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April 30, 2023

Where Does $100 to JDRF Go (2021)

by Anne Paddock

JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) claims to be the “leading global organization funding Type 1 diabetes research” which would appear to mean that JDRF is either awarding most revenue raised to research grants or conducting the research themselves, neither of which seems to be the case.

So, if you donated $100 to JDRF in 2021, how were those dollars spent?  The short answer is that that only $13 was awarded in grants and $2 in outreach fees, about $34 was used to compensate employees, pay office expenses, fees and advertising and promotion costs, and about $50 was allocated to the general fund (think savings account as JDRF appears to be more focused on growing their endowment than allocating funds to research).

So, no matter how JDRF spins research dollars (the website claims they “drew” hundreds of millions in funds for research in 2021 and refer to this as “leverage’ – definitely one of the more creative ways of talking about other peoples/organizations money instead of focusing on the revenue JDRF raised and the money JDRF spent on research; This is like the American Heart Association writing about how they get other people/organizations to contribute to heart disease research instead of addressing what the American Heart Association raised and allocated to heart research), the actual amount of revenue allocated to grants ($29 million out of $223 million raised) and outreach programs ($5 million out of $223 million raised) was about 15% (based on the Form 990 for the year ending June 30, 2021).

In fact, over the last three years, 13-37% of total revenue raised was awarded in grants:

  • In 2021, JDRF reported total revenue of $223 million and awarded $29 million in grants;
  • In 2020, JDRF reported total revenue of $213 million and awarded $69 million in grants; and
  • In 2019, JDRF reported total revenue of $239 million and awarded $89 million in grants.

JDRF is a tax-exempt non-profit based in New York City with about 750 employees (who were compensated $53 million in 2021).  Overseen by 15 independent voting members (board members) of the governing body (board), the JDRF reported total revenue of $223 million in 2021, most of which came from contributions, gifts and grants – including $10 million in grants from the government, compared to $213 million in 2020.

Expenses totaled $110 million (not including $5 million in depreciation) and can be categorized as follows:

  • $53 million (or 24% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $29 million (or 13% of revenue):  Grants
  • $15 million (or 7% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $ 5 million (or 2% of revenue):  Outreach Program Expenses
  • $ 4 million (or 2% of revenue):  Fees for Services (primarily consultants)
  • $ 3 million (or 1% of revenue):  Advertising and Promotion
  • $ 1 million (less than 1% of revenue):  Other Expenses

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

$100:  Revenue

-$ 13:  Grants

-$  2:  Outreach Program Expenses

-$ 15:  Subtotal Grants and Outreach Program Expenses

 $ 85:  Revene Remaining

-$ 24:  Compensation

-$  7:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  2:  Fees for Services (primarily consultants)

-$  1:  Advertising and Promotion

-$ 34:  Subtotal Compensation, Office, Fees, Advertising and Promotion

$ 51:  Revenue Remaining:  To General Fund

As illustrated above, $15 out of every $100 was spent on research and outreach program expenses while $34 out of every $100 was spent on organizational expenses that primarily include compensation and office-related expenses.  More than half of revenue – $51 out of every $100 – was NOT spent and instead placed in the general fund.  JDRF could argue that allocating funds to the general fund allows the organization to invest funds to grow the fund which can then allocate funds to research but that approach is not being touted on their website.  Instead, some readers including myself interpret the information on the website to mean that most revenue raised by JDRF is allocated to research, which is simply not true based on the information reported to the IRS on the Form 990.

JDRF made $20 million in grants to domestic organizations and $9 million in grants to foreign organizations.  Nearly all of the $9 million in foreign grants were for research and were primarily made in North America, Europe, and East Asia and the Pacific (note:  the specific foreign grant recipients are not reported on the Form 990).

61 domestic organizations (50 501 C 3’s and 11 other organizations) received grants larger than $5,000 with the largest grant recipients reported to be:

  • $4.0 million:  Harvard College, of Boston, MA for beta cell replacement
  • $1.9 million:  UC, San Francisco, CA for immunotherapies
  • $1.8 million:  U of Colorado, of Denver, CO for prevention
  • $1.7 million:  University of Minnesota, of Minneapolis, MN for artificial pancreas
  • $1.4 million:  Physiologic Devices, of Alpine, CA for artificial pancreas
  • $1.3 million: Avel, of Sioux Falls, SC for psychosocial
  • $1.3 million:  Tidepool, of Palo Alto, CA for artificial pancreas
  • $1.3 million:  The Brigham and Women’s Hospital, of Boston, MA for mission
  • $1.2 million:  University of Michigan, of Ann Arbor, MI for beta cell replacement
  • $1.1 million:  IBM, of Armonk, NY for prevention

At year-end, JDRF reported net assets (the amount left over after paying all bills) of $261 million, compared to $134 million at the beginning of the year. This improvement was primarily due to not spending more than half the revenue raised in 2021.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2020 for the year ending June 30, 2021), click here.

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