The American Cancer Society has responded to my post about Foundation Beyond Belief getting rejected as a Relay For Life National Team:
We feel a need to address some of the comments posted on this Facebook page and a recent blog post related to the relationship between the American Cancer Society and Foundation Beyond Belief. We hope to clarify some misinformation and correct any misconceptions.
The Society has not turned down the Foundation Beyond Belief’s generous donation offer and we definitely don’t want to discourage the group’s participation in Relay For Life. We are grateful for their interest in saving lives from cancer. In fact, we continue to discuss with this group ways in which we can work together.
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. Our representative encouraged participation by the Foundation Beyond Belief at the community level, and offered to make introductions to local Relay events in communities wherever the Foundation has affiliates across the country. The Society has similar relationships with millions of individuals representing similar organizations nationwide.
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.
We sincerely hope we can find a resolution to this situation that is agreeable to all concerned , because it is clear that we all share a passion for Relay and our mission of helping people stay well, get well, find cures, and fight back against cancer. And at the end of the day, saving lives is what it is all about.
National Vice President, Relay For Life
A couple quick rebuttals:
The Society has not turned down the Foundation Beyond Belief’s generous donation offer…
I know that. I know they’re fine with taking the money. They just don’t want to give Todd Stiefel or the atheist groups recognition for raising and donating it. That’s the problem.
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…
We’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
Furthermore, there are other groups on the current National Team list which fall in the same category as the Foundation Beyond Belief. Sigma Alpha Lambda, for example, is also a “501(c)(3) non-profit leadership and honors organization.”
Mr. Johnson also doesn’t explain why there were long periods of time during which the ACS did not return Todd Stiefel’s calls/emails…
To be clear, I like Relay For Life. Hell, I may still participate in it later this year. No one is calling for a boycott or anything like that. But I’m still shocked that ACS is standing firm in a decision that would only serve to benefit everybody involved — the ACS, the atheists who would participate worldwide, the cancer researchers, etc. This is a win-win for everybody.
So why reject us?