The Livestrong Foundation, a cancer charity, is being sued for questionable practices by donors who say they want their money back.
Former supporters and donors are saying that Livestrong uses their funds for frivolous and self-serving ends according to The Daily Mail.
“I thought a lot of it was actually going to these cutting-edge research mini-grants, you know, to help these promising studies that were going on,” former donor Michael Birdsong told CBS News.
The Daily Mail states that Birdsong is part of a group of jilted former supporters now preparing to take Livestrong to court in an effort to get their money returned.
Birdsong estimates that he has donated about $50,000 and helped to solicit even more, and is now looking to get that back.
Katherine McLane, a Livestrong spokesperson, stated that Birdsong’s “confusion” is not uncommon.
“It sort of mischaracterizes what everyone in this building does,” McLane said of the notion her organization funds research. “We’re not sending money to labs to fund research, although we recognize that is tremendously important.”
The Daily Mail stated that instead of research, Livestrong says it offers free advice, counseling, referrals, and other services.
According to McLane, their work has helped improve the lives of 2.5 million cancer survivors and their families.
While Livestrong maintains that Birdsong was aware of the organization’s mission, Birdsong says he had no idea when he began donating to the foundation in 2007.
‘It’s like when you find out there is no Santa Claus, along those lines, you know,’ he said.
According to CBS News, Birdsong continued on to say “I gave you this money, and worked for you and asked other people for this money in good faith,” he said. “We were suckers. We got taken. That’s the way sometimes we feel about it.”
When Birdsong, and others like him, asked for a refund of their money, they were denied.
The CBS News report continued on to say that McLane acknowledged, “There is a small, tiny percentage of people who have asked for their money back. We invest the funds that donors entrust to us into programs and services that help survivors get access to care and a better quality of life. And we don’t pull those investments out.”
Do you think the Livestrong donors are right to demand their money back?