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November 17, 2014


Where does your $1 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Go?

by Anne Paddock

If you’ve participated in any of the thousands of fund-raising activities for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or shopped at CVS, TargetPottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Brooks Brothers, GNC, Claire’s, or Kmart, then you’ve probably been asked at the cash register to make a donation to the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. More than likely, you’ve said yes, as evidenced by the $976 million (nearly $1 billion) collected by the ALSAC (American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities) – the fundraising organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – for the year ending June 30, 2013.

You may have been told that 100% of your donation goes to the hospital or patients (I was told this) but that does not appear to be accurate because ALSAC does not give the total donation to the hospital (based on their income tax filing). Of the $976 million collected by ALSAC, $488 million (50%) went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital while $278 million (29%) went to functional expenses (which include salaries, wages, benefits, mailings, campaign expenses, travel, and more including $3.3 million to 8 key employees for program services, management, and fundraising). The remaining $210 million (21%) went into their fund balance, which had $2.8 billion at year-end (most of which is in cash and securities).

In other words, for every $1 received, 50 cents went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital while 29 cents went to pay ALSAC’s functional expenses and 21 cents was added their fund balance.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital received a total of $695 million for the year ending June 30, 2013. $488 million (70%) came from ALSAC along with $104 million (15%) from patients, $84 million (12%) from government grants and contributions, $10 million (1.5%) from other contributions, gifts, and grants, and $10 million (1.5%) from other sources, such as patents, licensing, cafeteria, vending machines,etc.

Functional expenses for the hospital were $654 million, most of which – $374 million (57%) – were salaries and management compensation-related expenses (note: $7.8 million was paid to 11 key highly compensated employees which equates to about $700 thousand each). Also reported: $93 million (14%) in other expenses (no detail provided on the tax return), $65 million (10%) on laboratory and pharmaceutical supplies, $21 million (3%) on occupancy, $10 million (1.5%) on IT, $10 million (1.5%) on travel, $5 million (1%) on legal, and more.

In other words, the hospital used that 50 cents as follows: about 28 cents for salaries and compensation-related expenses, 7 cents on other expenses, 5 cents on laboratory and pharmaceutical supplies, and 10 cents on all other expenses (occupancy, IT, travel, legal, accounting, interest, office, telephone, etc).

In summary:

 $1.00:  Contribution

-$0.29:  Functional expenses at ALSAC

-$0.21:  Added to fund balance at ALSAC

$0.50:  Given to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

-$0.28:  Salaries and compensation-related expenses

-$0.07:  Other expenses

-$0.05:  Laboratory and Pharmaceutical supplies

-$0.10:  Occupancy, IT, travel, legal, accounting, interest, office, telephone, etc


Given that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a “research, treatment and educational center,” high salary expenses are to be expected because the primary services are labor intensive. Of course, there are pharmaceuticals, lab and surgical supplies but these expenses pale in comparison to the human labor cost. Smart, talented, and hard-working employees need to be well compensated or they will go elsewhere.

Most people don’t have a problem making a contribution to pay these expenses but they may take issue with having their charitable dollars pay some of the management and functional fees (see Part IX: Statement of Functional Expenses on Form 990) – especially those of the fundraising arm, ALSAC. When functional expenses of a fundraising arm account for 29% of donated dollars, you have to ask how efficient the fundraising really is? The counter argument is that they spent 29 cents and got back $1, netting 71 cents (giving 50 cents to the hospital), although the question of whether they could have spent less to get the same dollars (and thereby contributing more to the hospital) also needs to be asked.  But the bigger questions are:  why did ALSAC add $210 million to their fund balance and why keep $2.8 billion in a fund balance instead of giving more to the hospital to assist more children and families?

There is also the issue of what many cashiers soliciting donations at the cash register of numerous retailers tell inquisitive customers: that their total contribution is going to the hospital. The tax returns tell a different story. But, this is not to say the hospital does not do great work – they do but as a donor, I want more than 50% of my contribution to go to the hospital and, although I don’t like being solicited at grocery or retail stores, I want to be told the truth if I ask where a donation goes.

Still inclined to make that donation? To make your charity dollars go further, consider writing a check payable to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Inc. requesting the check not be processed through ALSAC or that the donation be restricted to research, doctor, or nursing staff – and sending the check directly to the hospital:

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

262 Danny Thomas Way

Memphis, TN  38105

All of the above figures were obtained from the IRS Form 990 filed by both entities:  ALSAC and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Inc. To access and review this information click on the links below:

Form 990 ALSAC for the year ending June 30, 2013

Form 990 St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Inc. for the year ending June 30, 2013

65 Comments Post a comment
  1. Don Wagner
    Nov 11 2015

    Thank you, I’ll send mine to Danny Thomas Way.

  2. JulieSue goldwasser
    Nov 28 2015

    I’m just finding this now…thank you!! As the mother of a 5 yr old cancer survivor, it angers and frustrates me so much this time of year when I think about all the consumers wasting money and all the companies thinking they’re making a difference.

  3. Melissa
    Feb 26 2016

    From the STORE that participates in the donation fundraising 100% goes to being donatedl. What happens to it afterwards is up for the company who handles the charity and then the charity itself. You’d be ridiculous to think that money doesn’t go towards paying for the, you know, research. Which means paying the workers. And the people working to collect the donations and keep everything in track. 😕

  4. Feb 26 2016

    Melissa: Really. Did you read the IRS Form 990 submitted by St Jude and ALSAC? Every dollar has 29 cents taken out for fundraising costs. Then they kept 21% which amounted to $210 million and added those funds to their fund balance which had a $2.8 billion (yes, billion..not million) balance at year-end. $1 minus $0.29 minus $0.21 leaves 50 cents. which goes to the hospital to pay for salaries, lab, pharmaceutical and other expenses. These numbers were reported by St. Jude’s so maybe you should click on the link in the post and read the tax return they submitted to the IRS. The bottom line is that if you don’t want 50 cents of every dollar going to the hospital, then don’t make the donation.

    Your statement “what happens to it afterwards is up for the company who handles the charity and then the charity itself” is exactly right and that’s exactly what was written in the post.

  5. Mar 4 2016

    And after all the money I have donated to them!

  6. gary angel
    Mar 27 2016

    almost all tv fundraising a ripoff..just show a cute in wheelchair,kid in hosp.,kid skin and bones. and sad voiced crying actor and money rolls in..on sun send money god will save you ..did not know he took money to do that,thought he did it for free,,sell on ebay.there everbody and his dog have thier hands out..most of thier cos get more then the pres of usa,,red cross co over 600,000 and 98 ice storm here in north country came in slow and so much paperwork not much got done..the salvation army had thier doors open the next day.think ther co 175,000,,watch out where your money goes,google up info

  7. Sheila Ferrell
    Jun 23 2016

    While I agree with most of your figures regarding the expenses of St.Jude’s Children’s Hospital – I do not agree with your ‘slant’.
    By ‘slight-of-word’ you deftly vilified the obvious expenses – (which by the way,is publicly available to anyone) so that, most of the resonses you recieved display aggrevation & shock.

    You did however, point out the necessary, justifiable costs of services provided by doctors & staff.

    My main problem with your article is your failure to point out in any detail other than the word ‘travel’, exactly what travel expenses encompass.
    These facts should be included as a reminder: St.Jude pays for every expense to the family of a child – getting to the hospital from any location and a place to live while the child is in care. Per diem, if you will.

    Administrative costs are a necessary evil – but if you put those necessities on the scale against the services provided to each child, which includes but is not limited to having the parent(s) near, the scale would be much heavier on the child’s side.

    This is, assuming you go along 100% with these forms of research & treatment for cancer & other illness.

    If you want to REALLY find a fault in the system – take a look at pharmaceuticals and invasively damaging cancer treatments vs natural cancer remedies & cures.
    Now there’s something to outraged about.

  8. Jun 24 2016

    1. The figures are those reported by St. Jude’s and ALSAC (NOT mine) and are NOT a matter of disagreement or agreement. They are what they are.

    2. Most of the responses received display aggravation and shock because that is what readers are feeling after realizing that only 50 cents of every dollar raised ($488 million of the $976 million) went to St. Jude’s. That ALSAC spent the remaining 29 cents ($288 million – which includes $4.4 million to 9 fundraising staff including nearly $1 million to an ex-officio Director) on fundraising and put 21% (or $210 million) in their fund balance (which ALREADY had $2.6 billion in it) instead of helping more families is reason to display frustration, especially after being told by fundraisers that “it all goes directly to the hospital.” I would think this would outrage you, too. At a minimum, retailers should be telling donors who ask: “50 cents of every dollar raised goes to the hospital. We spent 29 cents on fundraising and put 21 cents in savings.” That’s the truth.

    3. People are also frustrated because they believed what they were told and thought their dollars were going directly to the hospital when, in fact, this is not true. Unfortunately most people don’t have the time to read 100 pages of tax returns submitted by these organizations, although they should. One of the reasons this post was written is so that people who don’t have the time or simply don’t understand how to read a tax return, understand where their dollar is going. Although these organizations make this information publicly available, as you correctly point out, they may not know where to look or how to decipher the numbers. The post not only explains the numbers but gives the reader a link to the tax returns.

    3. As for travel, ALSAC spent $6.8 million on travel, $5.7 million of which was for fundraising and administrative staff and $1.1 million on fundraising “program” travel. St. Jude’s spent $10 million on travel, $9.5 million of which was on “program” travel while $0.5 million was on administrative travel. Of the total amount spent on travel ($16.8 million), about 60% was spent on “program” travel expenses which includes family travel. Again, I would think that the fact that they spent nearly as much on travel for fundraisers and administrative staff as for families would outrage you.

    4. Administrative costs are “a necessary evil” and putting them on a scale and weighing them against a child’s health is exactly what needs to be done as the numbers tell a different story. St. Jude’s does great things but they could do so much better. When ALSAC took $210 million and added it to their fund balance (which already had $2.6 BILLION, not million) instead of helping maybe another 200 or 400 children and their families, I would argue the scale is tipped in the wrong direction. Again, how can this not outrage you?

    5. The post was not written to find fault but to inform the public and donors where their dollars are going and to help those who can’t or don’t read the 990 or understand how St Jude’s and ALSAC are spending donor dollars. And, its not a matter of finding fault in a system but pointing out what a non-profit is telling the public at the retail level and what they are reporting to the IRS. Pharmaceuticals (which are mostly public or private companies and not non-profits that rely on donor dollars) have their faults but for you to not be outraged that only 50 cents of every dollar raised is going to St. Jude’s (despite being told by retailers and fundraisers that most of the money raised goes to the hospital) is baffling.

    6. If you think the post vilifies St. Jude’s and ALSAC then your outrage should be directed at them because the numbers are theirs. They do good things but they could do so much better.

  9. Jaime Price
    Aug 5 2016

    How dare you. .83 cents of every dollar goes to the children and families. And if 100% all did who would care for patients, volunteers? If you haven’t been a patient there don’t put out rhetoric that points a negative finger towards their fundraising efforts. Thank God some of my donations go to administrative support. I’m so grateful a portiongoes towards staff that had 0 turnover in all of our departmentstore and clinics. And thank goodness donors aren’t ignorant to the fact that there are other costs involved. Use your time more wisely.

  10. Aug 5 2016

    NO, 83 cents of every dollar DOES NOT go to the children and families. In fact, only 50 cents of every dollar raised goes to the hospital. Read the IRS Form 990 submitted by St. Jude’s and ALSAC and if you don’t understand it, ask someone with an accounting background to explain it. Being a patient there has nothing to do with the financial information submitted to the IRS. Do yourself a favor and use your time wisely by reading the IRS Form 990 before drawing inaccurate generalizations.

  11. Robert Leon
    Aug 9 2016

    What should we do then with our estate. $1,500.000 was to go to St Jude? Specify the Danny Thomas address specifically? And what is ALSAC saving up for, 2 billion?? shouldnt that be used to take care of more kids and families?

  12. Aug 9 2016

    I don’t know why they have to have billions in their fund balance. Excellent question! As for your estate, I cannot advise you on that and would refer you to an attorney who specializes in estate planning.

  13. Chris Cox
    Aug 23 2016

    Thanks for your helpful info. I was sent some mailing labels and was going to cut a check but have since changed my mind.

  14. Pat Eroh
    Sep 3 2016

    Jaime Price – stick your head in the sand or go to the IRS forms and see for yourself. Stop making up numbers as if just saying it will make it true.

    When a fundraising organization takes more than 20% – I do not donate. This one takes 50%.
    I will find an organization that will use my money to actually help children and families. It is disgusting that any organization will keep half of your money to end up in billions that they just “hold”? That infuriates me and I’m just thankful that I check these organizations out before I send money.

    By the way, I don’t send money to televangelists. I do support my pastor but if he is driving around in an expensive car and living in a luxurious house – as I know SOME are, I would not donate to them. God does NOT need money to save as one person pointed out.

  15. Sep 4 2016

    Pat Eroh: Well said..a voice of reason, logic, and truth.

  16. Michael Sills
    Sep 16 2016

    It says 83 cents of every dollar received goes to the hospital which probably is true on their 3 yr avg. Keyword is RECIEVED. They only receive 50 cents of every dollar.

  17. Sep 16 2016

    The IRS FORM 990 reports that the hospital only received 50 cents of every dollar raised by ALSAC in 2013. The post does not cover prior years or 3 year averages, although the tax returns show that the hospital received 50 cents of every dollar raised in 2013 and 2014 (see below).

    If you look at the IRS Form 990’s for 2014 for ALSAC and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, you will see that $1.1 billion ($1,120,403,518 exactly) was raised and $530 million ($530,494,893 exactly) was given to the hospital, which is slightly less than 50%….so they appear to be consistent in that they give 50 cents of every dollar raised. They spent $307 million on expenses (salaries, office, accounting, fundraising, etc) and “kept” $283 million and added it their fund balance which now has $3.3 BILLION. I can’t help but think the $283 million could help a lot of sick kids instead of adding to the fundraising entities balance sheet.

    As for what the hospital does with the 50 cents it receives, the below chart is from the post.

    $1.00: Contribution

    -$0.29: Functional expenses at ALSAC

    -$0.21: Added to fund balance at ALSAC

    $0.50: Given to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital

    -$0.28: Salaries and compensation-related expenses

    -$0.07: Other expenses

    -$0.05: Laboratory and Pharmaceutical supplies

    -$0.10: Occupancy, IT, travel, legal, accounting, interest, office, telephone, etc


    In other words, 56% of the funds received from ALSAC are spent on salaries and compensation-related expenses, 14% on other expenses, 10% on Laboratory and Pharmaceutical supplies, and 20% on occupancy, IT travel, legal, accounting, etc. So, where anyone gets 83% is beyond me.

    And, finally I will reiterate a key point of the post: Donors who ask how much of their donation is going to the hospital should be told the truth based on what is reported to the IRS (and not carefully chosen words to deflect the truth): 29 cents of your $1 donation is going to pay for fundraising costs, 50 cents to the hospital, and 21 cents into ALSAC’s fund balance (not the hospital’s fund balance).

  18. Brian
    Oct 4 2016

    Anne, as a long time donor to St. Jude’s, thank you for the post. Question: I donate to St. Jude’s through the United Way Campaign at my job. Is it reasonable to assume my donation is going from my paycheck to United Way, United Way to ALSAC, and then ALSAC to St. Jude’s. If so, is it also reasonable to assume that aside from the .29 / .21 that ALSAC is retaining, that United Way is also retaining some type of administrative charge?

  19. Oct 4 2016

    Yes, Brian..your assumptions are reasonable – and not what a lot of people realize. United Way does a lot of great things for communities nationwide but they take about 25 cents of every dollar (and this is consistent nationwide if you look at the 990’s). So, the $1 you give to United Way nets to 75 cents. If United Way gave your 75 cents to ALSAC, then ALSAC would use 22 cents (29%) to pay for fundraising costs, put 16 cents (21%) into their fund balance which would leave 37 cents to go to the hospital. 63 cents of your donation went to pay administrative and fundraising costs at United Way and ALSAC, and into ALSAC’s fund balance. Of that 37 cents that went to the hospital, yes…a portion does go to pay administrative costs (management, occupancy, accounting, IT, travel, etc).

  20. Christine Marranco
    Nov 5 2016

    Anne and Brian, it’s sadly true that any money donated to a charity via United Way receives very few of those funds. About 15 years ago, I was donating to a charity via United Way and later discovered that I was wasting nearly every cent due to those reasonable assumptions. Nowadays I consider my donations carefully due to a restricted budget and tend to research everything beforehand. Better safe than sorry. In fact, researching St. Jude’s (and how donations are meted out) was exactly how I found this webpage. Therefore, I think I will just write a check and send it to the hospital directly. Thank you for the enlightening article, Anne.

  21. Nov 5 2016

    Thank you Christine.

    There are also local non-profits in your community where a larger portion of dollars are used to help those targeted. To find out who these non-profits are go to and look up your local United Way and then click on the IRS 990 form to see where United Way gave donated dollars (United Way lists every recipient of $5,000 or more). Then, look at the individual local non-profits and see where they spend their dollars (again, look at their IRS Form 990’s). By doing this, you bypass United Way and the 25% (approximate) they take off the top to cover their administrative overhead which allows more to go directly to recipients and programs helping the targeted recipients.

    St. Jude’s does a lot of really good things but they take a very large portion of funds raised through ALSAC (50%) and they have billions in the bank. Just how many billions they need is also a question that comes up. Is it better for them to have $3 billion in the bank or $2 billion and help a lot more children and families?

  22. Janet Ledoux
    Nov 22 2016

    The way to donate, according to this, is directly to the hospital and not through their fundraiser, then all of your money goes to St. Jude’s. That is stated at the end you need to request that it not go through ALSAC then they cannot take their share.

  23. Nov 22 2016

    If you don’t want 50 cents of every dollar raised by ALSAC used to cover fundraising (29 cents) or to go into their fund balance (21 cents) which has $2.8 billion, then you can try to donate directly to the hospital and specify where you want the funds allocated.

  24. Lynelle Martinez
    Nov 22 2016

    Excellent article, and I thank you so much for the information! I, too, received my address labels and letter. Of course I want to help. Thanks to your in-depth research and the time you took to write your post, I now know how I will direct my donation. Thanks again!

  25. Nov 22 2016

    Thank you Lynelle.

  26. Peggy
    Nov 22 2016

    I have never understood why people donate to St. Jude’s. Donate to the Children’s Hospital in the city in which you live. Most, if not all Children’s Hospitals belong to organizations that share research with other hospitals around the country and therefor have a larger input base for research and protocols. St. Jude’s advertises that no one pays… But if you have a sick child you are not going to hop on a plane and spend 6 months away from home for that treatment, instead you will be at a local Children’s Hospital. Help them instead. By the way, St. Jude’s belongs to some of these organization so the research is not just happening in their hospital but is being assisted by many other hospitals.

  27. Nov 22 2016

    Good point, Peggy!

  28. Brian
    Nov 23 2016

    Peggy, point well taken. However, I have first hand knowledge of an 8 year girl with brain cancer who sought treatment at our local children’s hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic. She was told there was nothing more they could for her. St. Jude’s took her case, and yes, she and her mother spent 9 months at St. Jude’s. That little girl is now 16 years old and cancer free. I can appreciate your position to support local resources, and I do that as well. But as a father of 2 girls myself, every time I see that cancer free girl, I can’t help but think of what St. Jude’s did for that family.

  29. Nov 23 2016

    And, Brian..just think how many more children and families St. Jude’s could help with the more than $3 billion they have in net assets.

  30. Marilyn G
    Nov 28 2016

    Thank you for the information on where the donations for St Judes actually go. I find it deplorable that the execs of these “charitable ” organizations make outrageous salaries. Unfortunately, this is common and an almost accepted practice.
    I had considered sending the monthly $19. Your article changed my mind.

  31. Nov 28 2016

    Thank you for reading the post, Marilyn. For years, I, too didn’t realize where my donations were spent but after the cashier told me that 100% of my donation went to the hospital, I decided to do some research and found the truth was something quite different. The sad thing is that it’s not just ALSAC and St. Jude’s, it’s also the Salvation Army, The March of Dimes, The American Heart Association, United Way, and many more.

  32. Erwin Hickman
    Dec 9 2016

    So basically st. Jude’s children research hospital is a money-maker mostly for others besides the children at st. Jude Hospital that’s disgusting they should be shut down

  33. Michelle Beck
    Dec 9 2016

    Just donate directly to the hospital. Make check payable to: St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Way, Memphis, TN 38105. Request that your check not be processed through ALSAC or be restricted to research, doctor or nursing staff.

  34. Rhasied
    Dec 22 2016

    Thank you all for making it clear to me on how the money is spent. I do understand that we have to pay for some services that the children are receiving. But 50% is a bit much. We have people whom volunteer and never receive a dime so why does the few that are getting paid gets so much. I will for sure mail my donation in from now on. It is not about getting paid it is about the children and what we can do to help make the parents not have to worry about the cost for treatment.

  35. Marilyn Maffet
    Jan 2 2017

    What is the 2.8 billion dollar fund balance being used or intended for. Is it for construction,equipment, etc.?

  36. Jan 2 2017

    The $2.8 billion on the balance sheet of ALSAC (the fundraising arm – not the hospital) is primarily made up of cash and securities totaling $2.7 billion. The remaining $100 million includes $78 million for land, buildings, and equipment, $5 million for prepaid expenses, $1 million for inventory, $1 million for accounts receivable, etc.

    Your question: “What is the $2.8 billion fund balance being used or intended for?” by a non-profit whose primary mission is to raise money is an interesting question. Every donor should be asking why more funds are not going to the hospital to help children and families?

    Construction and equipment assets will primarily be seen on the balance sheet of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital – not ALSAC, the fundraising entity.

  37. Tim Sanders
    Jan 7 2017

    Do NOT waste your charity dollars on these scammers. All they want is your money. My company made the mistake of making them our “Charity of Choice”. They promise you a cheap T-Shirt if you give them $100. I earned them 4 times that, and shocker, for my $400 plus, they were all out of cheap t-shirts. If they’re THAT incompetent in managing simple t-shirts, how do think they are at managing children’s healthcare?

  38. Allen Hosticka
    Jan 17 2017

    Anne both organizations do not have $3 bil in assets. ALSAC has $3 Bil in cash and investments as you correctly point out. St Jude’s does not. The $3 bil other asset on St Jude’s books is its subsidiary ALSAC. Still a lot of money sitting around but only half as much as you suggest.

  39. Jan 17 2017

    Allen: ALSAC is not a subsidiary but it does have an interest in the assets of ALSAC. The net fund balance (total assets less liabilities) of ALSAC were $2.8 billion at FYE 2013, $3.3 billion at FYE 2014, and $3.5 billion at FYE 2015. St Jude’s had a NET fund balance (total assets less liabilities) of $3 billion at FYE 2013, $3.6 billion at FYE 2014, and $3.7 billion at FYE 2015. If you net all of the above out, ALSAC had $2.8 billion while St. Jude’s had $200 million in net fund assets in 2013, $3.3 billion while St. Jude’s had $300 million in net fund assets in 2014, and $3.5 billion while St. Jude’s had $200 million in 2015.

    The bottom line: Between both organizations, there is nearly $4 billion in net assets that could be used to help more children and families.

  40. Allen Hosticka
    Jan 17 2017

    Anne, #1 read what I wrote. The $3 bil other asset on St Jude’s balance sheet is ALSAC. ALSAC is a subsidiary of St Jude’s.

    #2 look at page 121 and you will see that $3 bil of St Jude’s $4 bil in assets is ALSAC.

    St Jude’s biggest asset is ALSAC which = $3 bil
    ALSAC biggest asset is money which = $3 bil
    There is only one stock pile of $3bil cash and investments. Why so much I do not know, but I have sent an email to St Jude’s asking. I agree it seems like way too much. I agree their fundraising expenditures are too high. I am just adjust the level of outrageous stockpile of cash.

  41. Jan 17 2017

    Yes, Allen….St. Jude’s has a beneficial interest in the assets of ALSAC …you are correct, but they are not a subsidiary. My point is this: the bottom line is that the two organizations have nearly $4 billion in net fund assets which could be used to help more children and families. They also need to reduce fundraising costs and tell people the truth when asked where donation dollars go.

  42. Allen Hosticka
    Jan 17 2017

    We now agree on (1)one $3 billion+ pile of cash held by St Jude’s and its affiliate ALSAC.
    I will let you know if St Jude’s answers my inquiry as to its purpose.

  43. Jan 17 2017

    As I previously wrote, there is about $4 billion between the two organizations in net fund assets.

  44. Jan 26 2017

    Sad to hear this. Makes me second guess if I’m giving to the right charity. I love what they are doing as an organization but wish more of my money went to the actual research and cure.

  45. Jan 27 2017

    I think nearly everyone loves what they are doing for children and families. If they would just reduce their fundraising costs at ALSAC and spend the few hundred million they put in their fund balance (that has billions) helping more kids…..

  46. Nate
    Jan 29 2017

    This is on St. Jude Website:

    As a children’s research hospital, St. Jude must be able to provide lifesaving care to patients regardless of economic fluctuations, and this necessitates we maintain a reserve fund. At the core of our mission is our ability to research and treat life-threatening childhood diseases for the patients who come through our doors today as well as the children who will need us in the future. The reserve fund consists of restricted funds that we cannot use and are legally required to maintain in perpetuity according to donor stipulations, and unrestricted funds that we could use in times of economic stress to ensure we can meet the hospital’s operating costs for approximately 1.5 years.

  47. Jan 29 2017

    Nate: And, the IRS Forms 990 submitted by ALSAC and the hospital to the IRS reveal the following:

    For the year ending June 30, 2015, the hospital had $680 million in functional expenses (does not include non-cash charges of depreciation and $4 million in grants to outside organizations which conceivably would not be granted if the hospital did not receive funds in a specific year). Hence 1.5 times $680 million is about $1 billion.

    The two organizations – ALSAC and the hospital – had $3.8 billion in the net fund balance as of June 30, 2015 of which $1 billion is restricted, leaving $2.8 billion in net fund assets unrestricted.

    Still seems to me they could spend more helping children and families and still cover the operating costs of the hospital for 1.5 years and not touch their restricted assets.

    See or the ALSAC and St.Jude’s website to review the 2015 IRS Form 990’s.

    Feb 9 2017

    Thank you Anne for the extensive research on ALSAC-St.Jude. I’m still a bit confused about donating to St.Jude Hospital exclusively. Would that money still go through ALSAC for their 50% cut?

  49. Feb 9 2017

    I don’t know. If you want to donate (and I say that because the hospital does really good things but they could do so much more by helping more sick children instead of keeping nearly $4 billion, of which only $1 billion is restricted, in their net fund balance), you can request that your funds not be processed through ALSAC and make the check payable to “St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Inc.” and that the funds be restricted to a specific use. But the choice is yours. St. Jude’s (both organizations) won’t change unless their donors call them out on this (and the high fundraising costs…they spend 29 cents of every $1 on the functional expenses at ALSAC, the fundraising arm).

    For me, I won’t donate because I don’t want 50 cent of every $1 going to fundraising and into a fund account.

  50. Mystica
    Mar 13 2017

    I decided to look up St. Jude Children’s Research on Charity Navigator and I was not pleased to find out that when you donate:
    73% goes to the cause
    10.8% goes to administrative purposes
    16.1% goes to fundraising
    I understand that these Doctors and Scientist all need to be paid but come on! How about we reduce the fundraising and the administrative and put more towards the cause.
    Samaritan’s Purse donates 87.7% to the cause, 4.6% to administrative and 7.5% to fundraising (although that number should also be lower).
    How heart breaking.
    Thanks Anne for your very informative post. It has made it crystal clear to me.
    Next time I will try to check on a charity before I start donating.

  51. Mar 14 2017

    Thank you. What you have to understand is that the tax returns TELL US: 50 cents of every dollar donated goes towards fundraising (29 cents) and the fund balance (21 cents) at ALSAC. Of the 50 cents that reaches St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 43 cents is spent while 7 cents goes into their savings account.

    You may want to look a little closer at Samaritan’s Purse. The IRS Form 990 (2015) for Samaritan’s Purse shows that the organization raised $594 million in 2015 and spent $504 million in 3 areas: grants ($223 million), salaries and benefits ($99 million), and other expenses ($183 million). They retained $88 million (15% of revenue) in their fund balance which had a balance of $386 million at year-end. Why they didn’t use the $88 million to help more people instead of putting in their “savings account” has to be asked. It is also noteworthy to note Samaritan’s Purse paid W Franklin Graham, III $822,145 (chairman, president) in compensation, and that the organization pays for First Class or Charter travel for staff and companions, personal services (maid, chauffeur, chef), and housing allowance for personal use. And, finally it is important to note that there are 8 relatives of Mr. Graham who are on the board and/or receive compensation or benefits from the organization.

  52. Gerald
    Mar 14 2017

    A few months ago I made a one-time donation to st. Jude’s. With that donation I included a letter making a statement that this was a one-time donation only. As my income is $1,032 a month and I cannot afford continuation of such donations. I included in the letter my sincerest concerns about no further solicitation. I have been inundated with mail and request for money every sense. I regret giving them money and it’s actions like st. Jude’s that make people leery of doing so. I am ashamed of st. Jude’s and there disregard of the letter that I sent. So I plan on being one of the social media people who brings the story to everyone who can read it.

  53. Mystica
    Mar 19 2017

    Another one bites the dust!
    Goodbye Samaritan’s Purse.
    Thanks for the eye opening information Anne. I feel like such a fool.
    I will donate to Halifax Urban Ministries, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Our Daily Bread (although I am not pleased with the 15.6% that goes to administrative funding. I would like to see that going to the cause, which is at 81.3% and 3% to fundraising.
    Very informative article and I thank you for your prompt response.

  54. Mar 20 2017

    Be wary of what an organization says on their site with regards to where the money is spent…best to always read the IRS Form 990. Non-profits place their expenses in three categories: program, management, and fundraising. So, you have to look at the numbers that make up the three categories and see if the organization uses first class or charter travel, pays for club fees, companion travel, etc.

    Generally speaking, Food Banks have much lower fundraising and management costs. See the analysis of Palm Beach County Food Bank.

  55. Luke
    Apr 6 2017

    Check how much the executive staff of this non-profit company makes before donating! Millions! $$$

  56. Apr 7 2017

    Here is the link to the executive salaries:

  57. daniel
    Apr 26 2017

    did you contact St Jude or Charity Navigator ? the latter provide a different read than your research would indicate!

  58. Apr 26 2017

    “My research” are the tax returns submitted by ALSAC and St. Jude’s to the IRS. It doesn’t get any more real than that. I think the question you should be asking or digging into is how St. Jude’s computes their numbers; and what charity navigator bases their conclusions on.

  59. daniel
    Apr 26 2017

    Thanks for the quick reply. I did send an email to both and waiting for answers. This year I took the time to investigate my charity giving through Charity Navigator and overall it is not very encouraging. Very few organizations are in fact tracked by them. I would have to change the way I give money and convey the money face-to-face with a local organizations or with an individual i can trust.

  60. Apr 26 2017

    Nothing replaces doing your homework and that includes reading and analyzing the IRS Form 990 of any organization that you are considering donating money to. No matter what their answers are, the bottom line is that if you read St. Jude’s and ALSAC’s IRS Form 990’s (and these are THEIR numbers), it is indisputable that 29 cents of every dollar is used to cover fundraising costs (it’s there in black and white), 21 cents is saved (they now have more than $3 billion in their fund balance), and 50 cents goes to the hospital (again, it’s all there in black and white and indisputable).

  61. Apr 26 2017

    You may also be interested in reading about the most recent analysis BASED on the tax returns:

  62. daniel
    Apr 26 2017

    most interesting – did you receive any mail/ notices / corrections/ objections from St Judes? did you sent them your analysis with an opportunity to respond?

  63. Apr 26 2017

    No and No. I would think it would be very difficult to dispute information they submitted to the IRS. Again, the numbers are not mine but ones they submitted to the IRS. You really should look at the 990’s.

  64. daniel
    Apr 26 2017

    i will look at the 990 – but you did correct? so the next step if you would want to foment changes would be to ask St Judes for comments! or start a petition on! – otherwise it remains quite confidential with no leverage – my take only of course.

  65. Apr 27 2017

    The IRS Form 990 is what it is. The numbers are what they are. My posts are a public service (I pay for the costs to support the site and don’t take advertising) because the public, supporters and potential donors should know the truth. I have to disagree on your conclusion that “it remains confidential with no leverage” as my site gets a lot of traffic from these posts. That said, my goal is not to lead a crusade against St. Jude’s via communication or a petition but to simply inform the public that St. Jude’s does good things but they could do so much more (i.e. why aren’t they helping more children and families with the $3 billion in their net fund balance? And, why do they continue to put hundreds of millions in their fund balance every year instead of helping more kids?). Feel free to contact St. Jude’s or start a petition but I highly doubt they will answer your questions using the specific numbers they submitted to the IRS on the Form 990.

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