How to Find Out if That Breast Cancer Charity is a Scam
Why is it that the issue of breast cancer seems to attract some types whose morals are less than stellar?
Earlier this year, we learned that the Susan G. Komen Foundation had decided to eliminate funding of Planned Parenthood chapters who help provide breast exams.
Now comes news that ‘Boobies Rock!,’ a for-profit business that purports to raise funds for “breast-cancer awareness” in Chicago and around the U.S., has been taking in plenty of money, but not funneling those funds to the charities it claimed to benefit.
From The Chicago Sun-Times:
You see them at bars and Bears games and other places around Chicago and the suburbs that attract big crowds and a lot of men — young women who want you to help a “good cause” by buying T-shirts and other items emblazoned with the words “Boobies Rock!” and similarly provocative phrases.
Their pitch: “Would you like to make a donation to breast-cancer awareness?”
Former sellers say it works, often bringing in $3,000 or more in cash at events for Boobies Rock, a company based in a Denver suburb. Often, they say, people would press money into their hands saying they want to donate to the fight against breast cancer, even if they don’t want a T-shirt, beer koozie or bracelet.
“We had these bags of cash,” says Berlinda Williams, who collected money from tailgaters at the Oct. 20 Notre Dame football game.
So yes, the group has been raking in the big bucks, but in fact this is a for-profit company, and many of their claims are false.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports on one charity that received just $100 from ‘Boobies Rock!’ and hasn’t heard a word since, another that received $250, but only after creating a stir, and a third that never got a single penny.
Here’s how the company’s website describes what they do:
We are a clothing and accessories brand that creates funny, fashionable and colorful t-shirts to promote awareness for breast cancer and donate portions of our sales throughout the country to various non-profit organizations.
No. We are not a non-profit organization but we contribute to several non-profit organizations each year.
But how much actually goes to charity?
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
A marketing presentation obtained by the Sun-Times that Boobies Rock uses to gain entry to some venues put its gross revenues for 2011 at about $1.1 million, with net revenue of $400,000 and unspecified “total commitments” at just over $250,000.
Those “commitments” largely reflected philanthropy under pressure: a $250,000 legal settlement that Boobies Rock founder Adam Shryock paid to the Keep-A-Breast Foundation, best known for its I (Heart) Boobies products, to settle a trademark-infringement suit.
‘Boobies Rock!’ operates in 36 cities nationwide, and its website calls the organization “one of the leading advocates for the awareness of breast cancer across the U.S.”
But the Illinois Attorney General’s office doesn’t agree and has launched an investigation into the company.
Surprise, surprise: ‘Boobies Rock!’ has largely removed its presence on Facebook.
I have lost two dear friends to breast cancer, and sat at the bedsides of two others just after their mastectomies.
To prey on such a human tragedy in order to make a profit has to be the lowest that anyone could sink. But in order to avoid these scumbags, here a few tips on how to check out a “good cause”:
* Look at the organization’s background; get any information you can, and then get more
* Check that an independent board has oversight of the organization
* Get all the information you can about the company’s finances
* Examine the mission of the group, and look for proof that they are fulfilling that mission.
And avoid any group with a sleazy name like ‘Boobies Rock!’ and a male chairman who refers to his female workers as “girls.”
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