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January 9, 2017

Where does $1 to Teleton go?

by Anne Paddock

Fundacion Teleton USA is primarily known as Teleton – a Texas-based 501 (c) (3) whose stated mission is to “raise critical funds and awareness to inspire a more inclusive, accepting world for children with disabilities and their families.” Specifically, Teleton raises funds “to build and support the Children’s Rehabilitation Institute of Teleton USA (CRIT), which assists children with neurological and musculoskeletel disorders, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, genetic disorders, and amputations.” In other words, Teleton raises funds to help kids but exactly how much goes to the kids? About 25 cents of every dollar, according to the most recent financial information (2014 IRS Form 990).

If you contributed $1 to Teleton in 2014, this is how the dollar was spent:

$1.00:  Contribution

-$0.28: Fundraising and Advertising

-$0.09: Travel

-$0.05: Outside Services

-$0.03: Office and Miscellaneous

-$0.45: Subtotal Expenses

$0.55:  Amount Remaining

-$0.25: Grants and Assistance to Organizations

 $0.30: Amount Remaining – Placed in Fund Balance (like a savings account)

Teleton was established in the USA in 2012 and opened the doors of CRIT in San Antonio, Texas in 2014.  The organization is one of 13 non-profit organizations that make up ORITEL, which is also known as the International Telethons Organization.  Teleton’s biggest fundraiser is the annual 30 hour-long show every December that features celebrities, patients, and their families.

Revenue Analysis

In 2014, Teleton raised $17.4 million, most of which was raised through the 30 hour telethon held in December.

They spent $8 million (45 cents of every dollar) on fundraising, travel, outside services, office, and miscellaneous expenses, leaving $9.4 million (55 cents of every dollar).

$5.1 million (30 cents of every dollar) was neither spent nor granted to other organizations. These funds were added to the fund balance which totaled $34.3 million at year-end (up from $28.5 million from the previous year).

$4.3 million (or 25 cents of every dollar) was given in grants and other assistance – most ($2 million in cash and $1.7 million in non-cash assistance  in the form of furniture, equipment, computers, and vehicles for a total of $3.7 million) of which went to a related organization called Sistema Infantil Teleton USA (SIT) for start-up costs. Teleton entered into a 5 year lease agreement with SIT for the facility in San Antonio, Texas.

The $3.7 million to SIT was spent as follows:

$3.7 million: Received from Teleton

-$1.4 million: Compensation and Benefits (a third of which is for management and fundraising) and Recruiting

-$0.5 million: Office, Security, Cleaning, Supplies, Travel, Conferences, Advertising, Legal

-$1.9 million:  Subtotal of Compensation and Operating Expenses

$1.8 million: Amount Remaining

-$0.1 million: Grants and Assistance to other organizations (most of which went to Professionals Associated for Children’s Benefit whose CEO is Ricardo Guzman Hefferan who is also the VP for SIT

$1.7 million:  Amount Remaining (equipment, furniture, computers, vehicles)

The bottom line is that Teleton raised more than $17 million in 2014. They kept $5 million for their fund balance, spent $8 million on fundraising and other operating costs, and gave $4.3 million in grants and other assistance primarily to a related organization that is leasing the CRIT facility in San Antonio. In other words, 45 cents of every dollar was spent on fundraising and operating costs, 30 cents was saved, and 25 cents was used for grants to give to a related organization to assist the children the organization is raising money for. Sounds convoluted? It is.

To read a copy of Teleton’s 2014 IRS Form 990, click here.

To read a copy of Sistema Infantil Teleton USA 2014 Form 990, click here.

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