Rebba Martin, President and Founder, Breast Cancer Help, Inc., says she supports New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s new guidelines for the pink-ribbon breast cancer campaigns to ensure that all of the money raised goes to the causes these companies claim to support.
The guidelines came as the result of a yearlong review of 150 companies engaged in such campaigns. Among the guidelines are that companies which are running pink-ribbon campaigns must clearly explain to the customers if the purchase will go directly to support the fight against breast cancer or if the ribbons are only being used to raise awareness about the disease. In addition, companies must describe the purpose of the campaign and what percentage of the purchase will go to charity.
The purpose of the guidelines is to deter companies which continue to run campaigns even after their goal was reached and donations were cut off or use the money raised to pay for campaign costs. The New York State Attorney General’s office has emphasized that these guidelines are voluntary. Susan G. Komen For The Cure and Breast Cancer Research Foundation have already included these guidelines in their contracts.
On June 28, 2011, the New York State Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit against Coalition Against Breast Cancer, an organization based in St. James, New York, that fraudulently raised millions of dollars under the guise of fighting breast cancer. The organization raised $9.1 million over a five-year period, yet only less than 4% went to the cause it claimed to support. The rest of the money went to pay for exorbitant fundraising fees, lavish salaries, benefits packages and personal items. The lawsuit also charged both CABC and its fundraising arm, Campaign Center, with violating New York State’s not-for-profit and charitable solicitation laws.
“We applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for proposing these much-needed guidelines,” Ms. Martin said. “There are too many charities out there today that claim to raise money to fight breast cancer but pocket the money for themselves. I hope that these guidelines can be enforced.”