When people think of the month of October many times they visualize pumpkins, fall leaves, pumpkin spice everything and Halloween. Fall is my favorite month of the year for these reasons. You get to bundle up but it’s not too cold and morning jogs and evening walks are the most colorful. October is known for something else as well: breast cancer awareness.
In the U.S. one in eight women is diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Chances are in your lifetime you will know someone with breast cancer. So many people and their families are affected by this disease so it makes sense that during the month of October the color pink is also something a lot of people associate with this season.
There are so many avenues to help the cause. There are several foundations that claim you can donate directly to them, there are clothes you can buy, there are ribbons, stickers, clothes, even jewelry. How much of this actually goes to fund the research efforts though? If you are anything like me you are pretty skeptical of most large businesses and fundraisers. Money has a way of trumping morality for a lot of people. Sad but true.
Because of this skepticism and the fact that I know there are many people who want to be involved and help end such an encompassing disease, I did a little research and found out which foundations make the best use of the donations received and which I would never give to.
Breast Cancer Organizations I would never to donate to.
This foundation claims to help provide assistance for “breast cancer screenings and diagnostic tests for uninsured and underserved individuals, regardless of age or gender. This is achieved, in part, by the Breast Cancer Assistance Program (BCAP), the Community Partnership Program, and the newly designed Community Advocacy Program.”
The website looks very professional and they have been around since 1997 but less than 50% of the money raised actually goes to the cause and the Chief Financial Officer makes an 8% or more of what they raise. He is listed as “Not compensated” but is making 6 figures a year.
This foundation claims to have been created in 1953 to provide research and education for breast cancer awareness. This is another program that has a long history, a believable professional website, and several programs that they have created that look equally as legitimate. The numbers do not lie, though. Only 31% of the money raised goes into the actual programs meant to help the cause. That is a travesty. The reported income of the Executive Director is over $80,000/year, which does not count the income from their programs like, Aggressive Cancer Research, The Breast Cancer Project, Children’s Cancer Project and Fighting Childhood Leukemia.
Founded in 1981 they claim to work to find innovative ways to treat cancer, provide educational information to the public. They claim to have “conducted several expeditions to the tropical rainforests of South America and other parts of the globe searching for new plant specimens with chemotherapeutic potential.” The truth is that over 90% of their funds going into fundraising and only 4% of the money coming in actually goes into research and education. The number so not add up. Steer clear from this one.
- American Cancer Society
- The Avon Foundation
- United Breast Cancer Foundation
These four foundations are ranked fairly low, as well.
There are plenty of foundations who make sure that over 75% of the proceeds go directly to assisting breast cancer awareness, research, and survivor support. Here they are:
This foundation began in 1991 with the intention to “provides information and support to individuals diagnosed with breast cancer and their caregivers.” This foundation focuses mainly on education. They hold several events a year and have meet-ups, Twitter chats, webinars, writing workshops and a young women’s initiative group. The Chief Executive Officer makes a little over 4% of the funds raised for the foundation grossing 175,000/year.
Programs like this one and Susan G. Koman For The Cure that are focused on “awareness and education” rather than actual research, financial assistance and resources for those affected and their families are not where I would send my donations. Although this foundation also contributes over 82% of the funds raised back into its cause. That is almost 3 ½ million dollars a year. Highest in the foundations of its kind. My preference would still be for my contribution to go towards a more hands on, direct approach to finding a cure and helping those who are sick.
Founded in 1991 by a breast cancer survivor. The NBCF helps women with early detection by providing free mammograms in all 50 states through a network of connected hospitals. The President and Chief Operating Officer make a little over 1% of the foundation’s income and the Senior Vice President of Development makes less than 1%. They all still make 6 figures but the bulk of the funds raised go directly to the cause. Over 85% of the funds raised go right back into the programs the foundation promised to provide and 7% to fundraising. This foundation and its programs are truly dedicated to making a difference.
This foundation began in 1993 with the intention “to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime by providing critical funding for innovative clinical and translational research at leading medical centers worldwide, and increasing public awareness about good breast health.” The reported income of the president is 1% of the overall funds which puts her at 6 figures a year as well but almost 90% of all proceeds go to the programs intended and promised. The rest, 7.5% goes to fundraising for their programs and less than 3% goes to actually paying those working for the foundation. This is the way it should look. I was extremely excited to find this out and could not wait to share it with everyone I knew. Gave me a little more faith in humanity.
Their website is extremely informative and well thought out. They are active on all social media outlets and even have a blog. They also give you direct access to their researchers, fundraiser info and events as well as a little shop. This is one foundation that has done well to stick by the standards that they began with.
There you have it! There are some great foundations to contribute to that you know will go to directly benefitting breast cancer victims and their families. This year there is estimated to be 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer in the U.S. alone and 40,450 women are expected to die from it. If you or someone you know have passed, are dealing with this currently or you simply find it to something you want to contribute to helping end I hope that this was informative and helpful. Wear your pink proud, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month after all.
Source: Charity Navigator
Photo credit: Flickr/Cliff