Dubious charity playing in Seattle scores a dubious hat trick

BCRSF logoSee update at end of story

Okay. Readers of this space know that since becoming New To Seattle I have received all kinds of strange phone calls from all kinds of strange charities asking for money. I don’t believe I have taken a fundraising call yet from a charity I consider to be completely on the up and up. These charities often (1) use outside fundraisers that keep most of the cash money raised, (2) play legal accounting tricks to make themselves seem more efficient, or (3) make inconsistent claims.

The other day, I received a call on behalf of a nonprofit that actually seems to be hitting all three goals. Let’s call it a charity reverse hat trick.

The caller was a woman soliciting for something called Breast Cancer Research and Support Fund, or BCRSF. I had never heard of the organization, which isn’t surprising given that there are thousands and thousands of charities out there with the heart-tugging word cancer in their name (many of questionable legitimacy). The woman said the nonprofit was located in Pompano Beach, Fla., but that she herself was in “Southern Nevada.” I learned long ago that is telemarketer code for Las Vegas;  charities don’t like to tell prospective donors they’re being hit up from America’s gambling capital.

She couldn’t answer many of my basic questions, especially how much of the money raised went to the fundraiser and how much went to the stated charitable mission. “I don’t have that information,” she said over and over.

After looking at some documents I pulled on my own, I now know why.

As I see it, according to IRS tax return filings for 2011, the latest available year, by Community Charity Advancement, BCRSF’s legal name, the charity spent none of the nearly $2.2 million in cash raised on what I consider its stated charitable mission. (You can download all the federal filings I mention from this New York State government page.) A big reason is that 87 cents of every dollar raised–nearly $1.9 million–went to BCRSF’s fundraiser, a company identified as Courtesy Call of–yep–Las Vegas. The other $300,000 went mainly to outside contracted management and certain overhead. (I am using round numbers.)

At first blush, that suggests a real-world charitable commitment ratio–direct charitable mission expenses as a percent of all expenses–of 0%, and a fundraising efficiency ratio–the cut of donations remaining after subtracting the cost of raising them–of 13%. Both are truly dreadful numbers, since charitable watchdogs generally set 65% as the lowest acceptable figure for each ratio. (It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve encountered a 0% charitable commitment ratio in Washington State.)

But the often-useless charity website maintained by the Washington State Secretary of State’s Office puts the charitable commitment ratio at 52%–still lousy, but a lot higher. How can this be? The aforementioned legal accounting tricks. In its filings, BCRSF said that it received another $2 million in donated medical goods, also known as gift-in-kind, or GIK, which it then distributed to others.  As I have written here and elsewhere, while GIK is a valid form of donation, it is subject to outrageous exaggeration in value, financial efficiency and even existence. That’s because a couple of big donated gifts of goods generally cost a charity almost nothing to procure and in the hands of the wildest operators often consist of little more than paperwork shuffling without even handling the stuff.

And as it turns out, according to its audited financial statement (also downloadable from the New York State site), BCRSF got all of its $2 million of claimed donated goods from one of the wildest operators in the business. I am referring to World Help, the Virginia-based charity that just got caught making up donations and values (although it says it was duped by an outside consultant). For 2011–the same year it sent that $2 million gift to BCRSF–World Help, once one of the country’s largest charities, has been forced to reduce the value of GIK it said it received and distributed from $224 million to a mere $1.6 million.

World Helpless seems more like it now.  That’s a 99% drop, so stunning it has drawn the attention of state charity regulators investigating the issue of fraudulent GIK valuations as a way of attracting would-be cash donors. The fall has also forced some charities that said they had received largess from World Help, including at least one other beating the bushes in Seattle, Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation, to restate downward their own results.

So far, BCRSF doesn’t seem to have done that. But applying that 99% haircut would reduce that claimed $2 million to a mere $20,000. By my reckoning, including that sum in the mix, BCRSF’s total charitable commitment ratio still stays at 0%–a lot less than the 52% stated in Olympia–and its fundraising efficiency something like 14%.

That gets me to the third prong of my dubious-charity test: inconsistent claims. On its website, BCRSF has a list of what it says are six cancer research institutions that it sent grants to in 2011. Among the listees is something called “Seattle Cancer Alliance.” (I am going to assume without investigating further that means the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, its proper name.) However, the BCRSF tax return for 2011–the very same year–listed the total amount of grants given to organizations in the U.S. as–zero. Not one dime, or even a penny. As for the disposition of that claimed $2 million in donated goods, the tax return said explicitly that it all was sent to South America. However, BCRSF’s audited financial statement stated just as explicitly that the goods all went to the Dominican Republic. The last time I looked, that country sat on half of an island out in the Caribbean and certainly wasn’t part of South America.

BCRSF states on its home page that it is “dedicated to the education, health and well-being of women through aiding cancer research and assisting those unfortunately afflicted with this devastating disease.” Right now, in my judgment there’s no evidence that its claimed receipts were so comprehensively directed.

Nor was I surprised to learn that BCRSF has a short and chameleon-like existence. It was only founded in 2008, and the original name was the religiously evocative Seven Sisters of Healing Inc. Its application to the IRS for tax-exempt status, dated June 10, 2009, made no mention that I can see of cancer support or cancer research. Its stated “primary purpose” was to “provide health care equipment and products to those in need in the United States and Central and South America.” That was sufficient for the IRS, which approved the tax-exempt application just a month later.

Well, maybe not evocative enough, or maybe too religious-sounding. In 2011, according to Florida state records, Seven Sisters of Healing Inc. changed its name to the more neutral Community Charity Advancement. Still not a grabber? By that time the organization was soliciting under the name Breast Cancer Research and Support Fund (as well as, somewhat bizarrely, US Firefighters Association). I’m sure it is just a coincidence that the medical name is very similar to that of the bigger, reputable, much-longer-established Breast Cancer Research Foundation in New York.

As is my custom, I invited anyone mentioned or interested in this story to post their comments below.

Does BCRSF have anything to hide? Said the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance in a January report, “This organization either has not responded to written BBB requests for information or has declined to be evaluated in relation to BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.”

This is about the strongest warning possible in the world of charity that mischief is afoot. Penalty box, I say.

UPDATE ON 10/1/2013: In addition to being dubious, the Breast Cancer Research and Support Fund isn’t too smart or organized, either. One might reasonably think from this post that I am not a supporter of the organization, nor a good candidate for a pledge. But unbelievably, I just another solicitation call on behalf of the charity. The caller said she, too, worked for Courtesy Call. And like the last one, she wasn’t terribly well-informed. “What is Courtesy Call?” I asked politely. There was a sigh on the line, followed by a long pause, followed by the distinctive click of a phone being disconnected at the other end.

Follow William P. Barrett’s work on Twitter by clicking here.

This entry was posted in Seattle charities and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Dubious charity playing in Seattle scores a dubious hat trick

  1. Matt Puterio says:

    I forgot to sign up for replies to my other comment, posting that just for this reason.

  2. Matt Puterio says:

    I recently received a call from this same “charity” and it shows up on my credit card bill as “BREAST CANCER RESEARCH APOMPANO BEACHFL” for $35 for their “silver” donation level. I was in a rush and was feeling unusually generous so I said whatever, didn’t ask any questions and just paid them. I almost immediately regretted it when I sat down and thought about it I realized it was probably a scam… and confirmed. This is really a shame because they are taking millions of dollars that people would have willingly donated to actual charities.

    Is there anything we can do about this scam? I don’t think a chargeback would work because I knowingly made the purchase, but unfortunately was misled. I may call my CC just to ask and to block any attempted future transactions from them now that they have my card number.

    This post is old but the issue remains the same.

  3. I am not familiar with Committed Worldwide Charity. I have not written about it.

  4. Terri says:

    IS THIS THE SAME ORGANIZATION THAT YOU ARE REFERRING TO? I received, what seems to be a shady job offer. Can you confirm?

    Please advise.


    Dear Applicant,

    How are you doing today, Hope fine? there are no problems with location… your job will be based on your location.

    My Name is Christine Miller, Business Development Director at Committed Worldwide Charity.

    Brief Introduction:

    We are believers in the concept that eliminating extreme poverty is possible, and we act on that belief every day.

    We are innovators who have been at the forefront of engineering transformative approaches to the treatment of malnutrition, maternal & child health care, disaster recovery and more.

    We are consistent, going to some of the hardest places and staying after the spotlight has moved on, until the work is done, to help make sure change is sustainable.

    Part of my business Development plan is the online employee scheme but I am currently away in Canada as a result of busy schedules, I will be back in Three Weeks. Hence, here are major things you should take note;


    Administrative/Clerical duties, supervisions and monitoring. Scheduling programs, flights and keeping me up to date with them. Acting as an alternative telephone correspondence while I’m away. Making regular contacts and drop-offs on my behalf. Assisting with payroll and monitoring some of my financial activities

    Available Position: Personal Assistant
    Type: Part-Time/ Full-Time
    Hours: 5-10 Hours per week
    Weekly Pay: $300

    a) However i have a lot of pending assignments that need to be handled and i believe these tasks are simple tasks which you can carry out pending the time i get back.

    b) You will be receiving weekly Check upon completion of your weekly assignments.

    Fill the details below to apply,

    First & Last Name:

    Mailing Address:

    City, State and Post Code:

    Cell Phone:

    Best Regards,
    Christine Miller
    Business Development Director
    Committed Worldwide Charity

  5. Susan says:

    I regularly get calls from BCRSF and the US Firefighters Fund. The US Firefighter call is much more obviously pre-recorded than the BCRSF calls. They always call from a local number and have super Southern accents. I sent the BCRSF a $50 one time thinking it was the BCRF before I figured it out. What a scam!

  6. Michele Beuerlein says:

    Hi, Cincinnati here again. I think I encountered another group using the same technique revealed by this blog.
    Got the Breast Cancer call in October. Well, in proximity to Veterans’ Day in mid-November, I got a similar call for a “support military families” fund. Had all the hallmarks of the Breast Cancer scam.

    Call came from a local number. (This one was actually 216-Cleveland–but close enough.)
    When I answered, the caller asked for a name of the opposite sex from my voice. When my female voice answered, it was “Is Kevin there?”
    “Sorry wrong number.” Caller said, “Maybe you can help me”, & launched into pitch for charity with a name that sounded close to an actual charity. (But I didn’t write down what it was–sorry.)
    Voice was almost stereotypically inviting and geared to the project. Breast cancer voice was a warm grandmotherly lady. Veteran voice was a hearty older “good old boy” male.
    Conversation is actually a clever range of prerecorded responses being fed by a live operator, but I didn’t stick around long enough to play the game.

  7. I think the real number is less than 15%. But you asked and got a response that put you on notice.

  8. Kara says:

    THey just called me yesterday. I asked about how much went to “research/etc” and she said 15%. WHen I said that being a current breast cancer patient that I had little expendable income and would rather donate my time directly to patients in need, she became hurried to end the conversation. Scam.

  9. Krs says:

    Thank you so much for this information and research!!!

  10. Katie Holmes says:

    I received a call from these people. I pledged $20. They tried to get me to pay by credit card immediately but I told them I would first have to research the company. They mailed me a donation letter. Life got in the way, I forgot to check out the company and didn’t mail the check. Yesterday I received a call from a guy asking if I was ready to pay by credit card. I told him that I still needed to research the company and will send a check soon as I find out they’re legit. Today, I received another call from a lady asking if I was ready to pay by credit card. These people are super aggressive. Red flag!

    I told the lady I was going to research the company before I send them a check. She insisted on giving me a phone number and their website address to use as my research bases. They must think I’m naive enough to use their sources as a credible testimony to their being legit.

    Long story short, i’m not sending them any money!

  11. “Awful” is a good description

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the information, I received a call on October 6, 2016 asking for Wendy, I said they had the wrong number. The caller proceeded to ask if I could help, having recently been diagnosed with breast cancer this was an easy yes for me. Your article is the only real information out there on this awful organization.

  13. Yes, due diligence is the last thing these kinds of charities want.

  14. Sam says:

    Got the call from an AZ number (I’m in MN). I heard the hitch in her voice when I told her I would do my “due diligence” before putting money in an envelope, but would otherwise be happy to pledge. Knowing they’ll take my pledge as permission to harrass, I’ll be sending them a print out of your article. Thanks for posting.

  15. Yes, the scammers read the newspapers, too

  16. Michele Beuerlein says:

    Cincinnati again. Forgot to mention…the call I received on Sept.25 was prefaced by tying it in with Ocober being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Sounds like they are ramping up for a new round of calling in the next few weeks.

  17. Michele Beuerlein says:

    Cincinnati here. Just got a call from a local source (513-725-3203) for the Breast Cancer Research & Support Fund. First the kindly old lady voice asked for “Kevin”. No Kevin here.”Well, maybe you can help…” There follows pitch for me to send $15 to support families of those with breast cancer, and can we send you forms? Meanwhile, I am Googling to see if legit, but need more time to sort through it. So I say, sure, send me the packet, and I will look it over & send $ if I agree. She says OK, thanks me, & seems about to hang up.
    Suddenly, it occurs to me to ask, “Hey, if this was a ‘wrong number’, where exactly are you sending this? I haven’t given you an address!” She says something like we are just given a name and a phone number. “OK…please tell me what name and what number?” I get very insistent, and she starts repeating that hasn’t heard the question properly (or something like that). This makes sense in the context of the earlier Commenter who said he had worked for the call center, & that it is pre-taped responses being fed by a live operator. Finally, I’m saying that this is very fishy that you are sending a packet to an address you don’t even have, and exclaiming, “oh my gosh this is such a scam…!” At this point, she hangs up.
    I call the number back, and get a recording saying it’s the Breast Cancer Research & Support FOUNDATION (c’mon, at least be consistent with your scam name!). It says sorry we missed you but we will return your call…or if you’d like, you may be put on the Do Not Call list. Like they expect that from the people who call back & get wise to them.So I did that, then perused their website. Very vague–the letters from legit hospitals weren’t addressed to the BCR&SF, and didn’t have anything to do with supporting families of breast cancer patients. Ditto for the tax returns. Then I saw this website with Mr. Barrett’s excellent reporting and the many illuminating comments. Well done and thank you!

  18. Jerry says:

    Got a call from them using 425-365-0412 on my cell phone. Since my work line forwards to my cell, I answer even if I don’t know the number. I told them they could send me something and I’d look at it. They said they don’t send out without a pledge, so I hung up while she was talking.

  19. Joy Montgomery says:

    Thank you! I sent them the link to your article in a contact form.

  20. Maureen Stinson says:

    This organization is still out there going strong. I got the call on a Sunday evening in the middle of company and did not have time to research. I spoke to two live people, no recordings and since my sister died from Breast Cancer, I made the pledge. But I made sure I had the organization’s name noted. Now on Monday, after reading all of this, I will be sending in a copy of the article with a big NO. Should have known. Thanks for the reviews.

  21. David says:

    They just called me today, asking, “Is Larry there?” When I said, “You have the wrong number,” the woman said, “Oh, maybe you can help.” So, the call starts out with a scam introduction, because they are using a harvested phone database and there’s no way they “accidentally” called me asking for Larry. The voice was so smooth it sounded like one of those voice-activated calls (with pauses that react to you). When I asked if I was speaking to a human, she said she was reading a script off a computer for quality assurance purposes, then hung up. When I called back, I got a recording. The number was 470-344-6823.

  22. Billy cee says:

    Just got a phone call with the i.d. saying bcrsf, I’m glad I googled it. Shady

  23. This and other dodgy charities are counting on the fact most people they call don’t check them out first. They also don’t like to be asked many questions because (1) that reduces the amount of time to call someone else and (2) if they get caught giving out false information, they could be in big trouble.

  24. Ashley Palmer says:

    I live in Lawrence, KS and just received a call from a “Kansas” number. I rarely answer the phone when I don’t recognize a number; not sure why I did today. At first, even though I did not recognize the name of the organization, I was not necessarily suspicious. The caller seemed surprised that I was willing to donate and then said she needed to send me to Quality Assurance. Then it started to feel weird. So while I was talking to QA, I started asking questions. I asked where she got my number. The woman was short with me and replied that she didn’t have that information but could assure me she wouldn’t sell it. Then, I asked where the organization was located. She tried to sidestep that question by saying the main headquarters where in Florida. I asked why the number that called me was a local number and she said they use an internet calling service. By this time, she wasn’t too happy. I asked for the name of the organization again and she gave it to me. When I googled it, however, this webpage was not high up on the list so all I could really do was look at their website as I spoke to her. I told her I needed to make sure this was legit and she said something like “so can we still count on your $__ donation?” I replied yes (again, hadn’t found anything else on them at that point) and gave them my address. Will be printing this article to return in that envelope when it arrives. Thanks for your research on this.

  25. I think the charity now has received a number of copies of my post.

  26. Anonymous says:

    This organization called me in April, and I said that I would donate $20 because my mother had breast cancer. I received a letter in the mail from them asking for me to send in my donation, but I put it off. They then sent me another REMINDER letter reminding me of my pledge to send in money. Before I wrote the check, my BS sensor went off and I googled their organization to find your page. THANK YOU! I have learned my lesson to respond to unsolicited phone calls from “charities”. I printed off your letter and sent it back to them in their donation envelope.

  27. Consider putting a copy of my story in the envelope.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Just got called by BCRSF requesting donations from (323) 316-1137. They asked for my ex-wife by name. Call didn’t last long after I stated that I would never automatically donate in response to a single phone call from an organization that I didn’t know – I would have to research the organization first. The calller provided an number to call with any questions about the organization. (800) 594-7306. I found all the information I needed without making the call.

    Keep up the good work.

  29. Penny Kelly says:

    Thank you for the article on this organization. I did make a pledge via the telephone with the intent to research them when the envelope arrived. I’m returning the form with no money and a letter telling them to remove me from all lists. It probably won’t work, but I know now to block their calls.

  30. SG says:

    I received a call from 323-347-7643 from the same call center located in Nevada today and was tempted to donate.

  31. Sure, and that’s the problem. Almost all the cash raised went to outside fundraisers and management/overhead, with virtually none of it going to direct charitable support.

  32. Cameron Hoverson says:

    I just received a call from this organization and wanted to see if they were legitimate. I wanted to let you know that according to their (very low quality) website, they’ve raised approximately $18M between 2010 & 2015!

  33. Judging from the comments on this post, I suspect BCRSF hears that a lot.

  34. Jill says:

    I was just called by these folks on my cellphone and a local number showed up on my screen, so I answered it. I did a quick online search before offering up a pledge and found your article. As soon as I hesitated and said I had found some negative information about their organization the woman quickly said, “I understand, thank you for your time.” and hung up. Thanks!

  35. I had never heard of BCRSF until I got a call a few years ago.

  36. My husband got a call from them today. It appeared to be a local number, 402-769-2647 (Omaha, NE.) He told them he’d never heard of them and they ended the call there. Thanks for your article!

  37. Frank says:

    Thank you for your article. I like to research charities before giving them money and your article was very helpful. I am going to mail in your article in their envelope, not a check.

  38. The calls I get are to my landline.

  39. Thanks for your efforts to get the word out about sham charities such as this. My adventures with a sham charity (which I helped in a small way to get shut down) are memorialized here: http://www.charityscam.org/

    I crossed paths with this outfit after receiving an interactive prerecorded message call to my cell phone. I called Courtesy Call’s office in Nevada, and the woman I spoke with had the gall to deny that the voice was prerecorded. While the federal telemarketing laws generally do not apply to charitable solicitation calls, automatically dialed and/or prerecorded/artificial voice calls to a cell phone without the called party’s prior express permission are unlawful in almost all cases regardless of the type of call. These calls are also required to include an address or phone number where the calling party can be reached. The call I received from Courtesy Call, Inc. on behalf of BCR&SF did not include this required information. You can complain about these calls to the FCC and your state attorney general.

  40. Kristen Wilde says:

    Just sent in your article. Feel dumb for agreeing to the pledge in the first place, but I figure this is the second best I can do.

  41. Charity regulators in Florida should take a close look at how this “charity” is depicting itself in pitches to would be donors, but they are MIA here.

  42. Gina says:

    Thank you so much for the info! I wanted to research this organization before donating to them and you’re the only one who has posted info on them.

  43. Christine Miller says:

    I got a cold call this week. I pledged and then looked them up because I got a bad feeling in the call. Will be sending them your article with a big “no” on the pledge.

  44. In the future you might try the Better Business Bureau site, http://www.give.org, which looks at far mor eorganizations. Most of the dodgy charities don’t cooperate with the BBB (how could they?), and the BBB lists them as not accredited and “did not disclose.” That is a screaming red flag.

  45. Jay says:

    They just cold called me here in Southern California. I got a weird feeling during the call so I decided to check on Charity Navigator to see what their score was and niether name came up. So diabolical!

    Thanks for the research William!

  46. The list of dodgy charities that Courtesy Call does telemarketing work for is a long one.

  47. Guy who worked there says:

    Hey guys, I’m gonna tell the truth from the inside.
    I worked for this “charity”, Courtesy Call is a legit enterprise located in Las Vegas, Nevada and does various services, which include:
    I’m not sure if they’re the ones responsible for the scam or the organizations that hire them.
    Both Breast Cancer Research and Support Fund along with Disabled Veteran Services are owned by the same people and located in Pompano Beach, Florida.
    They use an automated computerized speech system with a pre-recorded script.
    They introduce themselves as Darlene Lewis and Marissa Maldonado which are the actual names of the ladies who recorded said script.
    *If you ask the caller, it will say you’re talking to a live person that uses a computer for quality control purposes. (This is actually true as there’s an actual person hearing you and hitting the right buttons according to your questions, answers and reactions)
    This script is very professional and complete, it covers most of the customer’s situations, questions and basic human interactions (even laughing if you tell a joke!).
    The script is pretty clear and non deceptive if you know your way around it (it even tells you that only 15% goes to the charity if the donor asks about the percentages, not many donors ask and they usually get mad and tell you to take them off the list if you tell them that, but you’re forced to say it if they ask)
    Their call center agents never talk and they all make the calls with the same system and same voice and name, they’re pretty well trained into this system and do their best to make the calls the more human, polite and realistic possible. (If you get any awkward, dumb or rude sounding calls they’re doing it wrong and are usually admonished for this as they’re all monitored and given feedback)
    The only time you talk to a real person is when you ask for their supervisor, your call is immediately transferred to their call center in Las Vegas.
    As far as I know Courtesy Call Inc has two call centers in the U.S and hires other call centers around the world, I worked in Central America.
    In Central America they hire a Guatemalan call center enterprise named Allied Global, they have call centers in both Honduras and Guatemala.
    These latin call centers usually hire bilingual young people in their late teens and 20s, usually college students who work in a very nice, comfortable and friendly environment with decent salaries, it’s an awesome alternative to harder, boring and underpaid job options for people who haven´t graduated from college yet.
    These call centers work for all kinds of companies, not all are fraudulent, in fact, most of them are legit.
    Most of the ones who work for this particular “charities” DO NOT KNOW that they’re scamming people, they just do their job.
    I’m not sure if that 85% goes to the fundraiser (Courtesy Call) or to the owners of the “charity”.
    Not sure if the 15% actually goes to help or to the overhead.

    I hope this could help your research.

  48. If you were sent a prepaid envelope, consider using it to mail a printout of my story.

  49. Joanna Torres says:

    Thanks for saving me money. I got a call and was stupid enough to give them my address. Now I got a letter (invoice). I’m not giving them a penny. Thanks!!

  50. Concerned in Kansas City says:

    An Update from Kansas City…This organization is still making phone calls and sending letters. I found this post during my research to determine if they are legitimate. Thank you for saving me some time.

  51. That’s part of the scam. One you have made an oral pledge, you will get hounded and maybe threatened with a lawsuit if you don’t pay, even if your reason is that you have researched the organization and have decided it misrepresented itself, which is a given with this one. Of course, it’s not likely you would get sued over such a small amount, but the “charity” is hoping you won’t know that. Charitable regulators should be ashamed of themselves for doing nothing to stop this.

  52. jmarsh83 says:

    I got a call from this organization recently and thought it was suspicious that they “couldn’t” send me any information about the organization unless I made a financial commitment over the phone. Thank you for taking the time to research this organization and sharing your findings.

  53. BCR&SF is not a charity but simply an appealing trade name of CCA. I can only see a small portion of CCA’s latest tax return on its website. Most of the gifts received and distributed consisted of donated goods going to the Dominican Republic. That does not strike me as breast cancer research or breast cancer support. The snippet of the tax return suggests to me that about $4.5 million was raised in cash and that $4 million of that went to fundraisers, or 89 cents of each dollar raised. Deceptive as hell, I say.

  54. Garth Pollock says:

    Here is what I have found out since I received a phone call and a donation request letter from one from BCRSF.

    The donation letter was troubling on a number of levels. First, BCRSF is actually a project of Community Charity Advancement Inc registered in Pamona FL. Second, the letter provides no detail about how the funds are actually used only vague language, but with no objective, descriptive, or numerical information. Third, the website provides no financial information as to how the funds are used but does provide links to Tax Statements.

    The 2014 tax return was Community Charity Advancement tax return, not BCRSFs tax return . Looking at the return about 10 million dollars was raised of which over 40% was used for fund raising. That is an immediate disqualifier.But maybe some really outstanding research was being done.

    Examining the worksheets further it seems that last year a doation of $7,000 was sent to each of 7 organizations for a total of $49,000 forwarded to a number of organizations who are listed as “partners” on the website (My cynical self feels that the donations were only made so that credible organizations could be included in the literature to lend legitimacy to the fundraising).

    Further the tax statement reports donating materials valued at close to $6,000,000 to three not very clearly described organizations: $130,000 for Fire Relief in Wisconsin, close to 3.4 million for antibiotics and other cancer medicine to the Dominican Republic, and close to 2.5 million with no description as to what was donated to not sure where.

    Even if that rather sketchy description of what was donated was accurate, it would seem that $49,000 was donated to research, and $6,000,000 donated in supplies which might have been great in of itself, but not if over $4,000,000 was spent in fundraising, which means only .60 of every dollar may have done some good.

  55. Alexandra says:

    I got this call 6 weeks ago and made the commitment to donate. I only got the “bill” today. After reading your article and comments, I sent it back saying, “this does not sound legitimate”. Thanks for looking into this!

  56. You might consider printing out a copy of my article and mailing that with your big NO.

  57. Christine says:

    I so appreciate your posting this, Mr. Barrett! I was just about to send in my donation when I thought.. hmm, check online? I printed this page and am about to stuff it in the return envelope with a big NO printed on the solicitation form. I’m paying the postage, but that’s all they’re going to get out of me. How do these people look themselves in the mirror?!?! (P.S. I’m a breast cancer survivor.)

  58. Typos on a fundraising website certainly can be a tip-off that something’s afoot. I wrote up one sketchy fundraiser that couldn’t even keep straight its own name! http://bit.ly/12kHu7n

  59. Gina says:

    I refused to donate to this organization today. The lady’s tone went from sweet to sour quickly. When I went to the website, begrudgingly given to me after I requested it, I found several spelling and grammatical errors. This may not seem like a big problem but I have never seen those type errors on legit charity sites to which I do contribute.

  60. I am not surprised.

  61. LEON says:

    Their website sucks.
    Once you click the donation tab, it goes to another domain. Funny, fake….

  62. There is very little evidence the charity lives up to its name, which, as I pointed out, keeps changing for what I would consider marketing reasons. The charity is hoping that you won’t check it out.

  63. Pete says:

    I just received a call from these folks and when I said I never heard of them and that I needed more info, she just repeated that they support cancer research and women who need financial help. She repeated this when I asked for more info. That’s when I hung up. She did say they were based in Pompano Beach, Fl. So I looked it up. Saw your piece. Glad I hung up. Thanks

  64. These outfits can be unrelenting.

  65. Helen A. says:

    I received a call in Columbus, OH, and a follow-up letter when I agreed to pledge. But I had my suspicions. Thanks for this thread — I will NOT be fulfilling the pledge. This scam is super offensive to me, especially since I recently lost a friend to breast cancer. Ugh.

  66. No, but I’m not sure how relevant that is to the charity, at least in the absence of evidence that the dad was involved in the charity I was writing about.

  67. sjonson2013 says:

    Thank you for researching this org! Did you notice that the prez of the board’s dad was convicted of medical malpractice in NY?

  68. It often is very hard to pin down the location of the fundraiser calling you, let alone the home office of the charity. I have run into this problem all the time. Good for you for checking things out.

  69. Disgusted with......... says:

    I was called by this same organization. They were very persistent with me as well and have even called to see why I haven’t returned my “pledged” donation. Something about their mailing made me doubtful and so I decided to do a little investigating and thank you very much for taking the time to post your findings. I’ll be more inquisitive with the caller if they call again and let you know if I get any kind of response. By the way, I’m in Arkansas and they claim to be in Wisconsin.

  70. Yes, the organization certainly makes a lot of telephone calls. Good that you did some poking around. Too bad not everyone does.

  71. Anonymous says:

    I was called in Delaware. After a pledge form was sent to me, I investigated via Guidestar.org, also found your artlcle and consequently I will NOT be sending any money to this bogus company.

    Thanks very much, Instead I will sent the money I planned on to another LEGIT charity.

  72. Courtesy Call is quite the telemarketing organization.

  73. Martha Silver says:

    This “charity” is still out there. I got a call this week from Courtesy Call Inc., on behalf of the Breast Cancer Research & Support Fund. When I waffled on a donation, they put a gentleman on the phone to confirm my donation. He was rather insistent that I commit on the spot. When I saw that the Better Business Bureau couldn’t confirm the legitimacy of the organization, nor had Breast Cancer Research & Support Fund filed a 2012 tax return, I decided that I had enough evidence to place my donation with a more credible organization.

  74. In my experience, these kinds of charities want an on-the-spot commitment because they know what a little research will reveal to a prospective donor. At the first sign of trouble, they hang up, often without even saying goodby.

  75. werigg says:

    I donated 25 bucks to them last year, this time when she called, I said ok, but first I was going to look them up on the internet. She hung up before I finisted the word “internet”.

  76. Some charities have been known to become aggressive toward those sent a pledge card who do not send back money. I don’t know if Breast Cancer Research & Support Fund is one of those. But since there is no consideration or detrimental reliance on the part of the charity for your modest pledge, I rather doubt it is enforceable as a contract. And that’s before raising the issues of deception and misrepresentation. However, if for some reason the charity does get on your case, let me know and perhaps a spotlight can be cast upon the situation.

  77. Gail Moa says:

    I thank you for your dialogue on the Breast Cancer Research & Support Fund. I had a sweet lady call 2 weeks ago when I was under the gun with flu. I am Canadian and do feel sympathy for those caught in medical expense in WA. I agreed to a small donation but decide to investigate online. Non-compliance with the BBB only made me more curious. Your answers were my aha! moment.
    So, my small donation is going to the Edensaw Corp. Port Townsend WA who does help individuals in the community – directly.
    I am not sure if they can sting me for what i said I would give – a gentleman came on the phone to confirm me – I think he sends time shares in his other job.
    Anytime you would like to visit the Port Townsend area, please contact me.

  78. A lot of the time, these organizations find me. I just answer the phone. The caller said she worked for Courtesy Call, of Las Vegas, which is the only independent contractor listed in the 990 for 2011.

  79. Jim Ulvog says:

    Mr. Barrett:

    You do find the most amazing organizations. In 2011, 100% of the cash income went to the fundraiser, according to the financial statement notes.

    You didn’t comment that the $1.5M GIK in 2010 came from Stars Foundation.

    Did you notice the notes for both 2010 and 2011 mentioned the fundraiser by name and said they “served as the Organization’s primary representative to locate telemarketing firms qualified to conduct campaigns for the Organization”? The contract allows for subcontracting the work. What organization did your caller say she worked for?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s