American Cancer Society and Foundation Beyond Belief: Documents


I’m currently working on a follow-up to my recent piece on AlterNet about the American Cancer Society turning down the Foundation Beyond Belief’s request to participate with a national team in the ACS’s Relay for Life — and the $250,000 matching offer from the Todd Stiefel Foundation that would have come with it.

I’ve received a number of documents (screenshots, mostly) backing up the story I’m writing — and I’ll need to link to some or all of them. So I’m posting them here. I am also making these documents available to anyone who wants to use them in their own reporting or blogging about this matter. (For some reason, if you want to view the images full size, you have to click on the image and then click on it again. My apologies for the inconvenience.)



The above is a cached page from the American Cancer Society website, taken on Oct. 1, 2011, indicating that participation in the Relay for Life as a national team was still available to clubs and organizations.



The above is a screenshot from the American Cancer Society website, taken on Oct. 20, 2011 (note the countdown of 267 days to an event happening on 7/13/2012), listing national teams in the Relay for Life for 2012, in which the non-profit organization AYSO was listed as a Youth Affiliate.



The above is a screenshot from the American Cancer Society website, taken on Oct. 20, 2011 (note the countdown of 183 days to an event happening on 4/20/2012), listing national teams in the Relay for Life for 2012, in which the non-profit organization AYSO was listed as a Youth Affiliate.



The above is a screenshot from the American Cancer Society website, taken on Oct. 20, 2011 (screenshot was emailed to me at the same time as the two above for AYSO, and was presumably taken on the same day), listing national teams in the Relay for Life for 2012, in which the non-profit organization DeMolay International was listed as a Youth Affiliate.



The above is a screenshot from the American Cancer Society website, taken on Oct. 20, 2011 (screenshot was emailed to me at the same time as the two above for AYSO, and was presumably taken on the same day), listing national teams in the Relay for Life for 2012, in which the non-profit organization Phi Theta Kappa was listed as a Youth Affiliate.



The above is a screenshot from the American Cancer Society Facebook wall, taken on Oct. 20, 2011, in which the ACS says at the top of the page that the national team program for the Relay for Life was discontinued for clubs and organizations at the end of the fiscal year, and at the bottom of the page says that national teams must meet a list of requirements, listed at the indicated URL.

The above is a screenshot from the American Cancer Society Facebook wall, taken on Oct. 22 2011, indicating that the national team program for the Relay for Life was discontinued for clubs and organizations, stating that the ACS had never been formally approached by the Foundation Beyond Belief, and stating that the ACS had repeatedly offered alternatives to the FBB.



The above is a screenshot from the Jaycees website, taken on Oct. 28 2011, indicating that as of this date, the Jaycees were still publicizing their participation as a national team in the Relay for Life, and were apparently unaware that non-profit participation in this program had been discontinued.



The above is a screenshot from the National Funeral Directors Association website, taken on Oct. 28 2011, indicating that as of this date, the NFDA were still publicizing their participation as a national team in the Relay for Life, and were apparently unaware that non-profit participation in this program had been discontinued. (The NFDA is a non-profit organization.)

If anyone has any other documents or screenshots relevant to this situation, please email them to me, at greta (at) gretachristina (dot) com . Thanks.

Comments

  1. bkhawkeye says

    And they would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling atheists AND your stupid dog

  2. Chris Ho-Stuart says

    Thanks very much for making this available. My last vestige of sympathy for the ACS evaporated when they started lying about the history of this. Documenting the history in this straightforward way is very helpful.

  3. Chris Slaby says

    Do we have confirmation from the above non-profits that they were not notified of no longer being part of a national team? I just want to be sure this isn’t just a lag in updating information on their websites. We need confirmations from these other not-for-profits that they were not notified about not being part of the national team program until after ACS announced the changes.

  4. wasd says

    > If anyone has any other documents or screenshots relevant to this situation

    I really REALLY wanted to avoid fighting this out in public… and there is still time to settle this amicably. Having said that clearly some idea of the pressure in store from our side might convince ACS to stop treating this as just a minor PR problem on facebook and start talking about how to fix this.

    Anyone can download the form 990 tax filings for American non profits from guidestar.org Apparently the American cancer society has a lot of state organizations, more than I can cover by myself, so some freethoughtblogs reader teamwork would really help.

    These forms include:
    – The names and highest paid employees.
    If people download the form for the local organization they can use google to start screening the organization for religious nuts at the top. There might also be occasional reasonable and science minded person, these people could be contacted outside of the official PR channels for their take on the situation. Obviously harassment before clear evidence of bad faith would probably be counter productive.

    – details on the compensation packages of those at the top
    What is immediately apparent is that ACS is one of those non-profits I worry about. IE a donor funded non profit organization where various CEO`s make $400,000/year salaries. (plus $200,000 pensions and benefits) Could these be highly specialized hospital CEO`s or something?

    Just as an exercise in civic duty it would be nice if people could team up, put together a spreadsheet with compensation totals at the various ACS groups. This is donor due diligence 101.

    – some expenses made by the non-profit
    Did you know that the Discovery institute spend a lot of money getting a totem pole for their offices? well now you do! Just go over it see if you see something funny.

    The endless “could have communicated more clearly” statements suggest PR professionals are working hard on this. (I have not come across the compensation details for highly paid PR consultants yet) This could actually be a help. PR people should love to help find people outside the ACS who can confirm details. IE, when non-profits where warned the relay for life thing was ending a professional PR person should be able to find one willing to confirm this publicly. A lack of willingness to help here would be weird but it would not be evidence of anything.

  5. Isilzha says

    By Oct. 25 they had made some changes to the drop-down list of teams. They added “NCTP” after the corporate teams. So, that shows the “youth affiliates” were left on the list deliberately.

    However, I’m still wondering what happened to the Jaycees. They’ve just been totally deleted from the ACS website.

  6. Isilzha says

    http://www.wijaycees.org/June%202011.pdf (pg. 7)

    Register your Jaycees Relay Team!
    Relay For Life & the United States Junior Chamber – Fighting Cancer Together!
    The American Cancer Society is proud to welcome the United States Junior Chamber to the 2011 Relay For Life National Team Program. This is an exclusive program designed to give corporations, clubs, organizations and associations an opportunity to fight cancer in their communities through American’s largest fundraiser, Relay For Life. Relay gives each organization and its members an opportunity to show their community they care about cancer by participating as Relay teams and volunteers.
    This year our goal is to raise $302,000.00 for Relay For Life.
    As a member of the United States Junior Chamber, you can register your Chapter as a Relay Team through the Jaycees exclusive registration site.

  7. says

    Thanks for clarifying some of the time line. I heard about this, and it just about made my head explode. My undergraduate research involved cancer cell signaling and migration, and I’ve participated in several relay for life teams. It’s just…what are they thinking? Does the ACS not need money any more? :/

  8. Bob says

    Most of the non corporate teams (Jaycees, Girl Scouts etc) had proven track records with Relay on a national level. Foundation Beyond Belief (according to their website doesn’t have any local chapters unless those chapters are under Volunteer Beyond Belief which is in 12 cities) and no ‘youth affiliates.’ They wanted the same status as a condition of their matching gift. Participation by the non corporate groups will probably continue on a local level, without National support. FBB was offered help in establishing teams at the local level which they did not accept. Makes me wonder what their real motive was, fighting cancer or name recognition?

    It is also interesting that the first blog post from a FBB board member regarding all of this imagined how one of the conversations with ACS took place. Imaging and actually being part of the conversation are 2 separate things. (BTW I actually saw someone else quote part of that conversation on FB as if it actually happened.) It is sometimes easier to cut and paste and assume than to seek out the truth. It would be bigotry if FBB was told they couldn’t participate at any Relay events. It would have also been better if the American Cancer Society had explained what happened better than they did.

  9. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    @18, Bob … FBB doesn’t need to have local “chapters”. It’s an international Internet group that meets mostly in cyberspace.

    Apparently the ACS hasn’t left the 1950s behind yet, and can’t grasp the concept of a group that is amorphous yet self-organizing.

    Besides, I’d hate to have to run a local chapter. Herding atheists is harder than herding cats.

  10. isilzhaveni says

    @Bob–You do realize that there are Atheist/Freethought/Secular Humanist organizations all across the US. Also, most colleges have a group or two. FBB could have brought those various local organizations under one national FBB Relay team banner. The ACS already had the infrastructure in place to help FBB keep track of what those various local teams raised in order for the Stiefel Freethought Foundation to make a matching contribution.

    Oh, and if you’re going to criticize FBB for wanting “recognition” then you must be fair and criticize every national team and youth affiliate AND the ACS. If you look at the 2011 brochure from ACS promoting National Relay Teams they use the word “recognition” at least 6 times in just ONE page. And that’s not counting any other similar terms used. However, FBB didn’t really want recognition so much as just a team with the name FBB. The problem was if FBB did raise a significant amount of money ACS would have had to acknowledge them in various reports and on the cancer.org website.

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