Editorial: Stop, think, give

Last week, a big victory was just won in the fight against breast cancer.

The thing is, it wasn’t come to in a lab or doctor’s office or even a big awareness event. No, it was arrived at in a boardroom.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced last week the nation’s two largest breast cancer charities, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, have both agreed to a new set of best practices that will hopefully dictate fundraisers held in the name of the fight against breast cancer in the future.

You can buy just about anything emblazoned with a pink ribbon these days, from water bottles to garbage cans to ties. Most are accompanied with a promise that part of the proceeds will go to breast cancer research.

Schneiderman’s best practices, which include making sure the donation amount and target are clear, are not law. But we hope they will make consumers more aware about their charitable giving. After all, Schneiderman’s office last year prosecuted the Coalition Against Breast Cancer, a “sham charity” whose founders grifted $9.1 million in donations.

Still, we advise our readers to go a step further. It is widely reported that every year, $6 billion is raised in the name of breast cancer, which certainly inspires hope in both the charitable nature of our fellow man and the possibility of a cure for this disease. But we would wager most who give haven’t the first idea what happens to their money.

Let us examine the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which is privy to a big slice of that $6 billion pie, collecting more than $350 million every year. That makes it easily one of the biggest players in the breast cancer charitable giving scene. And for the most part, it is reasonably responsible with its donations, putting nearly three-quarters toward programming and just 7 percent toward administrative expenses. (CEO Nancy Brinker was paid about $417,000 back in 2010 for her services, which might sound like a lot but is a great deal less than a person running a private company of that size might well garner.)

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