For the purposes of this article, we have chosen a sampling from the many solicitations that come into DIABETES HEALTH. Many of them are reputable organizations, but one of them, National Diabetes Fund, proved to have a negative PAS (Philanthropic Advisory Service) report. PAS reports are issued by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), and a negative report means that a particular organization does not meet the CBBB’s standards for nonprofits.
National Diabetes Fund solicits under the umbrella of Project Cure, which also solicits for the Alzheimer’s Disease Fund, Center for Advanced Heart Research and the National Center for Responsible Health Care. We asked Bennett Weiner, vice-president of the CBBB, about Project Cure. Weiner told us that Project Cure never complied with repeated requests for information, even though “80% of all national groups comply with our requests.” In addition, the CBBB’s report also states that Project Cure withdrew its application for a license to solicit in Michigan after that state’s attorney-general accused the organization of failing to disclose material facts.
The CBBB has certain standards which Project Cure did not meet, such as the expectation that 50 percent of the annual income go toward program activities. In fairness, the PAS report expired at the ended of February, so DIABETES HEALTH called the telephone number given on the back of their solicitation (which is headquartered in Dallas) and were told the number was no longer in operation. The solicitation we received asks that checks be sent to a P.O. box in Topeka, Kansas.
Weiner also disclosed that Project Cure is not a charity; that is, it is not tax-exempt under the 501( c)(3) section of the tax code. Instead, it is a 501( c)(4) organization-a category which includes many lobbying groups.
A further problem for the prospective donor is that there is another charity based in Denver called Project C.U.R.E. (an acronym for the Commission on Urgent Relief and Equipment) which donates medical supplies to Third World countries. Yet another CURE, (which has a video available, called Project CURE), is based in Crown heights, New York, and works to dispel racial stereotypes. This CURE has received a lot of network television exposure.