America's worst charities

Our ranking based on cash paid to solicitors in the past decade

In detail#37: Children's Leukemia Research Association

Also doing business as: National Leukemia Research Association

The website for Children's Leukemia Research Association has this hopeful message: "Research is the key to a cure ... and we are so close."

And unlike many of the charities on the Times/CIR worst list, Children's Leukemia gives money to researchers and spends cash on patient aid every year. But because the charity hires professional solicitors, only a fraction of what donors give ever makes it to the cause.

In 2011, the Long Island, N.Y., charity raised about $1.1 million. Its professional fundraisers kept about $800,000. About $160,000 went to research grants for five scientists.

Compare that to the Leukemia Research Foundation, an unrelated charity in Wilmette, Ill. It raised nearly $2 million the same year with no help from outside solicitors. The charity gave $800,000 in grants to researchers and an additional $200,000 in financial assistance to patients.

Allan Weinberg is the longtime executive director of Children's Leukemia Research Association. He said he recommended that the charity start using paid fundraisers in 2005. The charity, which was started in 1966, now raises more money but nets about the same after giving 70 percent of donations to the fundraiser.

Weinberg who works out of his waterfront condo in North Palm Beach, Fla., is paid $65,700 a year for a 25-hour-a-week position.

Weinberg also runs a second charity, Organ Donation and Transplant Association, from his condo. He said it's not fair to judge telemarketing results on a few years' returns. He said he hopes Children's Leukemia Research Association will be able reduce the percentage it pay solicitors in the future.


In their own words: the Charity's mission

To raise scholarly leukemia research dollars and help medically indigent families with patient aid.

Unedited mission statements provided by the Colorado Secretary of State


Children's Leukemia Research Association

Fundraising and spending history

For years prior to 2008, cash raised from other sources might be included in the "cash raised by solicitors" column.

Year 990
form
Cash
raised by
solicitors
Solicitor
was paid
Cash to
the charity
Charity
salaries
Cash to
direct aid
% cash to
direct aid
Reported
totals to
programs
2011 pdf $1,129,553 $796,154 $333,399 $64,170 $159,531 14.12% $387,026
2010 pdf $1,013,196 $844,714 $168,482 $62,307 $107,041 10.56% $276,141
2008 pdf $1,498,724 $1,203,034 $295,690 $119,886 $118,494 7.91% $296,755
2007 pdf $1,491,881 $1,063,975 $427,906 $111,932 $143,041 9.59% $296,839
2006 pdf $1,992,510 $1,344,357 $648,153 $110,259 $109,882 5.51% $267,752
2005 pdf $1,647,045 $1,316,554 $330,491 $106,321 $60,000 3.64% $212,131
2004 pdf $291,943 $130,945 $160,998 $105,327 $85,000 29.12% $231,330
2003 pdf $228,983 $27,128 $201,855 $101,882 $60,000 26.20% $200,600
2002 pdf $228,230 $31,349 $196,881 $58,048 $80,000 35.05% $231,650
2001 pdf $263,576 $37,580 $225,996 $63,596 $165,000 62.60% $303,560
zTOTALS $9,785,641 $6,795,790 $2,989,851 $903,728 $1,087,989 11.1% $2,703,784

Who raised the money

Year Solicitor Cash raised Cash to solicitor Cash to charity % to charity Activity
2010 Courtesy Health Watch $1,013,196 $844,714 $168,482 16.63% telemarketing