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Blackberry's avatar

Do you think it's possible the American Cancer Society would turn down a $250,000 donation because it's from a non-theist organization?

Asked by Blackberry (29709 points ) October 11th, 2011

I really wouldn’t want to believe ideology is more important than lives and research, but who knows…

What do you think?

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27 Answers

perspicacious's avatar

No. I think they would take money from the devil himself.

blueiiznh's avatar

ACS said they couldn’t participate as a national team, not that they couldn’t participate (or donate) at all.
Sounds like someone is just miffed because they found out that money can’t buy you everything.
I checked the ACS website and it does state that to be a National Team, you had to be a business.
They would have something to bitch about if ACS allowed religious groups to be National Teams but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
They can still participate as individual teams…so I guess I really don’t see where the problem is.

wundayatta's avatar

Anyone know what the difference between a corporate national team is and a non-profit team? What’s the difference between a national team and a local team?

Why would you have rules like this that would make it difficult to accept a very large donation? Why wouldn’t you bend over backwards in order to get half a million dollars for your organization? Maybe money doesn’t mean that much any more. But if so, why do any fundraising at all?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

It also says that several other non-profit organizations have teams, and that this particular foundation sought alternative ways to participate… and it also specifically says that other non-profit organizations use those alternative methods, as well.

Dunno. Seems questionable to me.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I work for ACS and I have no info on this specifically but it’s quite unlike them to refuse money.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir they did not refuse the money. They just refused to let the organization participate in any way on a national level. They said they would take the money, though, at some point. Not sure, judging from the article, they seemed to change their story a lot.

digitalimpression's avatar

That entire article is sketchy at best.

This is at the very beginning of the article…
“I’ll say this clearly, right up front: The American Cancer Society did not explicitly reject a massive donation offer from a non-theistic organization on the basis of it being a non-theistic organization.”

So what’s the problem?

ragingloli's avatar

Yes. It is certainly possible.

BhacSsylan's avatar

For those of you calling this “sketchy”, here’s the story from the man himself, with links to the earlier story and actual responses from ACS: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2011/09/28/an-open-letter-to-reuel-johnson-of-the-american-cancer-society-from-todd-stiefel/

And, specifically: “You claimed in your post that FBB is not a “corporate entity” even though you knew that was false because I had explained to you on the phone that FBB is a corporation. If you prefer your corporate program be for businesses, why could we not have a youth partner team instead? That is what you offer to other foundations and student groups, yet, contrary to your post on Facebook, you did not offer us this equal treatment. Instead, you offered to work with us in many different ways, but none that would give us equal recognition.

You have youth partner national teams for student honor societies with far fewer chapters than we have. What is different about us such that we do not deserve similar recognition? One of your current youth national team partners, Sigma Alpha Lambda, had 39 teams last year and raised $28,000. That is amazing and they deserve congratulations and recognition for their achievement. Why can we not get the same opportunities that you give to them? Another youth national team is the Girl Scouts of America. They raised an impressive $82,000 last year with 182 teams. Youth national team Phi Theta Kappa raised $119,000. Kroger, a national corporate team, raised $52,000. Those are all wonderful achievements. FBB would have been raising far more than any of these figures, yet we were rejected from getting the recognition as a national team partner that is given to them. How is that fair?”

@digitalimpression Care to read the rest of the article? So, something is only ever bad if you come out and attack someone explicitly?

fundevogel's avatar

@digitalimpression And voting tests didn’t explicitly ban black voters. So what’s the problem?

Blackberry's avatar

There are posts from people expressing their disappointment with the ACS on their own Facebook page. Ouch…..

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Blackberry I bet they come out with an official statement soon, since this story seems to be spreading.

Blackberry's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf I should have clarified in the details, but there’s still no valid reason why they couldn’t let them participate on a national level with the others. Like it said in @BhacSsylan‘s link, besides getting the money, it would have been a great opportunity to bridge a gap.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Well, they technically have come out with an official statement. Though I likewise hope they’ll come out with a non-weasely one soon.

digitalimpression's avatar

@BhacSsylan I read as much of the article as I could stomach. It was written poorly and sounded like rubbish. I’m just not sure why everyone is so damned sensitive these days. xD
So they didn’t take your money… and this little piggy went…....

@fundevogel Voting Tests?

@ANef_is_Enuf I’d definitely be more interested in something a bit more official..

Obviously something shady happened.. I’m just not ready to light a bunch of torches and go chasing ACS without some more substantial data.

fundevogel's avatar

@digitalimpression Yes, voting tests. Once black Americans were granted suffrage many southern states created voting tests. You had to pass a test to vote and since the vast majority of black Americans had been slaves and not had the privilege of being educated the tests were very effective at preventing black people from being able to vote. Of course it didn’t explicitly make it illegal for black people to vote, but it effectively did. Especially when they went out of their way to give black people much harder questions than white people, like asking them to recite sections of the Constitution and such.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@digitalimpression Here is the official response, it says nothing: https://www.facebook.com/notes/american-cancer-society-relay-for-life/an-open-letter-to-our-relay-for-life-friends/10150278676561640

And contains this gem: “The Foundation sought to participate in Relay For Life’s National Team Program, which is a program for corporate donors and supporters. The Foundation Beyond Belief is not a corporate entity, so our representative offered alternatives to the National Team Program that are consistent with the way in which Relay For Life works with other foundations, student groups, social and philosophical organizations, and other types of groups across the country that do not meet the criteria of the National Team Program.” Which is incorrect, given that they are a corporate entity, and that they were not given the chance to participate as a student group.

And this:“It is true that there are some recognition benefits available only to groups that are part of the National Team Program, and it is regrettable that some people may feel offended that the Foundation Beyond Belief would not be eligible to take advantage of those benefits. In managing Relay For Life, with thousands of community events and millions of passionate participants nationwide, we strive to deal fairly and consistently with everyone.”

Aka “we’re sorry you’re offended, we will continue to do nothing.”

And I’m sorry we’re so offended! Why can’t those underrepresented groups just all shut up and stop caring so much!

digitalimpression's avatar

@fundevogel Nice bit of history. The difference between that and this is pretty obvious though.

The vagueness and zomg-I’m-treading-on-a-lake-of-thin-ice-edness of ACS’ response seems in keeping with the finest traditions of any organization interested in protecting its image. This behavior exists because people are so sensitive imho. Look, I’m obviously biased because super sensitivity makes me want to slap someone. xD

@BhacSsylan What in hell does your name mean? (I’ll have to check it out.. sorry, off-topic) Back on track: Hmm.. I guess “see above” response to @fundevogel ?

BhacSsylan's avatar

@digitalimpression When that writing is used to attempt to deflect blame for bigotry it still sucks. From that ‘poorly written article’: “If this were happening with any other organization—if it were a Jewish charitable foundation, an African-American one, an LGBT one, that had tried to give the American Cancer Society a $250,000 matching offer and had gotten shot down—would you be responding the same way? Would you be mad at the Jews, the African Americans, the queers, for calling attention to it? Or would you be writing enraged letters to the ACS, saying, “WTF? My aunt has cancer, I donate $500 a year to the American Cancer Society—and you’re turning down $500,000 because the money comes from a segment of society that some people don’t like?””

And it’s original to my writing, and as it’s unpublished work you probably won’t find much beyond my online presence elsewhere. And, apparently, the Beacon Hill Athletic Clubs. No relation.

digitalimpression's avatar

@BhacSsylan Ok, well that clears up the randomness of your name. =)

As far as the topic: I simply would like to see more tangible evidence before this rumor-esque article is immediately accepted as fact. If it turns out that they denied them simply because of their affiliation with non-belief then it is clearly unfair. I’m not denying that.

BhacSsylan's avatar

So, you’ll only be convinced of wrongdoing if ACS comes out and says “Yup, it’s totally because we hate atheists”? Despite the fact that I and that article linked to actual responses and communications between ACS and Stiefel? And that they have had many opportunities to explain why they were not given recognition and have yet to give any reason that isn’t false?

And to be clear, I don’t think the ACS as a whole, or even many of it’s staff hate atheists. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if none do. Doesn’t make this any less of a problem.

fundevogel's avatar

@digitalimpression My point was that discrimination doesn’t have to be explicit. And in this day in age it rarely is. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and certainly doesn’t mean that we don’t have to worry about it.

Your attitude towards this seems cavalier, as if so long as there isn’t clear mustache twirling villainy there isn’t a problem. That isn’t how the world works.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@fundevogel To be fair, you at least have an excellent mustache for twirling. Well, Heinz Christofel does, but my non-point still stands!

fundevogel's avatar

@BhacSsylan Why thank you kind sir. I do like a good mustache twirling.

digitalimpression's avatar

@BhacSsylan I never said ACS was the final word.. but some random internet news page certainly isn’t either.

@fundevogel Your point is well documented.. no one is disputing that. Thanks for letting me know how the world works though. Until now I’ve been just sort of .. shooting from the hip.

blueiiznh's avatar

All the links are mere rhetoric.
As @ANef_is_Enuf and others have stated, they can still participate and donate if they really want to. All the articles I have read make me feel like there is an alernative agenda to simply giving. I guess there heart is somewhere else as opposed to the cause.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@blueiiznh Yes, they can, and then be denied the same representation given to every other group that fits the same category. And why?

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