For a period of time, Tim Gilmore was tasked with raising money for Long Beach Poly High School. A decade later, the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) and the high school are still trying to distance themselves from Gilmore and his organization.
Gilmore founded the Long Beach Poly Alumni Association, Inc. in late 2010 and has been a consistent presence on Poly’s campus and at community events ever since, soliciting donations while purporting to be a representative of the school.
Within the past three months, the school has posted multiple notices to its website and social media accounts with a strongly-worded rebuke of Gilmore and his operation.
“Tim Gilmore has made claims that he runs and operates the LB Poly Alumni Association and the LB Poly Alumni and Community Association in order to raise funds for various purposes to benefit LB Poly and its students. Be advised that Tim Gilmore does not operate with LBUSD Board approval as required by California Education Code section 51521,” reads the statement, in part. “He does not work with the Poly administration, plays no role in helping Poly with any of its programs. The LBUSD strongly advises against making any charitable contributions through these organizations or through him.”
Gilmore’s connection to Poly began more than a decade ago. According to Shawn Ashley–who was a Poly principal for 15 years before his departure in the summer of 2011–Gilmore approached him with an idea to start an alumni association at Poly with the goal of raising money for the school.
“Here’s a man standing in front of me, I’m not going to pay him anything, and he tells me he’ll be the alumni president and try to raise money,” Ashley recalled. “So I thought I had nothing to lose on this deal. At least so I thought.”
According to Ashley, he allowed Gilmore to use a vacant office on campus in order to begin his fundraising efforts. Their agreement, Ashley says, was that Gilmore would keep 10 percent of whatever he raised, with the other 90 percent going to the school’s ASB fund. As it turns out, that arrangement never materialized.
“He contributed nothing, so he never got his 10 percent,” Ashley stated. “We never saw a dime when I was there.”
Gilmore doesn’t dispute that there were no donations made to the school, but says that a lack of institutional support was the root cause.
“Yeah, we didn’t give the school any money, but they never really worked with me and got on board, and they never recognized me as alumni president,” said Gilmore. “They’re telling the truth, but at the same time they made it difficult for me to really do anything.”
After Ashley’s departure, new co-principals Joe Carlson and Victor Jarels met with Gilmore and formally ended his association with the school in 2012.
“Even before I was there he was supposed to have been let go, but he persisted,” Carlson recalled. “He would show up on campus and at games and tell people he was representing the school. Victor and I did meet with him again and shared the agreement that Shawn had with him that he could be let go at any time. We repeated that, and he still persisted, and at some point the district got involved. But the bottom line is, he had no status with the school, he knew he had no status with the school, and he continued to say he represented the school.”
Two years later, Gilmore attempted to organize a golf tournament to raise money for a new athletic complex at Poly, but the event never took place after former LBUSD Superintendent Chris Steinhauser posted the following statement on Poly’s website on April 22, 2014:
“We have recently been informed that there is a Golf Tournament being planned by the Long Beach Poly High Alumni Association, stating that the tournament is to raise funds to build a new sports and education complex on the LBPHS campus. This project has NOT been approved by the LBUSD School Board. At one point LB Poly HS formally appointed Tim Gilmore as President of the Alumni Association but it ended that relationship in 2012. Any activities of the Alumni Association and/or Tim Gilmore are not authorized or condoned by Long Beach Poly High School and the Long Beach Unified School District.”
The LBUSD and Poly High School declined to provide any additional comments for this story.
Though he is actually a graduate of nearby St. Anthony High School in the Class of ‘85, Gilmore said that many of his friends had gone to Poly, which is what sparked his affinity for the school. He also began to get involved with reunion and alumni groups on Facebook, and is currently a frequent poster to one of the most popular LB Poly Alumni pages.
Even with the school district’s public statements opposing his efforts, Gilmore has persisted, and is continuing his attempts to fundraise. According to Gilmore, he has been in contact with former Jackrabbit football star and five-time NFL Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey within the last year regarding a multi-million dollar donation for a new weight room at Poly.
“The last time I talked to (Casey), I told him I dropped off all the paperwork at his mom’s house,” Gilmore said. “I told him what I was trying to do. I’m not going to make any money off this, I just want to see a weight room, I want to see something happen here.”
While Gilmore continues to seek donations, his organization is no longer in good standing with the State of California. According to the Attorney General’s website, the Long Beach Poly Alumni Association, Inc. has been delinquent on its registration since May 15, 2016. Based on the five annual filings made by the organization, the Alumni Association generated a combined $15,500 in gross revenue from 2011-14. Gilmore did not provide specific accounting details–estimating around $10,000 in revenue for the organization–but said that everything he’d raised had gone towards his operating expenses.
Gilmore did point to his involvement in community service events in the Poly area, including food drives, backpack giveaways, and others. In 2019, Gilmore received a Certificate of Recognition from Sixth District Councilman and Poly legend Dee Andrews, thanking him for his contributions at one such event. Gilmore also says he recently raised money for a commemorative star to honor former Olympian and Poly grad John Rambo.
Nevertheless, the school district has been adamant about its disassociation with Gilmore, and Poly has echoed that position. That’s caused Gilmore to be a topic of discussion in several comment sections on Facebook, with users frequently posting screenshots of the school’s announcement under his posts. When asked if he’d thought about giving up his efforts in the face of so much opposition and criticism, Gilmore remained steadfast.
“I thought about it, but I thought if I buckle down to these folks, the school district or whatever, and give up, what’s going to be the aftermath of it?” Gilmore said. “There’s just a lot of things that need to be done, and the people that criticize a lot of times they really haven’t done anything and they don’t know what’s going on. I say, ‘You have a right to your opinion. Everybody does.’”
Story image: Tim Gilmore (right) standing with former Sixth District Councilman and Poly legend Dee Andrews in 2019. Photo courtesy: Facebook.