October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Great strides have been made recently in on-going research into the treatment of this number one cancer killer of women, but much more work and many more dollars are necessary to ultimately find a cure.
During the month, there will be walks and runs to support research funding and awareness; the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides and the Avon Walks probably the most publicized of the national activity-based participation drives. The reality is that a lot of us just haven’t the time to commit to a weekend. Retailers have made donating simple. Just about every department store chain has either a “Pink Store” or a bevy of items for sale, with part of the revenue designated to be donated to charities whose purposes are breast cancer research and awareness. At your local grocer, Yoplait continues it’s Pink Lid campaign, while the Nestle Pure Life Water campaign again will be donating some of their proceeds to help to reach the same goals. Opportunities to passively support this crucial cause are everywhere, highlighted with pink ribbon packaging. Most are legitimate.Some are not.Where does the money really go? Whom does it really benefit?
Additional confusion comes in the form of appeal letters, emails and other forms of direct donation solicitations. We have reported on a variety of charities who have played fast and loose with the money that they’ve received, earmarking most of it for themselves in the form of administrative costs and donating a small remainder to the cause they professed to support.
If you prefer to write a check for your charitable donations, Charity Navigator, a watchdog group that rates charities, has recently completed an evaluation of over 20 breast cancer organizations and have awarded eight of them a four-star rating. The decisions were based upon the excellent health of the organization’s finances, as well as the amount of money that they spent on fundraising and administrative functions versus their actual programs and services. They are:
- Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
- Breast Cancer Research Foundation
- The Rose
- Breast Cancer Connections
- National Breast Cancer Foundation
- Living Beyond Breast Cancer
- Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation
Each one of these organizations is dedicated to breast and other cancers research, treatment, care and on-going awareness programs. Before you give, take a look at each website. Identify the one whose mission and goals to eradicate this insidious disease are in parity with yours, and then give. Generously.