ATLANTA,None — The American Cancer Society is a
$1 billion-a-year operation and donors told Channel 2 they give to help find a cure, but a Channel 2 Investigation revealed the shocking amount of money that does not go to fight cancer.
Nearly all the money the American Cancer Society gets comes straight from donors. The
charity's mission is noble.
After spending months breaking down the books, investigative reporter Aaron Diamant had a lot of questions about where the money goes.
"You never know which dollar is going to be the one that finds the cure," said Connie Jackson, a donor at the American Cancer Society's Dancing with the Stars Gala in Duluth, GA.
Over the last four decades, the Crusaders Ball in Gwinnett County has raised millions for the Atlanta-based American Cancer Society.
"It's still not enough, because they still haven't found a cure," said Terry Davis a donor to the American Cancer Society.
Dr. Walter Curran is the
executive director of Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute and told Diamant, "They're an important source of funding. Our partnership is critical."
The Winship Cancer Institute receives research money from the American Cancer Society for cutting-edge
In Chicago, Diamant spoke with watchdogs who do not hold the American Cancer Society in such high regard.
Daniel Borochoff of the American Institute of Philanthropy told Diamant, "They could be doing so much better."
Last month, the American Institute of Philanthropy gave the ACS just a "C" rating for financial efficiency.
"They're at a point of reasonableness, but just barely," said Borochoff.
The Channel 2 Investigation looked into the most recent audits, provided by the American Cancer Society.
Financial documents from the American Cancer Society:
- ACS Foundation 990 Form 2008
- ACS Products 990 form 2008
- ACS, INC 990-T Form 2008
- ACS,INC 990 Form 2008
- 2009 Combined Financial Statements
- ACS 2009 annual report
- ACS, INC 990 Form 2009
- ACS, INC 990-T Form 2009
- ACS Products 990 Form 2009
- 2010 Combined Financial Statement
- ACS 2010 Annual Report
- ACS 2011 Stewardship Report
Last year, the ACS claimed it spent 72 percent of its nearly
$1 billion budget on programs and 21 percent on fund raising. Borochoff said the split is closer to 62 percent and 31 percent since the ACS spent millions of programming dollars to pay for direct mailing solicitations such as this.
Accounting rules let it slide because of a couple of lines on the back warning donors to wear sunscreen.
"People, when they give their money to the cancer society, they are thinking, 'cure cancer,' help people that are struggling as a cancer victim," said Borochoff.
Our Channel 2 Investigation found donors on the hook for the charity's ballooning employee pension plan.
At last count, their obligation was more than $600 million, four times what the ACS spent on cancer research last year.
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