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Editorial: When fundraising turns into a ploy for personal gain

Last month, people all over the world drummed up support and funding for a very worthy cause: breast cancer research.

From special clothing items sold on one of the acronym TV networks to pink ribbons and tchotchkes provided at many stores, a lot of organizations did what they could, to raise money for this important venture.

The NFL created special pink merchandise that was worn in its October games. The color was splashed on its jerseys and other clothing items, in a stated effort of raising money for breast cancer research.

The special NFL accessories and equipment were seen on athletes, coaches and cheerleaders alike, and the special merchandise was available to fans through the league’s online store, individual team websites and at the many NFL stadiums.

Fans were happy to hand over their money to not only wear the number of their favorite athlete, but to also send funding to the American Cancer Society. After all, the NFL claimed that 90 percent of the royalties from its sales went to the ACL.

But not all was as it seemed.

According to Business Insider, The Washington Times and Sports Illustrated, the NFL was actually pocketing most of the proceeds from the pink merchandise. When all was said and done – the manufacturer was paid, the retailer kept half and the ACS administration took its cut – only 8.01 percent of the proceeds even made it to cancer research.

Darren Rovell of ESPN reported that approximately 50 percent of the raised money went to the retailer (i.e. the NFL and its individual teams), right off the bat. The rest was divvied up, until the ACS got a small portion of the overall pot.

Of course, the NFL has made separate donations to the ACL, which is great, but the point is that this great organization seems to be caught in the middle of a great big marketing scheme.

The NFL, its distributors and manufacturers made a huge chunk of change in October, by selling special clothing in the name of raising money for cancer research.

“If fans want to show support for their team and for breast cancer awareness, that is great,” said Business Insider writer Cork Gains. “But, if the point is to actually help fight cancer, fans would have a much bigger impact if they skipped the NFL and donated directly to the ACS or other organizations working to fight cancer.”

Most of us know someone who has suffered from cancer; many of our readers have gone through this terrible disease themselves. I applaud those who donate so that cancer can one day be eradicated, once and for all. But I do not think highly of organizations that take advantage of this noble fight, to make an extra dollar.

There are many ways to donate and ensure that funding is going directly to a great cause.

The local Warm the Children endeavor is in full swing; families in our own neighborhoods need our help to have a wonderful Christmas, this year.

According to Liz Angelbeck, a member of the Hamburg Rotary, which coordinates the Warm the Children program, “Every cent donated to Warm the Children goes toward the purchase of children’s clothing. There are no administrative costs.”

How great is that? Donate to give local kids warm clothing, and know that your money is all going to be put right into the pockets of the needy.

Please help Warm the Children with this year’s program, and keep our kids from going cold, this winter.

You can make checks payable to Warm the Children and send them to Evans Bank, 5999 S. Park Ave., Hamburg, NY 14075. Make this a merry Christmas for everyone.

I would like to give a quick shout-out to a loyal fan and faithful reader, Dolly, who told us that she loves The Sun and keeps up with us on a weekly basis. Thank you for your support, Dolly, and please keep reading!

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