Monday, February 25, 2013

It Is True: Still Another Cancer Charity Caught

by Gary Snyder


Over the past year and a half, NI has identified dozens of cancer charities that have abuse their fiscal responsibilities. The Chronicle of Philanthropy has done an investigative piece on yet another one

The Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation, its goal is to “assist children under the age of 18 and their families who are battling the hardships of a cancer diagnosis.” Greg Anderson started the charity and noted, “we take pride in the fact that our sponsors’ donations will be spent on charitable programs as opposed to fundraising or management costs,” Mr. Anderson said in a statement posted on the charity’s Web site last February. The Web site and the attorney general’s top-10 list state that the group devoted more than 81 percent of its $11.9-million budget in 2011 to program services. But as has been the case of so many of the cancer charities the claims do not match any critical analysis.

On its Web site, the children’s cancer charity says its work focuses on three main programs: camp scholarships, financial aid, and a project distributing toys to children in hospitals. 
But of the cash it raised from donors, the group spent less than 15 percent on that work, according to its tax returns from 2011, the last year available.

It spent more than five times as much, roughly $3.7-million, on businesses that perform mailings, telemarketing, and other services. Mr. Anderson told The Chronicle that much of that money paid for the companies’ efforts to educate the public about cancer and his approach to battling the disease, which he said is a key part of his groups’ missions.

The bulk of what the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation counted as program services in 2011 is based on the value it attributed to two shipments of medicines, totaling $7.1-million, that it says it received from other nonprofits and then sent overseas.

Critics say the group devotes little cash to what it describes as its main programs. It appears efficient, they say, thanks to loose accounting rules that govern how nonprofits record donated medicines in their financial statements and a longstanding accounting principle that allows the charity to include some of its spending on activities that involve both fundraising and education as program costs.

“These groups spend very little money providing care to cancer sufferers,” Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch, says of Mr. Anderson’s U.S. charities, to which his group gives “F” ratings. “Donors would be wasting their charitable dollars if they gave to these groups.”




Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics, Newsweek.com, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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