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Project November 2, 2023

At All Costs: Boys Town in 2023


Since an Oscar-winning movie in 1954 made Omaha’s Boys Town famous, Father Edward J. Flanagan’s storied home for youth has raised more and more money for needy kids. This project shows what donors aren’t told.

Sentimental appeals for charity on behalf of the youth placed at Boys Town have been big moneymakers over decades for one of America’s best-known charities. The youth home is one of the oldest, most well-financed nonprofits in the country.

But as residential homes elsewhere have shuttered amid allegations of abuse and profiteering, Boys Town has largely escaped scrutiny.

A special report by The Des Moines Register raises questions about the nonprofit’s fundraising, its executive compensation, and the safety of children placed in its care.


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