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April 10, 2017


$19 a Month to St. Jude’s: How Much Goes to the Kids

by Anne Paddock

St. Jude’s runs advertisements asking donors to make a monthly gift of $19 and become a “partner in hope.” $19 sounds manageable so who wouldn’t want to give a little less than twenty bucks a month to help a sick child with cancer or other life threatening disease? Judging by the tax returns submitted by St. Jude’s, a lot of people make this donation every single month. Have you ever wondered how much of that $19 is actually spent on a sick child and his or her family?

Based on the IRS Form 990’s submitted for the year ending June 30, 2015, the answer is $8.17 per month:

$19.00:  Contribution

-$ 5.51:   Fundraising Functional Expenses at ALSAC

-$ 3.99:  To Net Fund Balance (Savings at ALSAC)

-$ 9.50:  Subtotal

 $ 9.50:  Amount Remaining and Provided to the Hospital

-$ 8.17:  Hospital Functional Expenses

-$ 1.33:  To Net Fund Balance (Savings at St. Jude’s)

$ 0.00

To understand the above, it is necessary to know that St. Jude’s is actually two organizations:

  • ALSAC – St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Inc. (the fundraising arm known as ALSAC
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Inc. (the hospital/treatment arm known as St. Jude’s

ALSAC’s sole purpose is to support the hospital.  They raise funds and spend 29 cents of every dollar ($5.51 of $19) on fundraising functional expenses and keep 21 cents ($3.99 of $19) for their net fund balance, leaving 50 cents ($9.50 of $19) for the hospital. The hospital spends 43 cents ($8.17 of $19) of that dollar on functional expenses of the hospital leaving 7 cents ($1.33) for their fund balance (like a savings account).

On an annual basis, a $19 per month contribution is $228 which is spent as follows:

$228.00: Contribution

-$ 66.12: Fundraising Functional Expenses at ALSAC

-$47.88: To Net Fund Balance (Savings at ALSAC)

-$114.00: Subtotal

$114.00:  Amount Remaining and Provided to Hospital

-$98.04: Hospital Functional Expenses

-$15.96: To Net Fund Balance (Savings at St. Jude’s)

$ 0.00

As illustrated above, $98.04 of a $228 contribution is spent on the functional expenses of the hospital while $66.12 is spent on fundraising functional expenses. The two organizations did not spend $63.84 (47.88 + 15.96) opting to place these funds in their fund balance.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Linda Fisher
    Dec 29 2017

    This is so not fair to the children. I donate for the children not for the expenses and CEO’s and the wages of the staff. Something should change in this non-profit organization. How do these people sleep at night if they are supposed to be dedicated to treating and finding cures for chidren who are victims of horrible diseases? I am so disappointed in this organization.

  2. Judith Diaz
    Jan 4 2018

    This is a darn shame. I was all ready to make a New Year’s resolution to donate to this charity. It breaks my heart that I will not do so now since less than half of my donations actually go to benefit these children.

  3. Linda Fisher
    Jan 11 2018

    The CEO’s and the higher ups make way too much money. The doctors and nurses and the research teams should be the ones making money. We will donate if we know that our money is going to the important people who really do the necessary work to save children. I don’t respect that so much is wasted on huge salaries to people that don’t save lives. What is there about their jobs that is so important???? Their job cannot be more important to the research doctors and doctors that practice to save our childrens’ lives. This way imbalanced. If you want to continue to receive money from me, then your CEO and the other overpaid individuals need to have cuts in pay .

  4. Carol A Carlson
    Jan 15 2018

    People-the bottom line is that all the treatment is free!! Isn’t that what it is about-helping the children? Well, no child is turned away-how is that not good enough?As long as these people are treating kids with cancer and also doing research for free, that is good enough for me!

  5. Jan 15 2018

    Unfortunately, the bottom line is NOT that all the treatment and research are free. Donors (and insurance companies and grant providers including the government) are paying for these expenses and St Jude’s and ALSAC have a duty to use those resources to help as many as possible. The bottom line is that this is all about helping the children and they could help SO MANY MORE. Set your standards higher – for the kids.

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