Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Can Livestrong Survive Overcome Lance Armstrong's Deceptions?

by Gary Snyder

Lance Armstrong's serial deceptions nearly buried Livestrong.

Doug Ulman, CEO and president of the Livestrong Foundation, had just received the inevitable news he had been dreading for months: The United States Anti-Doping Agency's long-awaited and damning report, which concluded once and for all that Lance Armstrong, the cancer charity's founder and chairman, was guilty of doping during his legendary cycling career,  he said 'We're not going to defend him anymore. " 

Since late 2012, the once high-flying charity--which has raised some $500 million over the years to help 2.5 million patients, caretakers, and survivors get access to services such as fertility preservation, clinical-trial matching, and insurance assistance--has lost some of its biggest sponsors, including Nike and RadioShack. Revenue fell to $38.1 million in 2012, from $46.8 million the previous year, and it continued to fall throughout 2013. Last year, 13 of Livestrong's 100 employees resigned. Patients served dropped by 2,000 with net income falling off of the charts in 2013.

It would take Armstrong another three months to deliver his apology to the staff.

The vitriol was apparent. Livestrong was besieged following Armstrong's admission, with nasty calls rolling in to the patient help line regularly. "We had callers who were like, 'You guys are no good. You guys shouldn't be around,' " remembers Sarah Gómez Wauters, who connects patients with Livestrong's services. "The worst thing that happened, though," she adds, nervously, "and I don't know if I should be telling you this, but, someone sent us a box of cut-up wristbands."

Livestrong has an astonishing $107 million in assets, a figure so large critics have pounced on Livestrong for stashing it away. Now, that decision is looking remarkably prescient. As Ken Berger, president and CEO of the charity watchdog group Charity Navigator, puts it, "That war chest is going to help them weather this difficult time."

Will the agency survive with such a checkered past. The eternal optimist Ulman is seeking partnerships, redesigning internal tech tools, supporting the disenchanted staff...all toward fulfilling Livestrong's mission.

With an admirable mission and a steep challenge, let's wish him well. (source)



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: Charity Navigator, Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio (NPR), Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), “Betrayal”, (a movie), NBC (on Charity Fraud…TBD), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Marie Claire, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, Charity Navigator, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, Board Room Insider, USA Today Topics, Accountants News, Newsweek.com, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times, Portfolio Magazine, The Virgin Islands Daily News, NANKAI (China) BUSINESS REVIEW, National Religious Broadcasters newsletter, The Charity Governance Blog, American Chronicle, Palm Beach Post, Detroit Free Press, Oakland Press, Nonprofit World, Socially Responsible Business Forum, PNNOnline, Ohio Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Good Practice Guide, Nonprofit Startup Guide, Nonprofit Blog, National Coalition of Homeless Newsletter, Finance and Administration Roundtable Newsletter, MichiganNonprofit.com, CORP! Magazine, Crain’s Michigan Nonprofit, ncrp.org, PhilanTopic, Nashville Free Press, Nonprofit Law Blog, Seniors World Chronicle, Carnegie Reporter, Assoc. of Certified Fraud Examiners Examiner, msnbc.com, Worchester (MA) Telegram and Gazette, Carnegie Corporation of America, EO Tax Journal, Wikipedia: Non-profit Organizations; Parent: Wise Austin, Accountants News, Veterans Today, Answers.com, Far-roundtable, #Nonprofit Report, nonprofithelpnews, nonprofit news; National Enquirer, Northwest Herald, The HelpWise Daily, The #Nonprofit Report, Wikipedia (Nonprofit Organization), Answers.com, Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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