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Where Does $100 to Susan G Komen Go?

When most people think of Susan G Komen and pink ribbons, they think of the organization that works to reduce breast cancer deaths by raising money to fund research and community-based educational, medical, financial, and psychosocial support services for those facing a breast cancer diagnosis.  However, there are actually two Susan G Komen organizations:

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Why The Big Picture Matters

Several years ago I started making donations to sanctuaries specializing in the rescue of animals from slaughter houses and abused “homes.”  The stories were heartbreaking and I knew my dollars were primarily going to the veterinary care of the animals, food, shelter, and the selfless staff devoted to taking care of these animals.

When a cow escapes from a slaughter house in Brooklyn, I cheer for the cow (and curse the people chasing the petrified animal) and often send a donation to the kind person who rescued the terrified animal.  So, before I go further, I want to unequivocally say these charities deserve our support because they spotlight the abuse and horrific way people treat most animals. They make us think twice about our choices.

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Top 10 Executives (MEN) at the NRA Made $10.6 Million in 2015

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) is a non-profit 501 (c) (4) organization that fights tirelessly for our second amendment rights. Whether or not you believe the second amendment refers to “militia” or “the people” has always been controversial but is even more so in the wake of the near daily occurrence of mass shootings in this country. People are speaking out for gun control because quite frankly, there are too many guns and assault weapons in the hands of the wrong people.

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Where does $100 to St. Jude’s Go?

St. Jude’s is one of the most popular non-profit organizations in the country because the charity’s mission appeals to donors:  they treat and help children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses. But, before making donations, donors should understand that St. Jude’s is actually two organizations:

  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Inc. (Hospital)
  • ALSAC – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Inc. (ALSAC)
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Who To Trust For Nutrition Advice?

Lifestyle choices are one of three aspects (the others being genetics and the environment) that greatly affect our health. We can’t pick our parents and environmental factors are not wholly within our control but we can focus on lifestyle choices that affect our health so who do we turn to for advice?

Everyone has an opinion about diet and nutrition which makes the amount of information to sift through a monumental and often overwhelming task that typically leads to confusion – which is just what the industries who are threatened by the power of nutrition want.

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Where Does $100 to the Children’s Wish Foundation International Go?

The Children’s Wish Foundation International (not to be confused with the Make a Wish Foundation) is a 501 (c) (3) based in Atlanta, Georgia. The organization (CWFI) fulfills wishes for seriously ill and terminally ill children which is enough to make almost anyone pull out their checkbook or respond to telemarketers phone calls, mailings, or internet solicitations. But, donors should think twice before donating to this organization because $51 of every $100 in revenue went towards fundraising and management expenses while only $23 out of every $100 was awarded in grants ($16 in cash grants and $7 in non-cash awards).

The Form 990 (2016 for the year beginning July 1, 21016 and ending June 30, 2017) reports key financial information including Revenue and Expenses (so you as a donor can understand where revenue came from and how revenue was spent), Assets, Liabilities, and Net Fund Assets, Grants, and Fundraising, which are analyzed below.


CWFI raised $4.3 million, almost all of which came from contributions, gifts and grants and mostly through a telemarketing firm and an auto auction company.

Expenses totaled $4.5 million and can be looked at two ways:  by general category (Grants, Program Services, Management Expenses and Fundraising Expenses) and by specific line item categories (i.e compensation-related, grants, office-related, etc). Both are beneficial with the former providing a general overview while the latter provides specific detail on where money was spent.

Expenses by Broad Category (Grants, Program Services, Management, and Fundraising Expenses)

The $4.5 million in expenses were reported in the following categories:

  • $1.8 million (or 42% of revenue):  Fundraising Costs
  • $  .4 million (or 9% of revenue):  Management Expenses
  • $1.3 million (or 30% of revenue):  Program Expenses
  • $1.0 million (or 23% of revenue):  Grants

As illustrated above, CWFI spent $200,000 more than they raised. For every $100 in revenue raised, the organization spent $104. The excess expenses were covered by the net fund assets, which had a balance of about $500,000 at year end.

Using the above information, $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 42:  Fundraising Costs

-$   9:  Management Costs

-$ 51:  Total Fundraising and Management Costs

$ 49:  Revenue Remaining

-$ 30:  Program Expenses

-$ 23:  Grants

-$  4:  Excess Expenses over Revenue

Expenses by Specific Line Item Category

  • $1.8 million (or 42% of revenue):  Fundraising Fees
  • $ .7 million (or 16% of revenue):  Compensation-related Expenses
  • $ .6 million (or 14% of revenue):  Fees for Services (i.e. accounting, legal, IT, program -no detail)
  • $ .4 million (or 9% of revenue:  Office-Related Expenses (i.e. occupancy, office, insurance, postage, travel, etc)
  • $1.0 million (or 23% of revenue):  Grants

Using the above information, $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 42:  Fundraising Fees

-$ 16:  Compensation-related Fees

-$ 14:  Fees for Services

-$  9:  Office-related Expenses

-$ 81:  Total Fundraising, Compensation, Fees for Services and Office-related Expenses

$ 19:  Amount Remaining

-$23:  Grants

-$  4: Excess Expenses over Revenue

As illustrated above, the largest line item expense for CWFI is fundraising costs with $42 out of every $100 spent on fundraising expenses.  Compensation-related expenses totaled $700,000. Although the organization reports having had 19 employees in 2017 (which equates to an average compensation of $38,000 per employee), just one employee, the President, Linda Dozoretz received more than $100,000 (Dozoretz received $246,484 in total compensation).


CWFI primarily relies on telemarketers and specifically a fundraising company called The Heritage Company based in Sherwood, Arizona who raised $2.9 million for the organization and was compensated $1 million, netting WCFI $1.9 million. CWFI also used a company called Insurance Auto Auction of Monrovia, California to sell vehicles donated to the organization.  The value of donated vehicles was about $700,000 and Insurance Auto Auction was paid $500,000, netting CWFI $200,000.  Finally, CWFI also paid approximately $300,000 in other fundraising fees.


CWFI reported the award of $1 million in grants, almost all of whom were to recipients in the United States. The organization reports that 325,000 children benefited from $681,423 in cash awards (about $2 per child) and $308,521 (about $1 per child) in non-cash grants (i.e. educational materials, school supplies, etc). These benefits are described as events held at hospitals by the staff at SWFI.  Less than $23,000 was spent on grants to recipients outside of the US.


CWFI reports having $2 million in total assets at year-end with assets concentrated in publicly-traded securities ($1.1 million), land, buildings, and equipment (nearly $400,000), and about $200,000 in cash.

Liabilities totaled $1.5 million with the organization owing $1 million on the property/office the organization operates out of and the remainder accounts payable and other expenses.

Net Fund Assets were about $500,000 at year-end with $400,000 unrestricted and $100,000 temporarily restricted.


In summation, CWFI relies heavily on an outside telemarketing firm to raise about 75% of revenue (about $3 million) and pay this firm $1 million for their services. Their secondary source is a car auction company who received in compensation about 70% of the value of the vehicle (the value of the vehicles was $700,000 and the car auction company received nearly $500,000).  Although the Form 990 states CWFI receives “65% of the net vehicle sales,” the word “net” seems to be key here. Donors would do better to sell the vehicle themselves and then make donations to the charity of their choice.

CWI only distributed about $700,000 last year in cash grant awards, which is about 16% of revenue or $16 out of every $100 received.

This non-profit pays heavily for donation dollars (and donors should not give donations through telemarketers or donate their vehicles if they want their donation proceeds to go further) and spends more on fundraising and overhead than what they give out.  The President also received nearly $250,000 last year, which appears to be excessive given the size of this small non-profit.


Find another non-profit to make your charitable dollars go further.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2016), click here.


Executive Compensation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a private non-profit 501 (c) (3) college that specializes in engineering, technology, and the sciences. Located on 300 acres in Troy, New York, RPI also has two campuses in Connecticut – in Hartford and Groton. But, what also makes this institute well-known is its inclusion on lists of most highly compensated employees.

About 7,500 students (mostly undergraduate) attend RPI where annual tuition is about $50,000 plus about $17,000 for room and board bringing the total annual cost to $67,000. However, 5,172 recipients received $122 million in tuition discounts (an average of $24,000) while 919 teaching assistants at the graduate level received $35 million in tuition discounts  (an average of $38,000 each). Of the total revenue received in 2016 ($538 million), $166 million (or 31% of revenue) was used for tuition discounts. Total expenses were $490 million (not including depreciation) which means expenses did not exceed revenue. RPI had $364 million in net fund assets at year-end. Read more »


Nothing But The Fruit™ Real Fruit Bites

Nothing But The Fruit™ Real Fruit Bites are a new snack option for kids and adults who want something sweet and tangy without added sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

Made of fruit that has been picked, puréed, and pressed into bite-sized pieces, Nothing But The Fruit™ Real Fruit Bites are vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO. There are no added preservatives, refined sweeteners, waxes, or colors, and yes, the little squares taste great…chewy, sweet, and delicious. Read more »


Executive Compensation at Duke

Duke University (Duke) is one of the most academically competitive schools in the country with an acceptance rate at about 9% of applicants.  Located in Durham, North Caroline, Duke has about 15,000 students, of which 6,500 are undergraduates. The annual tuition is about $53,000 while room and board adds another $17,000 for a total annual cost of about $70,000.

In 2016, Duke’s total revenue was $2.8 billion with most of the income coming from 3 sources: contributions, gifts, and grants ($1.4 billion), tuition and academic fees ($1 billion) and investment income/sale of assets ($0.3 billion). Expenses were $2.7 billion (not including depreciation).  At year-end, Duke had $9.2 billion in net fund assets. Read more »


Where Silicon Valley Community Foundation Spends Revenue

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) is one of the largest (in terms of dollars) donor-advised community foundations in the country, second only to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to the NY Times. Never heard of it?  Me neither until the New York Times printed an article (“Inside a Silicon Valley Charity, A Toxic Culture Festered“) about the organization’s “toxic culture” caused by the chief fund-raiser who allegedly bullied her staff while the foundation’s chief executive ignored complaints because her success at raising funds made him look good. Read more »


When in NY, Go To Divya’s Kitchen

New York is a culinary destination for everyone including the plant-based devotee whose toughest decision may very well be where to eat (this hasn’t always been the case for vegans).  There’s fast food (By Chloe, Beyond Sushi, Plantmade, Peacefood, Cinnamon Snail at the Pennsy, Superiority Burger), fancy food (Dovetail, abcV),  pizza (Double Zero), really good food (Candle Cafe, Candle 79, Candle West, Dirt Candy, Blossom, Franchia, Bodhi, The Organic Grill, Nix, Avant Garden, Urban Vegan Kitchen, Arata) and then there is Divya’s Kitchen – an East Village restaurant that is technically vegetarian although most of the selections are deliriously delicious plant-based.

Divya’s Kitchen is well-known for its culinary creations, but there is also the ambiance, and a special something for which there isn’t a word  – casual and comfortable but also elegant in a Provence type of way – that makes Divya’s Kitchen my favorite place to eat in New York. Read more »


Executive Compensation at Princeton

With all the talk about how much it costs for a college education (about $250,000 for 4 years of tuition, room, and board at the top ranked private universities including Princeton University), it seems only natural that people would start asking why a 4-year degree costs so much?  The answer isn’t as complicated as some people want you to think.

In the most simplistic terms, the answer is:  you’re supporting a huge education machine where, in the case of Princeton, half of the total expenses ($920 million of the $1.8 billion in expenses (not including depreciation) are compensation-related costs for the 14,331 employees in 2016 (an average of $64,000 each). The next largest expense categories were grants (primarily to domestic individuals for undergrad scholarships and graduate fellowships) which totaled $320 million and office-related expenses (office, occupancy, IT, insurance) which came to $195 million, and interest ($143 million). Read more »


10 Tips to Make Plant-Based Meals Better

Switching from a Standard American Diet (SAD) and/or a diet high in animal products  – where milk, butter, cheese, meat, chicken, poultry, pork, fish, processed drinks and foods high in added fats and sugar are center stage –  to a plant-based diet is difficult because if you’re not used to eating a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, then the food won’t seem satisfying or tasty at first (but within a few weeks, your taste buds adjust). So, the best way to make a successful transition is to make small changes that include the following tips: Read more »


Executive Compensation at the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society (ACS) was established in 1922 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, although there are 11 geographic divisions. As one of the most recognized non-profits in the country, generating more than $800 million a year and with $1.1 billion (!) in net fund assets, the ACS focuses on making research grants (about $170 million annually or 20% of revenue), providing patient support, prevention programs and education along with disseminating information.

To accomplish the above, ACS reported having 6,679 employees in 2016 at a total compensation cost of $455 million (which equates to an average of $68,000 each). 368 individuals received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 12 most highly compensated individuals listed below: Read more »


Best Bagels in NY: Tompkins Square Bagels

Everyone in New York and beyond has an opinion about bagels so I’m just going to put my two cents out there. Tompkins Square Bagels makes the best bagels, period. A great bagel has to be big and round, golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside and doughy on the inside – and that’s what Thompkins Square Bagels are.

With two locations (the original location at 165 Avenue A by Tompkins Square Park and 184 2nd Avenue between 11th and 12th Street) in the East Village, Tompkins Square Bagels is a neighborhood bagel shop but also a destination spot for many New Yorkers who know a good bagel when they taste one. Read more »