship, who has requested to remain anonymous, impressed us with her incredible accomplishments, resilience and unwavering commitment despite the many obstacles she faced. Here is part of her story from her application:

I left the cult in 2010. I didn’t know how to drive. I only had a GED. I couldn’t read fluently till I was 18 years old and could hardly read at all by the age of 12, those in the cult told me it was okay because I was dyslexic. I struggled for the last 8 years to get my associates (I graduated with honors, and currently hold a 3.68 GPA), get my drivers license, build new good friendships and learn to trust people again. I’m now 30. But I’ve struggled quite a lot financially through nursing school. I’m alone. I only have one relative who lives in the US and they live in a different city than me. During this Christmas vacation while my classmates are getting manicures and pedicures and relaxing before the next big semester and state boards, I’m literally picking up 14 hour shifts over my winter break hoping to make enough so that hopefully I won’t have to work too many days during the last semester of nursing, because all my instructors and classmates are telling me that the last semester it is too hard to work during this portion and then the preceptorship. But I have no choice. I picked up 85 hours of work over the next fifteen days even though all I need is a good night sleep and a vacation. And I applied for 51 scholarships, I haven’t heard back from anyone. My car is too old to make the trip to Phoenix to see my sister so she is going to drive down here and pick me up so I can have a few days of Christmas at least. I know all this will be over soon. I’ll graduate in May, pass the NCLEX in July and be working at a nice hospital by August, but I am so desperate now and overwhelmed by my need for help.

This promising future nurse received a $1000 nursing scholarship funded by NurseRecruiter and an additional $500 scholarship grant from the Julia McNeil Memorial Scholarship program. We are delighted to have been able to make a small contribution to help her become a nurse and we hope that she is the first of many future nurses we are able to help.

If you or or someone you know was raised in a cult and wants to become a nurse, please let them know about our nursing scholarship.  

We started the year with a plan to revive Safe Passage Foundation and so far we’ve made significant progress. In May and June, director Steven Levithan, former director Juliana Buhring and many others launched Facebook fundraising campaigns that raised over $7800 for Safe Passage Foundation.  So far this year we have raised about $21,496 which is a significant increase over the $2820 we raised the previous year.

In August, a generous donor made a $10,000 donation dedicated to our scholarship program in memory of Safe Passage Foundation founder Julia McNeil. Thanks to our generous supporters, this year we have been able to disburse 21 Emergency Aid Fund grants totaling over $8100.   Nearly all our Emergency Aid Fund grants this year were disbursed to provide food and shelter to adults born or raised in cults as well as to children of those raised in cults. It is heartbreaking how close to being homeless many of us are but we are happy that we were able to prevent it in a few cases.

I would literally be without a home without you guys, [I] can’t thank y’all enough.  Thanks very much SPF for having made sure I had a house and food these last months.   – Message from an SPF client. November 3, 2018.

We were also able to revive the scholarship program.  In August, we disbursed 11 $500 scholarship grants and we plan to disburse more next semester.    We have yet to receive any applicants for our nursing scholarship funded by NurseRecruiter.  If you know someone raised in a cult who wants to become a nurse, please let them know about our nursing scholarship.

How You Can Help

None of our success this year would have been possible without help from our donors, volunteers and supporters who have been very generous with their time and money.  To keep the momentum going we need your help.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us and check back for more specific volunteer opportunities we’ll post here and elsewhere.

If you are interested in fundraising, one of the best ways you can help is to start a Facebook fundraiser benefitting Safe Passage Foundation.  If you need ideas, here are some previous successful Facebook fundraisers:

Here our latest financial reports.  As is evident, we now run a very lean and efficient operation but we are absolutely committed to making it even more efficient.  Our company sponsor, MadLab LLC (founded by directors Robert Gentel and Peter Frouman) funds all the operational costs so other donors can rest assured that 100% of their donations will go directly to providing scholarships, emergency aid and other assistance to people raised in cults.

Over the past 4 years (April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2018), Safe Passage Foundation has disbursed 28 college scholarship grants totaling $14,015 and 24 emergency aid grants totaling $13,128. During that period, Safe Passage Foundation received $35,597 in donations from over 40 donors and donations from current and former directors totaled nearly 50% of total donations.

Our operating expenses have averaged about $172 per month and about 23% of donations received. While the percentage of donations spent on operating expenses may seem high, we expect it to decrease significantly as donations increase and we are committed to reducing overhead and maximizing operational efficiency. Our corporate sponsor, MadLab LLC (founded by director Robert Gentel), has pledged to cover all operating expenses so other donors can be assured that 100% of their donations will go directly to providing resources and support to those raised in cults.

During the fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2018, Safe Passage Foundation was mostly inactive and did not disburse any grants. As the fiscal year ended, we started working on reviving Safe Passage Foundation and during the current fiscal year (which began April 1, 2018), have disbursed $975 in emergency aid grants.

Have a look at our books, below you will find the yearly report for the fiscal year ending March 31 as well as the monthly reports for April and May since. Going forward we will continue to publish our books regularly.

SPF Annual Financial Report March 31, 2018

SPF Monthly Financial Report, April, May 2018

Do you want to be a nurse or do you know someone who wants to be a nurse or continue their nursing education? If so, you’ll want to know all about our new scholarship for nursing majors.

Today, we are proud to announce that (founded by SPF director Robert Gentel) has committed $1000/year to help fund a new Safe Passage Foundation scholarship grant for nursing majors.

To apply for the nursing scholarship, please visit the Julia McNeil Memorial Scholarship page and press the Apply button. The eligibility requirements for the nursing scholarship are the same as those for our other scholarships with the additional requirement of being enrolled in or admitted to a nursing degree program.  We will also consider applicants enrolled in a pre-nursing program if they can demonstrate that they are committed to enrolling in nursing school and becoming a nurse.  If you wish to apply as a pre-nursing student, please complete the application and then use our contact form to send us a brief personal statement about your plans to become a nurse and enroll in nursing school.

We would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to everyone who organized and attended the special charity dinner event tonight at Il San Pietro Di Positano.  Thanks to your generous support, we raised over $10,000 for Safe Passage Foundation which will enable us to greatly expand the Julia McNeil Memorial Scholarship program and replenish the Safe Passage Foundation Emergency Aid Fund.

Special thanks to:



Safe Passage Foundation is expanding its college scholarship program
Safe Passage Foundation is expanding its college scholarship program

This month, Safe Passage Foundation will be awarding 10 $500 college scholarship grants to individuals born and/or raised in cults. In January 2014, we also awarded 3 $500 scholarship grants. The 13 $500 grants SPF will award in 2014 is more than triple the originally planned amount of 4 $500 grants.

Do you know someone born and/or raised in a cult who could use some help paying for college? If so, please encourage them to apply for a Julia McNeil Memorial Scholarship grant from Safe Passage Foundation.

If you would like to help expand the scholarship program and enable SPF to award even more scholarship grants in 2015, please consider donating to Safe Passage Foundation. We accept donations by credit card, check and Paypal and we even accept Bitcoin.

stacey-paul-rugelyStacey Paul Rugely was born into the Children of God on February 12, 1982 in Sannois, Val-d’Oise, France. After leaving the cult with his family in the early 1990s, he started a new life in the United States but continued to travel the world to work on various art and film projects. Born into a family of musicians, he was passionate about music and in the mid-2000s started a band named Oplexicon.

In April 2014, he became ill and died in Yerevan, Armenia.

Safe Passage Foundation is raising funds to help Stacy’s family bring him home from Armenia and lay him to rest.

Safe Passage Foundation has made an Emergency Aid Fund grant of $250 to Rugely’s relatives to help cover the estimated $15000 in costs. With your support, we can make additional grants to cover more of the costs. As of May 19, 2014, a total of $4610 has been raised (including $4145 raised by Rugely’s relatives on GiveForward).

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Image from the petition to cancel the Jeremy Spencer tour
Image from the petition to cancel the Jeremy Spencer tour

Safe Passage Foundation was recently contacted by several abuse survivors who were dismayed to learn that the man who sexually assaulted them when they were children would be touring the United States and raising money (including on Kickstarter) to produce a new album.

On behalf of these survivors, and in consideration of the extensively documented abuse Jeremy Spencer has been credibly accused of, Safe Passage Foundation created a petition calling for the cancellation of this tour and fundraiser.

Warning: The remainder of this article contains graphic descriptions of child abuse and may be disturbing for some readers.

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The mission of Safe Passage Foundation is to ensure:

  • That minors within cults or high demand organizations are protected from abuse and exploitation and that their rights are respected and protected.
  • That those who choose to leave a cult or high demand organization have a support structure throughout the transitional period.
  • That those who violate children’s human rights are held accountable for their crimes and face justice

Safe Passage Foundation has adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as the statement of its guiding philosophy.