Woman to Woman Breast Cancer Foundation

Listed #15 on

THE WORST CHARITIES, RANKED BY MONEY BLOWN ON SOLICITING COSTS

The article goes on to say:

The path chosen by Jacqueline Gray shows exactly how a worthy cause can be turned into one of the nation’s worst charities.

In 2007, Gray and her husband, Kevin, started Woman to Woman Breast Cancer Foundation in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. For a year the couple struggled to raise money by hosting golf tournaments and making phone calls to potential donors. Then they met Mark Gelvan, a New Jersey consultant who has spent two decades transforming fledgling charities into money-making machines.

Gelvan introduced the Grays to what sounded like a winning formula. He would help the charity expand if it signed a contract with telemarketer Community Support Inc. The staff at Community Support would create the marketing materials and run the call centers. The telemarketer even gave the Grays $30,000 in seed money to cover bills related to the expansion.

All the Grays had to do was agree to pay Community Support 90 cents of every dollar raised, then sit back and wait. From contributions of less than $10,000 in 2008, Woman to Woman’s donations increased to $1.6 million in 2009, then leapt to $6.5 million in 2010 and $6.7 million in its most recent filing.

What the charity got to keep was far more modest. It netted about $50,000 its first year with Community Support and $544,000 in 2011.That was still enough for Gray, her husband and her daughter to start taking salaries. In the latest year, the trio received $84,000 in total compensation. Each member of the family also has a vehicle provided by the charity.

Woman to Woman raised $14.5 million in donations from 2009 to 2011, tax filings show. It paid nearly 95 percent of that to its for-profit fundraiser and spent about $700,000 on overhead and salaries. That left an average of less than $20,000 a year to provide mammograms and other diagnostic services for women with breast cancer.

Jacqueline Gray, herself a breast cancer survivor, said she is as shocked as anyone by how much money has been raised in her charity’s name and how little has made it to patients. She said she is angry that fundraisers take more than 90 percent of the revenue. But she vehemently denies that she’s to blame.

“Why would I be to blame for a system that’s dysfunctional?” Gray asked. “We are doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”