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Cancer charity did very little to help patients, feds allege

An organization only spent 1% of the $18 million it raised to provide assistance for cancer patients, the government alleges.
Cancer charity did very little to help patients, feds allege
Posted at 5:37 AM, Mar 12, 2024

The Federal Trade Commission is accusing an organization of raising money to support women battling cancer only to spend most of that cash on for-profit fundraisers. 

The FTC, along with 10 states, have sued the Cancer Recovery Foundation International, also known as the Women's Cancer Fund, and the charity's operator Gregory B. Anderson for allegedly deceiving donors. 

According to the lawsuit, Cancer Recovery Foundation International collected more than $18 million from donors between 2018 and 2022 and promised that donated funds would help women undergoing treatment for cancer. The FTC says that about 1% of the funds raised actually provided assistance for cancer patients and their families. 

The FTC also says that the organization paid Anderson over $775,000, which is nearly four times the amount given to cancer patients. The FTC also alleges that Anderson used funds for hotels and travel. 

“Cancer Recovery Foundation International and Anderson abused the generosity of American donors in the most egregious way” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC is committed to aggressively pursuing such illegal conduct, which hurts donors and deprives legitimate charities of needed funding. We are grateful to our state partners for joining in this effort to protect the public."

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Charity Navigator, an organization that rates charities based on their financial disclosures, gave Cancer Recovery Foundation International a zero-star rating on a zero-to-four scale. 

The organization's website is no longer active. On an archived version of its website, the foundation said its mission is to be "a major and effective international resource dedicated to empowering cancer patients and their families in the critical areas of whole-person cancer prevention, research, survival, and support."

The Women’s Cancer Fund was a program within Cancer Recovery Foundation International. Its website is also no longer functional. The program said it would provide up to $250 in cash assistance for women currently undergoing cancer treatment to put toward their utilities. 

Joining the federal government in the suit are the states of California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The FTC offers tips on its website for avoiding charity scams. 

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