October is “Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” so naturally, articles abound all over the internet about the various charities, organizations, and companies that offer special deals for donors. You can buy everything pink, from yogurt to sneakers to water bottles to ribbons to jewelry to cosmetics to chocolate bars, and a portion of the price is donated to breast cancer research – or is it? In many cases, funds are donated until a predetermined limit is reached, at which point the company gets to keep your “donation.” In other cases, the money goes to a legitimate charity, but is it one whose mission you support? And is it one which uses its funds responsibly, or is it one with high overhead and overpaid administrators? How to know where to send your dollars so they will be used most effectively to research, treat, and hopefully cure breast cancer?
Fortunately, there are a number of excellent watchdog organizations which track how various organizations spend their (by which I mean your) money. One of the best, CharityNavigator, ranks the following breast cancer organizations as the top, earning four out of four stars (based on factors such as financial stability, accountability and transparency, administrative and fundraising expenses, CEO compensation, etc.).
- Breast Cancer Research Foundation
- The Rose
- National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
- Living Beyond Breast Cancer
- Bay Area Cancer Connections
- Casting for Recovery
- It’s the Journey Inc.
Breast cancer organizations earning only two stars from Charity Navigator are:
- John Wayne Cancer Institute
- Susan G. Komen for the Cure
- American Cancer Society
- Breast Cancer Fund
- Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation
- United Breast Cancer Foundation
I think we’re all aware by now that breast cancer is a major killer of women. Let’s be sure that our giving is going to organizations which are going beyond “awareness” and working on treatments and cures. Let’s all think before we pink.