An Open Letter to Reuel Johnson of the American Cancer Society from Todd Stiefel

This is a guest post by Todd Stiefel. Todd is the President and Founder of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation.

For background on this letter, I suggest reading posts here and here. In short, the American Cancer Society rejected the Foundation Beyond Belief‘s National Team for this year’s Relay For Life events. There is good reason to believe that, if we had that opportunity to contribute to a National Team, atheists and Humanists around the country could have raised at least $500,000 for cancer research. In a previous post, I referred to Mr. Johnson as “Bob.” — Hemant

Reuel, I am responding to you directly regarding your post on the American Cancer Society Relay for Life page on Facebook. You made your post on September 9th and I have only waited to respond publicly because I had still been attempting to resolve this situation. Those efforts have failed and I no longer believe that this issue can be resolved so, at the very least, I feel a need to correct the spin and misinformation in your post. You have treated us unfairly, and the record needs to be set straight.

My family wanted to raise a half-million dollars for ACS and offered a $250,000 dollar challenge to ACS as a dollar-for-dollar match on all money raised by a Foundation Beyond Belief national Relay for Life team. Our motivations were simple. First, we wanted to raise money for a great cause that is extremely important to our family. My wife, father, two uncles, and countless friends are cancer survivors. Two of my grandparents, an uncle, and a great-uncle are cancer victims. This disease has tormented my family for generations. We wanted to help find a cure and better treatments.

Second, we wanted to mobilize a large and quickly growing community to help in the effort. The non-religious are one of the largest and fastest growing demographics of the American population (PDF). Relay For Life seemed like an amazing way for us to rally together for a common cause both at the local level and nationally through the ACS system of national teams. Between my family’s gift and this large community, we believed we could do amazing things in the fight against cancer.

Third, Relay itself is a wonderful event that allows for amazing grassroots activities. It is a great way for our local groups to have fun, get to know each other better, and develop as teams. It is also a wonderful way for us to reach out in positive ways to religious people in communities and demonstrate to them that we share many of the same values.

I was incredibly excited to be able to launch this effort. Initially, you agreed that FBB could have a national team, as other non-profits do. I agreed to serve as the FBB project lead on this effort and an intern was brought on to support the effort. We had a goal to recruit 100 local teams to join our national team and to make this an annual tradition. FBB also had agreement from four of the largest national atheist and humanist groups that they would support our efforts and encourage their chapters and affiliates to create teams.

Then, shockingly, you reversed directions and denied us recognition as a national team. In an email to you, I had written, “Our goal will be to raise $500k in our first year and my parents, wife and me are still planning on running a matching challenge of up to $250k from us for donations made through local teams under the national team.” In your post on Facebook, you said that ACS did not turn down our offer, but that is not true. By rejecting the national team, you did reject the offered gift as that was the key contingency on the gift being made. Of course, you had showed virtually no enthusiasm or thanks for this gift offer. When we spoke on the phone recently, you referred to the gift offer as “fine,” but did not indicate that the offer was exciting or show any appreciation whatsoever for the gift. Instead, you promptly told me that ACS would not help us track the performance of our local teams so that we could calculate how much should be matched (even though your system can do that automatically if we had a national team). Major matching challenge gifts are not “fine,” they are amazing! The first thing you say about them is how thankful you are for the gift, not how you will not allow the automatic tracking of success. As someone who has worked to raise money for non-profits, I can assure you that your strategy here was very poor for cultivating donors, unless you do not want them as donors.

Originally, you had agreed that we could have a team under the Relay non-corporate national team program. In August, after weeks of you not returning my calls and emails, I got this message from you:

Todd …. wanted to get back with you regarding the non-corporate national team program status. I had not returned your most recent phone call pending the outcome of some ongoing proposed changes. The ACS is currently undergoing a top to bottom examination of the full range of our programs — a process known as Transformation — from the governance structure to all of our initiatives and activities — due in part to the changing economic conditions and the current charitable giving climate. As part of that exercise we are looking at eliminating certain aspects of our operations in order to more effectively deploy limited financial and human capital. One of the changes is to eliminate the non-corporate national team program in order to devote these resources into programs with greater potential for growth.
Our focus for the involvement of organizations will be at the community and event level where we have demonstrated our real strength. We certainly appreciate you personal involvement and the success of your team …. and your interest in getting other teams involved through your organization. We hope that you’ll continue that effort to field teams on a community basis.
Thanks again ….
Reuel E. Johnson | National Vice President – Relay For Life

Why is there no mention of the matching gift that we had offered? Was it not important? Why are you not thanking a donor for offering a major gift that could save lives? I felt stung and appalled. I understand business reasons for eliminating programs, but I do not understand the above complete rejection of working with us on a national level and the complete ignoring of a huge donation that had been on the table. Your message basically said that ACS could not afford to help us raise money for you. There is more than a touch of irony that finances and potential growth were the reasons listed for this program suddenly being shut down, given that we were about to bring you both money and growth. In the tough “current charitable giving climate,” it is shocking to see no effort whatsoever from you towards trying to close the deal on a $250,000 matching challenge. You blew it off as if it did not matter or was unwanted. Which is it? If it mattered and was wanted, you would find a way to give recognition similar to what you give other groups.

After this message, I talked to you via phone and asked if we could have a corporate national team instead, because, in fact, Foundation Beyond Belief is a corporation. You refused. I asked how it hurts ACS for to have such a team and you refused to answer the question and dismissively told me that it was ACS decision and that we could not have a corporate team. I then asked about your youth partner national team program. You pointed out that this program was exciting and “accelerating” (I took a note of the word choice). I pointed out that we have over 400 college groups between the two national organizations that were going to help us recruit FBB teams and then I requested a youth partner team. You rejected that idea immediately and said that you were de-emphasizing that program. Which is it? Is it accelerating or being de-emphasized?

In your Facebook post, you said, “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.” The reality, Reuel, is that you moved the goal post on us. You agreed we could have a team and then rather than working with us on our matching challenge, you chose to eliminate the non-corporate national program and refused to give us any kind of other national partner team. Why? 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? The one Relay team I was on last year, the Triangle Freethought Society team, raised $23,000 alone. Did you think we could not raise enough money to justify the recognition you give to other non-profit groups even though just one of our teams is able to raise almost as much as entire national teams?

Similar groups are being offered recognition as national team partners that we are being denied. That is unfair and that is the crux of why I am upset. Further, the $250,000 matching challenge we have offered has been ignored and rejected. That hurts more than you can know. I was trying hard to do something wonderful. Instead, my efforts have been frustrated by inequity.

Let me be clear, I do not blame all of the American Cancer Society for this. Everyone else at ACS has been great, warm and supportive. It is unfortunate that we must move on, but we will find another group and save lives with a charity that shows appreciation for donors and gives equal recognition. In the “current charitable giving climate,” there are countless non-profits out there that I am sure will be very excited to work with us. I personally look very much forward to working with Foundation Beyond Belief as they help organize a national movement of charitable giving and community service by atheists, agnostics, and humanists.

I do agree with you that “saving lives is what it is all about.” I simply believe we can accomplish that and be fair at the same time.

Sincerely,
Todd Stiefel

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • benoit35

    Love how he’s taking the high road.  Not a hint of “Is it because we’re atheists?” – and yet it’s hard to find another plausible reason why ACS did this.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com Stevebowen

    Perfectly pitched response. What will it take before ACS or more specifically Mr Johnson to admit they have been caught in an act of flagrant bigotry I wonder…

  • Johannsone

    I rolled my eyes when I read “— a process known as Transformation —”
    And honestly, is it about saving lives or saving face? It takes courage to face, fight and beat cancer. The same courage it takes to stand against the majority. Cancer doesn’t stop and consider your lifestyle choices or religious convictions. It’s an equal opportunity offender. Your offer to help is similar to being diagnosed with cancer. Your odds of survival increase based on your support structure and the education of your treatment team. Sorry for your loss. 

  • Lorimakesquilts

    They didn’t quite manage to get their national team application cleaned up to match their “not a corporation” excuse … 

    “Does your company, club, association or organization offer local sponsorship opportunities with Relay For Life that may give your company additional exposure and recognition?”

    http://www.acsworkplacesolutions.com/rfl_onlineapplication.asp

    I spent most of my career as a fundraiser for a large national non-profit with an even larger international network of organizations.  A fundraiser with any kind of sense would find a way to secure this donation.  Any non-profit that is willing to reject a potential donation of $500,000 or more,  (coming from a group that has no conflict of interest with the mission of the ACS) doesn’t deserve a dime.  The cost of adding another group to the rolls for RFL is nothing more than additional consumables, the infrastructure is obviously already in place.  My family has always donated to ACS but no more.

    • Anonymous

      So not only have they lost out on $1/2 million but they’ve suffered as a result of the bad press associated with this.  Let’s hope that this is a learning experience for them.

      • Valhar2000

        The way I see it, if they are willing to lie so brazenly about this, what else are they lying (less brazenly) about? They can’t be trusted.

  • Cass Morrison

    Great letter. Hope you keep everyone up to date on further fundraising efforts so we can all donate:)

  • Mary

    This is what a small non-profit with virtually no overhead can do with a $250,000 donation: http://sarcomahelp.org/research_center/grant025.html .  Notice that the two families who gave this money are personally thanked at the bottom of the page and were also acknowledged prominently in a separate grant announcement. In additional, all conversations are handled over the phone, with much thankfulness and respect. I suggest you go to a charity that will actually appreciate and DO things with your money, unless you count paying postage and travel expenses as doing things….not to mention the ACS pays their RETIRED Deputy CEO a salary of 1.4 million. That would eat up all you can give – boom!

    • Douglas

      This rediculous misuse of funds is what put me off of The Red Cross.  During the Haiti disaster (which I realize can be considered vague and certainly ongoing) all of my money went to Doctors Without Borders and two smaller groups that my local community radio station (KPFT in Houston) was working with.  Not only is there the SIGNIFICANTLY less overhead, but I also don’t have to worry about it getting diverted to other projects as was reported with The Red Cross in regards to monies donated specifically to help families of the victims of the September 11th attacks.

  • Mary

    I think I just figured out what happened. I googled “church relay for life team” and found TONS of them. So I think the ACS gods did a quick count of how much money churches bring in and decided that it would be best not to offend them. Of course, it would be easy to come up with a suitable explanation of why they did not want to discriminate and to mention that there are hundreds of churches involved that need not be threatened by this one atheist organization that is trying to do good. But I think they just looked at the numbers and didn’t want to offend.

    • Josh Murphy

      What they SHOULD have done was to eagerly accept FBB in hopes of cultivating a competitive climate between religious & non-religious groups.  Then everyone wins!  Instead, given Reuel’s behavior (quite possibly based on personal bias), no one does.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E52AXYLITRH42ST6PDIGNVG2MM USPSAGunner

        I’m *NOT* an atheist and I think you’re absolutely correct. The goals of every team is the same; the ‘enemy’ is cancer and not the other teams. And if a little friendly competition amongst the teams spurs increased giving by everybody, that’s a good thing. I’m very disturbed by this.

    • Sulris Campbell

      i think your right.  that probably why it took them so long to return his call.  associating with athiests was just too dangerous polticaly.  still inexcusable.  it would be like saying taking money from a black person might alienate the donations i recieve from white donor so… i cant take your money.  in this society it may be practical but it is still wrong.

  • Kay S

    Does ACS receive any federal funding?  I kind of doubt it, but if so, it would seem that they ought to have their budget cut if they can afford to turn down major donations like this.  Either way, this isn’t a charity I would support–they have extremely high overhead and inflated salaries for employees. 

  • Gus Snarp

    But you know, we atheists are immoral, and we don’t donate as much as religious people do, and churches are doing so much good, never mind that the Triangle Free Thought group raised as much as some national teams. Never mind that this was to be a $500,000 donation. Here’s another place you can go with your money: microlending. Getting money into the hands of real small businesses in the developing world. These loans can get whole communities out of a cycle of dependency and poverty. And lo and behold, on Kiva.org there’s an Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists, and the Non-Religious team (http://www.kiva.org/team/atheists) and it is the all time leader in money loaned and new members, as well as the leader in money loaned this month and last, and new members last month. It lost out to the nearly as awesome Nerdfighters team for new members this month. 

    • Sulris Campbell

      his family seemed to have particular reasons to fund cancer related charites does anyone know of some good alternatives for cancer realted charities?

  • Pegsfriend

    Great letter and post.  I will be sharing and considering ACS as a no-go on future donations.  There are plenty of other ways to help.

  • b00ger

    In the words of Shakespeare by way of Richard Dawkins, “Methinks it is like a weasel.”

  • Annie

    Great letter, and I’m glad they are taking their money elsewhere.  Sadly, the ACS would have offered a great deal of positive exposure to FBB, and atheists in general.  What other organization could offer such exposure? 

    • Anonymous

      While ACS has not offered the FBB the type of exposure initially anticipated, the ACS certainly have exposed themselves. 

      What they’ve exposed is an inefficient and disingenuous bureaucracy that has lost sight of it’s mission of RAISING MONEY FOR CANCER RESEARCH and is free riding on the good name and reputation of the ACS. 

      They’ve exposed themselves as incompetent at their primary function of fundraising and exposed a bigotry and closed mindedness that will cost them a great deal more than $500k over the long term, as the growing cadre of humanistic philanthropists find better and more productive uses for their donations.  

      The sad irony here is that statistically speaking, many if not most of the molecular biologists, organic chemists, geneticists, oncologists, and research pharmacists who will with time discover the methods to roll back the cancer scourge are in fact themselves atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers. The very individuals the ACS seems to be afraid of associating with in a public way through their cowardly snubbing of FBB.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sheepmonkey Han Hills

    Outstandingly well put! I would say that some actions are unfathomable, but I think most of us can fathom their thinking quite easily. There are many and better groups that will be grateful for the money and efforts on offer. I am sure the press will have damaged them on this, and my family will certainly be looking elsewhere to donate in future.
    Good for you for following this up in such an admirable way, Todd!

  • Sailor

    Maybe this letter should be copied to all the members of the board of directors of ACS

    • Sulris Campbell

      this letter should be copies and sent to everyone. (well not really everyone but alot of people)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1285481603 Brad Feaker

    Simply put – I will never give another dime to the ACS.  I will instead donate my money to the Jimmy V Foundation who passes on 100% of monies raised directly to cancer researchers.  Blatant bigotry and discrimination…disgusting.

  • Anonymous

    Non-believers are trying to muscle in on “good works” of religious organizations. Now we can’t have any of that. It’s bad for their god’s protection racket business. 

  • http://frontrangegamers.blogspot.com/ FrontRangeGamer

    I went to the ACS contact us page and sent this email:

    Thank you for making it clear via your interactions with the Foundation Beyond Belief that you value religious bigotry above saving lives. As an Atheist, this makes decisions on where to donate money easier. Not at the ACS. Simple as that. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2011/09/28/an-open-letter-to-reuel-johnson-of-the-american-cancer-society-from-todd-stiefel/

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-Bradley/723657409 Raymond Bradley

    Well said, Todd.  We’ve lived with this type of discrimination for far too long.  It is high time to stand up, stand out, and stand together to change the climate of acceptable bigotry we have today.

  • Stephen Goeman

    Question– Should we as nonreligious students boycott relay? This prospect disturbs me as a cancer survivor, and I feel that I must choose between two very important aspects of my identity. Who will win out– the atheist or the cancer survivor– and which cause takes priority– ending discrimination or funding cancer research?

    People have been quick to point out that there are other organizations besides Relay, but Relay is a HUGE entity and has a huge presence on my campus. I definitely feel that boycotting Relay  @ Tufts would isolate our SSA affiliate from the philanthropic community, and I further feel that by not participating we would render a palpable loss in the cause.

    What do you guys think?

    Stephen Goeman, President- Tufts Freethought Society

    • Beyond Belief

      I would advocate a continued campaign of pressure on ACS, hopefully pulling in some religious groups that also recognize the bigotry and senseless loss of donations involved.  

      Give it a year of intense, coordinated pressure (Mr. Stiefel, you have an intern available already :-)  and if they won’t change, then I’d say boycott.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IP7P63JG5F2GNK3QYWW74LSXLE Todd Stiefel

      Hi Stephen,

       We do not need to choose between our identities and fighting cancer. I fully plan to continue the flight against cancer as an out freethinker, I just plan on doing it with other organizations.

      As for your decision at Tufts, that is a tough call. The issue here has all been with ACS national, not their local people. You will likely have a great experience at your local Relay. But, the money will eventually make it up the the national organization that has allowed this to happen. I think you need to look at the advantages and disadvantages specific to your group and then make a decision. You may decide the benefits outweigh the costs, and that is fine. You could also look at working to benefit a different charity this year.

      I will support whatever decision you make.

      Todd

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IP7P63JG5F2GNK3QYWW74LSXLE Todd Stiefel

      Hi Stephen,

       We do not need to choose between our identities and fighting cancer. I fully plan to continue the flight against cancer as an out freethinker, I just plan on doing it with other organizations.

      As for your decision at Tufts, that is a tough call. The issue here has all been with ACS national, not their local people. You will likely have a great experience at your local Relay. But, the money will eventually make it up the the national organization that has allowed this to happen. I think you need to look at the advantages and disadvantages specific to your group and then make a decision. You may decide the benefits outweigh the costs, and that is fine. You could also look at working to benefit a different charity this year.

      I will support whatever decision you make.

      Todd

    • http://www.facebook.com/laurie.m.marshall Laurie Marshall

      I don’t know you Stephen – but I hope you won’t protest the Relay. As Todd said in his own reply, the local groups are nothing but dedicated to finding a cure cancer and building support on the ground for that mission. It’s not a bad mission – just might have a few hard nuts to crack at the National level… I personally believe that protesting the event would bring nothing but bad publicity to your organization. The general public will only see you protesting finding a cure for cancer. Freethinkers, athiests and agnostics already have a tough time in general society, surely that kind of stigma wouldn’t help.

  • Beau53

    Seems like a lot of paranoia and conspiracy theorists here.

    • Beyond Belief

      Please elaborate what conspiracy you believe is being advocated here.

      • Ben

        Maybe they’re not bigoted, just wholly incompetent.

  • Insofaraswhat

    Nicely put, Todd, as usual.

    Mr. Johnson should have used all this energy to re-position his organization so as to include rather than exclude.

    Sure hope his flakiness doesn’t get to the mainstream media!

  • Topher Kersting

    http://www.charitywatch.org/articles/cancer.html “The famous American Cancer Society (ACS), which reaps far more contributions ($848 million in 2005) than any other cancer charity that AIP covers, is only able to get 60% of its budget to program services not related to solicitations and receives a C+ grade from AIP.” 

    I think I’d look for a charity that can give me a better bang for my buck.

  • Topher Kersting

    http://www.charitywatch.org/articles/cancer.html “The famous American Cancer Society (ACS), which reaps far more contributions ($848 million in 2005) than any other cancer charity that AIP covers, is only able to get 60% of its budget to program services not related to solicitations and receives a C+ grade from AIP.” 

    I think I’d look for a charity that can give me a better bang for my buck.

  • Annie

    I will have no problem boycotting the ACS… this is the last straw in a laundry list of issues that makes them very questionable as a charitable organization to me (I’ve already expressed most of them in past comments, so I won’t relist).

    I’m wondering, though, if looking for a high profile charity event to support is not the only way to to go.  What about looking for an important fledgling charity, one with promise to do good in the world, and throwing all of our financial backing and volunteer work at it? 

    • http://integralmath.blogspot.com/ The Justicar

      That, or do what I’ll be doing at the end of the year: donating to MSF in the name of the ACS. =^_^=

  • Anonymous

    Todd – I have done some fundraising for cancer in the past and I want to recommend to you Team in Training and Gilda’s Club. Please consider working with them!

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I am disgusted and saddened by this.
    Mr. Stiefel’s response was beautiful.

  • Felkami

    I linked this open letter on the Rachel Maddow blog. If there is a god, someone at MSNBC will recognize this as an interesting and compelling story worth investigating.

    • Sulris Campbell

      i am going to send it to the bbc

  • Steve

    Their administration costs are atrocious. There has to be a better way to get this money into appropriate research programs instead of enriching these overpaid people at ACS.

  • http://www.thealders.net/blogs Doug Alder

    ACS must have a board of directors – they have meetings – someone should try and present all this evidence to the BoD – If that were to happen I suspect Reuel Johnson will be counting him/her self amoungst the unemployed (and deservedly so) very quickly.

  • Cathy S

    If the comments made above about how ACS spends its money are accurate then I would not consider giving them any money even if they had worked with Todd very graciously. There is too much important work that needs to be done to be wasting any contributions, and from my point of view, paying any of their people, much less a retired employee, $1 million per year is a ridiculous waste.  If they think that is ok just imagine how careless they are likely to be with other expenses…..not on my precious dime.

  • http://twitter.com/kenatcb Ken_Duddle

    dont say yo are an athiest when donating. I am never asked when buying items from a shop or putting money in collection tins. But I agree that it should not matter if an organization collects as to what they represent. The charity should be more concerned with looking at the cash not who sent or raised it.

    • http://integralmath.blogspot.com/ The Justicar

      It was a sponsorship from an organization, with a public mission statement. Surely you aren’t suggesting deception, are you?

      And why not say “here’s my atheist half a million – you too bigoted to spend it on curing cancer?”

  • Sneukum

    If you specifically want to give money for cancer research, then maybe the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society would be a good place to give.  I do not know all  their policies, of course, but I do not believe they have a relgious agenda.  Although they do focus on blood cancers, many of the treatments for blood cancers end up being used for other cancer types as well.  A lot of chemotherapy medications, for example, were first used on blood cancers and then later put to use for other cancer types.  LLS also has a very well organized running/cycling/tri program for folks to raise money while training for an event.  It is called Team in Training.  I am currently training for my second event with TNT and have never encountered any religious crap. It has been a wonderful experience.

  • Anon

    I have been funded by ACS in the past and spoken at Relay events.  I had never been to a RFL event before, and I was shocked at how some clergyman was presiding over the the thing.  My talk (on cancer research) immediately followed an invocation.  Awkward!  I guess this rejection of FBB’s money confirms my fears that this wasn’t an isolated event. 

    There are other cancer grant-making charities out there that would love to have a donation of any size, from anyone. 

    Be sure this gets some press.  Something similar happened a few years back when the Christian Children’s Fund refused money in memory of Gary Gygax.  CCF quickly (sort of) apologized when the news got out. 
    http://www.gamepolitics.com/2008/11/04/children039s-charity-turns-its-back-gygax-memorial-donation

  • SuricouRaven

    They’ve managed to upset both political factions a bit too: The ACS has been getting some rather harsh criticism from pro-life organisations for continuing to (correctly) deny the popular pro-life claim that abortion causes cancer.

  • Chris

    If you’re in Ohio (or elsewhere) the Stefanie Spielman Fund is a great choice; they work with the James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State, directly funding researchers. 

  • http://integralmath.blogspot.com/ The Justicar

    Sheesh. How many not-for profits (prophets?) am I going to have to stop contributing to this year alone?  So, now it’s down to the RDFRS and MSF and a couple of local places no one’s ever heard of. I don’t know that they know I’m an atheist though. Next time I’m cutting them a check, I’ll see if I can’t work it in.

    Maybe I’ll write in the memo section “ungodly money for a holy cause”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laurie.m.marshall Laurie Marshall

    Mr. Stiefel –
    I’m so sorry for the path of destruction cancer has left in its wake in your family. I lost my mother and grandmother to cancer, and have two aunts dealing with breast cancer as well. It’s unfortunate that in this kind of fight there are still those who feel compelled to side with the “popular kids” on the playground…

    I work for a non-profit that provides financial and emotional assistance to patients and their families during their treatments, transports them if they are unable to drive, and goes into the community to deliver life-saving screenings and prevention education. Your gift would transform our organization, and we would be THRILLED to receive it… we don’t cure cancer, but we certainly serve the people who deal with it.

    I encourage you to seek out small non-profits such as my employer who are doing work on the ground to make the lives of those dealing with cancer more manageable. Or, alternatively, give to smaller organizations who are bringing attention to cancers that aren’t as “sexy” as some of the ones you see all over the media… they would welcome your donation and your dollars could make a serious difference to real people fighting this horrible disease.

    Some suggestions:
    American Brain Tumor Association – http://www.abta.org/
    Ovarian Cancer orgs… http://www.ovariancancer.org/ and http://www.ovarian.org/
    Colon Cancer Alliance – http://www.ccalliance.org/

    Thank you for your determination to make a difference in the fight against cancer in this country. I, for one, applaud and support your efforts.

    Laurie Marshall

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Schlicht/1566144898 Steve Schlicht

    Our family and friends (atheists and secular humanists) have participated as a Relay for Life team here in Biloxi for many, many years.

    We have donated thousands of dollars to the ACS and had made it our signature annual event.

    It seems as though the ACS is not going to budge on this issue and has chosen bigotry and discrimination over helping others.

    We will no longer support the ACS and will find a better, more reasonable and inclusive medical charity to donate to in the future in order to help those with cancer and to fund research into new treatments and cures.

    Steve Schlicht
    Biloxi MS

    The Great Southern Humanist Society and Friends

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1603664102603.2070660.1566144898&type=1&l=459bd45728

  • Greg – Boston Atheist

    If you have not done so, you should look at SUTC (Stand Up To Cancer) they are a great non-profit organized to collaborate all cancer research rather than all charities doing their own work independently of other researchers and results already being found elsewhere.  I don’t know their ‘religious’ viewpoints, but have had good luck working with them myself. 


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