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How Good Is The Lance Armstrong Charity?

That's upto you to judge. For a start, Charitywatch.org doesn't recognize it in its list of top cancer charities with their AIP ratings. Charity Navigator, on the other hand, gives it 2 stars for efficiency rating. In 2008, the same was just 1 star, as I documented here. As you can note from both records, CN's overall rating for LAF has dropped from 52.49 in 2008 to 51.40 in 2009. Is that drop significant? Up to you to decide.

Now some of you might say stars don't say much, rating systems are flawed etc etc. So I delved into LAF's financial statements for the past 4-5 years and plugged all numbers into Excel, making log plots of the consolidated dollars.

Some interesting tidbits noted were :

1) The 2007-2008 report isn't very inclusive about where it's program expenses are going, unlike past years where audits stated explicitly how many x and y dollars went for research, education, community, survivorship etc. Not sure why there is inconsistency is the categorizations of the reportings.

2) An Investment Income Loss of $8,873,485 in 2008.

3) In 2004-2005 report, the amount in revenue coming from "Contributions" for 2005 was $18,613,337. In the 2005-2006 report, the same was changed to $17,804,842 with no reasons mentioned, so I'm not sure what's going on.

4) Different from other years, the 2007-2008 report mentions $324,016 and $997,955 as going to expenses for "Government Relations" for 2007 and 2008 respectively. Again, I'm not sure what this 'relationship' consists of. It'd be kind of nice to know for donors and others alike.

5) "Entertainment" is among the things mentioned as Functional Expenses. As you can see in the graph attached , it seems like a decent figure is going every year for entertainment, although the trend is cyclic over the 5 year period. Is there any harm in breaking it down for the public? Was it for Food? Music? Alcohol?


Be merry. Here are the numbers, all sourced from LAF.org Feel free to point errors, flaws etc. What would be interesting is comparing these numbers to other prominent charities in the country. What would also be interesting is to see the numbers for 2009. From the way LAF has been making these records public, looks like that won't happen until late 2010!

Image of spreadsheet for the dollars : http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/1529/lafexcel.png
(Some data for certain items is excluded only because I did not see an explicit mention for the item in the statements for certain years.) If you want to play around with the spreadsheet yourself, let me know.

lafassetsliabi.png


lafrevenue.png


laffunctionalexpenses.png


lafprogramexpenses.png
 
sars1981 said:
I dont know. But who cares? This is a doping forum, Armstrongs charity should be irrelevant.

Agreed, all I will ask is to keep it in context. One of the BIG reasons Lance cited for his comeback was a global cancer awareness campaign. The LAF is part and parcel of said campaign. Cyclists in majority contribute to the fund because the messenger (& messiah) is a cyclist. It wouldn't hurt to know the money trail, both for givers and warring parties.
 

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sars1981 said:
I dont know. But who cares? This is a doping forum, Armstrongs charity should be irrelevant.

+1.

I have pretty strong views on the 'Livestrong' branding and Demand Media association - but I don't think there is anything wrong with the LAF.
I would assume its ratings fluctuate (somewhat) every year as various initiatives are funded and as contributions come in.

Perhaps it would have been better put in the General Section.
 
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Investment loss = Och not doing his job
Travel = jet fuel

A simple way to clear up this up is a better explanation of the program expenses...something you will never see.
 
Dr. Maserati said:
+1.

I have pretty strong views on the 'Livestrong' branding and Demand Media association - but I don't think there is anything wrong with the LAF.
I would assume its ratings fluctuate (somewhat) every year as various initiatives are funded and as contributions come in.

Whether revenues to LAF.org have increased in any manner from the Demand Media-LA partnership at LAF.com may be answered by looking at LAF.org's financial statements. Isnt this the reason often cited for the ".com" business - to divert traffic to the ".org" website.

Like it or not, cancer is big business for drug companies and "awareness" companies alike. If cancer is eliminated, what then I wonder...:confused: Fear not, there's different types of cancer to keep people employed for a long time. Why? The reality : Little has changed in cancer death rates from the 1950's while death rates from heart disease and stroke have dropped significantly.
 
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here is an interesting program

Livestrong day: Wear Yellow Day on LIVESTRONGTM Day and encouraged friends,family, neighbors and coworkers to do the same.

Nike way to get people to buy Nike stuff

BTW, "Government Relations" is another word for Lobbying expenses. Good thing Lance has a great relationship with a nice company call Public Strategies. They did a great job making up dirt on Lemond and are in the same building as Armstrong's office.
 
Race Radio said:
Investment loss = Och not doing his job
Travel = jet fuel

A simple way to clear up this up is a better explanation of the program expenses...something you will never see.

LAF spends a decent amount of its budget on advertising. Media like CNN recognize Lance Armstrong as perhaps the most famous cancer survivor. Will that go a long way in terms of raising funds for cancer? We all hope it would, don't we?

This below graphic from an NYTimes archive shows that lesser known cancer organizations are providing a majority of the funds to cancer research. And the people who fight with you over LA's doping seem to think that Lance Armstrong and LAF are the one's spearheading the fight. Its clearly not true, nor are they the only ones doing something about it. Inspite of these millions being poured in, the NYTimes reported that "the death rate for cancer, adjusted for the size and age of the population, dropped only 5 percent from 1950 to 2005. In contrast, the death rate for heart disease dropped 64 percent in that time, and for flu and pneumonia, it fell 58 percent."

28cancergraficenlarge.jpg
 
Race Radio said:
here is an interesting program

Livestrong day: Wear Yellow Day on LIVESTRONGTM Day and encouraged friends,family, neighbors and coworkers to do the same.

Nike way to get people to buy Nike stuff

BTW, "Government Relations" is another word for Lobbying expenses. Good thing Lance has a great relationship with a nice company call Public Strategies. They did a great job making up dirt on Lemond and are in the same building as Armstrong's office.

Interesting. Lobbying became dulled to a euphemistic "relations". What did LAF lobby for? Why was lobby money not reflected in the statements for the previous years 2003-2006?
 
The numbers for some relevant items. Observe how in the retirement years, merchandize revenue crashed from pre-2006 levels and picked up a little again in 2008. Same goes for royalty fees, it woke up in 2008 and it was a big jump. Also note almost half a million dollars in travel expenditure in 2008. Jet fuel?

lafexcel.png


The revenue plot showing contributions for 2007-2008.

lafrevenue.png


Also, LAF's program activities in 07-08 feature much abstraction of details. Like how much was spent on research, on community and survivorship etc...

lafprogramactivities.png
 
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Cozy Beehive said:

Nice work with this image. Note the Research, Community and Survivorship all stopped in 2006. The 3 most vital aspects. Without these 3 existing, one could make a solid argument that the fund only exists to further the benefits of your anointed messiah (your chosen title). Cough cough! Good trolling. But the LAF kept the expenses up beyond 2006. Why? What no research or community support? Come up with more accurate data in future champ.
 
Galic Ho said:
Nice work with this image. Note the Research, Community and Survivorship all stopped in 2006. The 3 most vital aspects.....Come up with more accurate data in future champ.

If you go back to my initial posting, I wrote : "Some data for certain items is excluded only because I did not see an explicit mention for the item in the statements for certain years."

Which is true. The 2007-2008 financial statement, unlike past year's statements, doesn't explicitly mention how much money went for research, survivorship and community. Without that, I cannot assume that x and y amount of money went towards these efforts, although it may have in reality (Note that I did not say it didn't). So using insufficient data to plot a graph is not something I want to do. The amount of money going towards these efforts may have increased, sky rocketed, maybe even plummeted, hard to say.

Maybe you'd like to help me find how much money went for those efforts and it's just a matter of plugging the numbers in. However, I certainly did not see any in the financial statement as Post# 13 shows (see Program Activities)
 
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Cozy Beehive said:
If you go back to my initial posting, I wrote : "Some data for certain items is excluded only because I did not see an explicit mention for the item in the statements for certain years."

Which is true. The 2007-2008 financial statement, unlike past year's statements, doesn't explicitly mention how much money went for research, survivorship and community. Without that, I cannot assume that x and y amount of money went towards these efforts, although it may have in reality (Note that I did not say it didn't). So using insufficient data to plot a graph is not something I want to do. The amount of money going towards these efforts may have increased, sky rocketed, maybe even plummeted, hard to say.

Maybe you'd like to help me find how much money went for those efforts and it's just a matter of plugging the numbers in. However, I certainly did not see any in the financial statement as Post# 13 shows (see Program Activities)

I for one appreciate the information. Great posts!
 

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It will be interesting to see how "Lance's Comeback"
will impact the 2009 numbers.

There is still time to make a 2009 tax-deductable donation,
it just takes about a minute to do:

http://www.livestrong.org/site/c.khLXK1PxHmF/b.2661025/k.C0A6/Donate.htm#


"Thank you for your recent contribution to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Today, nearly 10 million people are living with cancer and chances are you know one of them. The LAF helps people with cancer focus on living; we believe knowledge is power and attitude is everything. By supporting the LAF, you help provide the practical information and tools they need to live life on their own terms.

To fulfill our mission, the LAF relies on the dedicated support of donors like you. With your generous contribution, we are able to serve our mission through the following:

Advocacy - The LAF is increasing awareness, encouraging the government to take action, and addressing the health policy concerns of people battling cancer and their families.

Public Health - The LAF plans, develops and funds programs that provide support and services for people living with cancer and their families. The LAF also informs cancer patients, health care professionals and the public about the physical, emotional and practical issues that people face in their battle with cancer. Through livestrong.org we provide the information and resources people need to live life on their own terms.

Research - The LAF supports scientific and clinical research that seeks to better understand the physical, emotional and practical effects and challenges of living with cancer.
Thank you for supporting our work. For more information, please feel free to visit our website or contact us at 512.236.8820.


Sincerely,



Doug Ulman, President"
 
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Cozy Beehive said:
If you go back to my initial posting, I wrote : "Some data for certain items is excluded only because I did not see an explicit mention for the item in the statements for certain years."

Which is true. The 2007-2008 financial statement, unlike past year's statements, doesn't explicitly mention how much money went for research, survivorship and community. Without that, I cannot assume that x and y amount of money went towards these efforts, although it may have in reality (Note that I did not say it didn't). So using insufficient data to plot a graph is not something I want to do. The amount of money going towards these efforts may have increased, sky rocketed, maybe even plummeted, hard to say.

Maybe you'd like to help me find how much money went for those efforts and it's just a matter of plugging the numbers in. However, I certainly did not see any in the financial statement as Post# 13 shows (see Program Activities)

Considering I have a financial background I am rather concerned about the bold. As I said, the three most vital aspects, in theory the very reason the foundation was created, are either non existent or deliberately left out. It raises more questions than were answered. Considering my background, I like to get down to the nitty gritty details and not just the generic financial statements, ie: the detailed specifics.

Considering I probably won't like what I find, I'll leave it alone. Its the new year in a few hours here in Australia, I've better things to do than focus on another Lance related event/issue. Happy new year.
 
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Wow, nice work on getting all this info together. But another part of me is saying, man, you have way too much free time on your hands. With two kids I barely have time to get on the bike!

Cozy's chart mentioned that Pres. Nixon declared war on cancer in 1971. But I guess D**kstrong wouldn't have been a good slogan to use for a cancer foundation. :p
 
Galic Ho said:
Considering I have a financial background I am rather concerned about the bold. As I said, the three most vital aspects, in theory the very reason the foundation was created, are either non existent or deliberately left out. It raises more questions than were answered. Considering my background, I like to get down to the nitty gritty details and not just the generic financial statements, ie: the detailed specifics.

Considering I probably won't like what I find, I'll leave it alone. Its the new year in a few hours here in Australia, I've better things to do than focus on another Lance related event/issue. Happy new year.

The bold quote is not to be misunderstood, althought I should have worded it better. I meant I did not find explicit details of how much money went towards "Research" alone, "Surivorship" alone and how much they gave to the "Community". Happy new year.
 
Cozy Beehive said:
Whether revenues to LAF.org have increased in any manner from the Demand Media-LA partnership at LAF.com may be answered by looking at LAF.org's financial statements. Isnt this the reason often cited for the ".com" business - to divert traffic to the ".org" website.

Like it or not, cancer is big business for drug companies and "awareness" companies alike. If cancer is eliminated, what then I wonder...:confused: Fear not, there's different types of cancer to keep people employed for a long time. Why? The reality : Little has changed in cancer death rates from the 1950's while death rates from heart disease and stroke have dropped significantly.

Cosy you should read this article printed today in London: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/02/cancer-positive-thinking-barbara-ehrenreich

Its very good.

An except:

The first thing I discovered as I waded out into the relevant sites is that not everyone views the disease with horror and dread. Instead, the appropriate attitude is upbeat and even eagerly acquisitive. There is, I found, a significant market for all things breast cancer-related. You can dress in pink-beribboned sweatshirts, denim shirts, pyjamas, lingerie, aprons, shoelaces and socks; accessorise with pink rhinestone brooches, scarves, caps, earrings and bracelets; and brighten up your home with breast cancer candles, coffee mugs, wind chimes and night-lights. "Awareness" beats secrecy and stigma, of course, but I couldn't help noticing that the existential space in which a friend had earnestly advised me to "confront [my] mortality" bore a striking resemblance to a shopping centre.

"Breast cancer, I can now report, did not make me prettier or stronger, more feminine or spiritual. What it gave me, if you want to call this a "gift", was a very personal, agonising encounter with an ideological force in American culture that I had not been aware of before – one that encourages us to deny reality, submit cheerfully to misfortune and blame only ourselves for our fate."
 
Good article

thehog said:
Cosy you should read this article printed today in London: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/02/cancer-positive-thinking-barbara-ehrenreich

Its very good.

An except:

The first thing I discovered as I waded out into the relevant sites is that not everyone views the disease with horror and dread. Instead, the appropriate attitude is upbeat and even eagerly acquisitive. There is, I found, a significant market for all things breast cancer-related. You can dress in pink-beribboned sweatshirts, denim shirts, pyjamas, lingerie, aprons, shoelaces and socks; accessorise with pink rhinestone brooches, scarves, caps, earrings and bracelets; and brighten up your home with breast cancer candles, coffee mugs, wind chimes and night-lights. "Awareness" beats secrecy and stigma, of course, but I couldn't help noticing that the existential space in which a friend had earnestly advised me to "confront [my] mortality" bore a striking resemblance to a shopping centre.

"Breast cancer, I can now report, did not make me prettier or stronger, more feminine or spiritual. What it gave me, if you want to call this a "gift", was a very personal, agonising encounter with an ideological force in American culture that I had not been aware of before – one that encourages us to deny reality, submit cheerfully to misfortune and blame only ourselves for our fate."

+1.

Thank you Hog. I must admit this piece coming from someone who went through a form of cancer herself closes in on the pinnacle of journalism. Is there any doubt that there is an entire industry built around the "feel good" factor? We live in a world where if you don't know how to be happy or how to sort out your troubles, an entire industry exists behind to nanny you and spoon feed you things, often utter nonsense, while making money off you in the process. The number of books and philosophies out there, and the number of feel good "gurus" who are responsible for them are testament to this truth. Cancer has just become a hot selling ticket for these people.

I think there is a generational difference and a cultural difference here. You talk to older folks who lived through the tough war eras in the 40's through 70's and they'll tell you how there was little of this foolishness in their times, if you had a problem to sort out, you learnt to shut up and overcome it yourself, and if it bit you hard then you'd go through the tough time and face the reality. There is a lot of personal value in this, these folks have great experiences to share about what they learnt when there was no one to nanny you around.

Its also a cultural difference. You go to a third world country where different value systems thrive and you would be hard pressed to find such capitalistic stupidity running amok taking advantage of people's plight. People die from diseases there as much as people die from diseases in the US, but there's no one to sugarcoat the reality of the suffering for you and make money from such efforts in the process. That's why I tell my friends sometimes, if you want to step out of your world and see reality, you need to take a flight ticket to some of these poor counties and see what people actually go through there. I think their world is an accurate simulation of a world we all used to live in before marketing, advertising, multi million dollar book deals, the business of "feeling good"... :rolleyes: