You would THINK that since I have been taking GREAT JOY to EXPOSE bogus breast cancer charities for almost SIX years now that they would know better than to call me, right?
I am sitting at my desk working and my cell phone rings. A call coming in from (267)-225-9040. I answered it because I am expecting a call from one of my doctor’s offices, and they have locations in Philadelphia and in the suburbs. And for some reason even when I say call the house phone, they call the cell phone.
The caller says “Hi this is Renee Baker with Donor Relations of the Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation.”
I asked how she got my number.
She said “excuse me?” and went back to her script.
I asked her again, how she got my number and was this a live person.
“Of course it is and we buy lists.”
Oh, I replied. Then I asked her who sold her my number.
“I can’t tell you who sold us your number.” (all indignant like I have SOME NERVE asking who they bought my number from LOL!)
So then I asked if they were that Florida based charity that the Michigan Attorney General’s Office issued a cease and desist order on in January 2017? ( Keeping up on bogus breast cancer charities have become sort of a perverse hobby.) Then, because I am nice that way, I asked what it was like taking money from people for a bogus breast cancer charity.
“WE.ARE.LEGITIMATE.” she says hotly ” We are a REAL charity out of Florida and I work in a call center in Alabama!!” (stupidly extending the conversation.)
No I said. You aren’t. Legitimate breast cancer charities do not employ professional fundraisers to dial for dollars. (and then I hung up)
Then, because I am nice that way, I called up Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation in Florida (only it did not sound like anything other than a VOIP line that could have been located anywhere.)
I asked the woman about the charity. She got all indignant. So I said to her fine, I would just Google away and put them on a blog.
I had NO IDEA what I would find when I started searching.
So… here is Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation, Inc. on GUIDESTAR
Here is a 2015 990: 2015 990 Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation
Here is some kind of financials: BCOF 2014 Audit
So I Googled the address and this is what I got:
I guess the suite number means second floor?
ALSO when I Googled the address, oddly enough I came up with ANOTHER non-profit. Help The Vets.org
So…here is Help The Vets on GUIDESTAR
Here is their 2015 990: 2015 990 help the vets
And check out the Board of Directors as per GUIDESTAR for BOTH non-profits:
Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation
Help The Vets
What are the chances?
Wow to have the time to run TWO non-profits out of the same address, right???
Money Raised in Michigan to Fight Breast Cancer Goes to Pay Salary and Professional Fundraisers
In 2015, over 2,000 Michigan residents gave $36,372 to an organization to fight breast cancer. The organization that raised the money is being accused of giving all of the funds to pay its president and professional fundraisers.
Yesterday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced a Cease and Desist Order against Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation, Inc., a Florida nonprofit corporation, for false solicitation and diversion of funds raised to other purposes. The foundation has been in operation since July 2014.
In 2015, Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation (BCOF) raised $1,425,201, including $36,372 from 2,003 paid pledges from Michigan residents by telephone and direct mail.
The Foundation raised the money by telling donors that funds raised would be used for breast cancer research grants in support of a breast cancer vaccine. However, the Attorney General’s office says the Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation did not use the funds raised for breast cancer research.
During 2015, they made no grants
Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation
In January 2017, the State of Michigan’s Attorney General’s Office issued a press statement titled, “Schuette Files Cease and Desist Against Breast Cancer Charity Who Claimed to Raise Money for Research Grants.” For this reason, we have issued a High Concern CN Advisory. For more information regarding the charges reported, please see the press statement.
- In February 2017, the State of Michigan’s Attorney General’s Office issued a press statement titled, “Florida Charity to Pay Over $100k to Breast Cancer Research, and is Banned from Soliciting in Michigan for Ten Years Due to Deceptive Fundraising.” For more information, please see the press statement.
The concerns raised about illegal activity, improper conduct, or organizational mismanagement are serious both in nature and scope and have thus warranted this CN Advisory. We have published this advisory to provide donors with content that they may find useful when making their giving decisions. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors of sources used for the reported information, and not those of Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator is not responsible for the nature or content of the information presented through such external sources and websites. For more information on how or when we decide to publish a CN Advisory, please review our methodology.
Here is the verbiage from the Michigan Attorney General’s Press Release from January:
Florida Charity to Pay Over $100k to Breast Cancer Research, and is Banned from Soliciting in Michigan for Ten Years Due to Deceptive Fundraising
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced a settlement with Florida nonprofit Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation, Inc. The settlement resolves the Attorney General’s claims that, in 2015, the group deceptively raised $1.4 million nationwide, including at least $36,372 in Michigan. The group’s solicitations told donors that funds raised would be used for breast cancer research grants. In reality, all the money raised, except for one $8,235 grant, went to professional fundraisers and other expenses—not breast cancer research.
“In recent years, my office has combatted deceptive solicitations for cancer, veterans, firefighters, and police. It’s sad to see these causes exploited,” said Schuette. “Donors should remain vigilant during solicitations—especially regarding emotional appeals for sympathetic causes. And it bears repeating: research the charity before giving.”
In settlement, Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation will pay $150,000, with $125,000 paid for breast cancer research and the remaining $25,000 to recoup the State’s investigative costs. Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation will also withdraw its charitable solicitations registration and is banned from soliciting in Michigan for ten years.
In January 2017, the Attorney General issued a Notice of Intended Action against Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation, alleging 14,542 civil violations of charitable solicitations fraud, with maximum penalties of $10,000 per violation. In 2015, Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation raised $1,425,201, telling donors that funds raised would be used for grants for breast cancer research in support of a breast cancer vaccine. However, the Foundation’s financials failed to disclose any breast cancer research grants in 2015. In response to the allegations, the Foundation amended its financials and documented one grant of $8,235 for breast cancer research. But all the other money Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation raised was used for other purposes: to pay its professional fundraisers, the company executive’s salary, or other expenses.
The Attorney General’s investigation into Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation stemmed from the Attorney General’s 2016 investigation into professional fundraiser Corporations for Character, an investigation which resulted in a monetary settlement and the fundraiser’s withdrawal from the state. Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation used Corporations for Character for some of its fundraising, a fact which led the Attorney General to scrutinize the charity’s own fundraising practices.
The Attorney General’s January Notice of Intended Action ordered Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation to cease and desist the alleged violations, giving them twenty-one days to resolve the matter or face a civil action in court. In addition, the Attorney General also issued Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation a Notice of Intent to deny its charitable solicitations registration.
I think we can safely quantify this charity as BOGUS, yes? I am because legitimate breast cancer charities DO NOT dial for dollars, especially using cold caller businesses! And legitimate breast cancer charities do not have dances with state attorney generals.
And I will note I have asked this group to put me on a do not call list before – on both my cell and home phone. And my phone numbers, all of our phone numbers are on do not call lists.
Oh and that Help The Vets Inc with the suspiciously similar board and address? Charity Navigator also lists them to be of concern:
In January 2017, it came to the attention of Charity Navigator that Help the Vets, is the subject of an investigation by the State of Michigan’s Attorney General’s Office according to their press statement titled, “Schuette Files Cease and Desist Against Breast Cancer Charity Who Claimed to Raise Money for Research Grants.” For this reason, we have issued a Moderate Concern CN Advisory. For more information regarding the charges reported, please see the press statement article.
The nature of these allegations of illegal activity, improper conduct, or organizational mismanagement are such that Charity Navigator has issued this CN Advisory to provide donors with content that they may find useful when making their giving decisions. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors of sources used for the reported information, and not those of Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator is not responsible for the nature or content of the information presented through such external sources and websites. For more information on how or when we decide to publish a CN Advisory, please review our methodology.
People, do your charity research. Ask questions. Choose reputable charities and turn the others in to the Attorney General in your state. I am and I will also be forwarding this post to the lovely woman I assisted in the New York State Attorney General’s Office over another bogus breast cancer charity.
As a breast cancer survivor, there are lots of good days and sometimes some pretty low bad ones. The low days are often when someone I know who was also a survivor no longer is. Survivor’s guilt. Survivor’s remorse. It’s real, and it can be hard when it ripples across my brain. Those of us who survive are so grateful to be alive, but every once in a while there is the whisper: Why me? Why did I survive when she did not?
But then there are days like today when it’s clear that I am blessed to be alive and blessedly breast cancer free AND part of why I am here why I survive is to warn people about fake breast cancer charities.
Today it is a double header. The bogus breast cancer charity led me to the veterans’ charity with the same address, board, and odd looking IRS form 990s. It seems to me that the only thing more despicable than a bogus breast cancer charity would be a fake veterans’ charity.