America's worst charities

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

In detail#29: Defeat Diabetes Foundation

Andy Mandell said his struggle with diabetes made him want to help others. So in 1991, he and his brother Jerald launched Defeat Diabetes Foundation in Madeira Beach, Fla., and started their own efforts to raise awareness about the disease.

The Mandell brothers hired their younger sister as their secretary. They rented an office and now pay themselves retirement salaries of about $30,000 each a year.

Then they turned to professional fundraisers to generate donations.

That decision helped make Defeat Diabetes one of the worst charities in America. It comes in at No. 29 on the Times/CIR list. Over the past decade, the charity has raised $13.8 million in cash donations and steered $8.3 million of that to its for-profit fundraisers. The charity has spent an average of about $1,000 cash a year for direct aid to diabetes patients.

In 2011, the charity gave away about 300 blood sugar meters that had been donated to the group. Total cash out of pocket: $761 to ship the meters.

After fundraising expenses, most of the charity's resources go to pay overhead and to cover the costs of Andy Mandell's speaking engagements. Calling himself "Mr. Diabetes, " Mandell visits about 80 schools a year, warning students to eat right and exercise to avoid diabetes.

Though money is tight — the Mandell brothers have lent the charity $400,000 — Defeat Diabetes has dabbled in foreign aid. In 2010, the charity paid $18,000 to ship donated eyeglasses and other medical supplies to needy kids in Guatemala.

The donations, valued by the charity at $1.2 million, made Defeat Diabetes’ fundraising costs look lower on paper. But the Mandells said that wasn’t their goal.

Though the shipments weren’t targeted to diabetics, they may have been among the recipients, Jerald Mandell said.

“We got a letter from the sisters of something or other,” he said of the latest shipment. “Some hospital or orphanage got it.”


In their own words: the Charity's mission

The purposes of the Defeat Diabetes Foundation and the Defeat Diabetes(r) public awareness programs through the use of the Defeat Diabetes(r) screening test are early identification of those who are not aware of or are at risk of developing the diabetic condition and the dangers and harm thereof. Also, to inform and educate the diabetic and pre-diabetic as to the benefits of health and fitness in dealing with the diabetic condition. In the year 2002, over 3,000,000 Defeat Diabetes(r) screening tests were distributed at no charge to the recipients through our school programs and other venues. Also, in the last year our website (www.defeatdiabetes.org)has had over 2,000,000 visits. In addition, our executive director, Andrew P. Mandell, has initiated "the Mr. Diabetes(r) Wake Up And Walk(r) Tour" for diabetes awareness. This more than 10,000-mile walk around the perimeter of the United States is expected to last 3-5 years. Along the way he lectures and gives presentations at schools and other local venues.

Unedited mission statements provided by the Colorado Secretary of State


Defeat Diabetes Foundation

Known state disciplinary actions

Find out more about the actions in our database

States bringing actions Number of known actions Outcomes Total fines
Iowa 1 Fine/penalties $12,500

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 $1,184,672 $980,512 $204,160 $184,740 $761 0.06% $148,052
2010 pdf $892,117 $734,542 $157,575 $85,230 $3,117 0.35% $1,488,831
2009 pdf $987,196 $833,523 $153,673 $85,590 $0 0.00% $165,802
2008 pdf $892,922 $728,701 $164,221 $104,566 $0 0.00% $4,987,179
2007 pdf $1,159,142 $642,741 $516,401 $156,639 $0 0.00% $438,740
2006 pdf $1,379,664 $850,067 $529,597 $280,418 $0 0.00% $481,016
2005 pdf $1,612,097 $794,222 $817,875 $272,228 $0 0.00% $512,086
2004 pdf $1,683,152 $729,637 $953,515 $309,765 $0 0.00% $456,378
2003 pdf $1,978,246 $720,890 $1,257,356 $339,908 $0 0.00% $582,485
2002 pdf $2,062,253 $1,300,838 $761,415 $324,381 $6,727 0.33% $548,948
zTOTALS $13,831,461 $8,315,673 $5,515,788 $2,143,465 $10,605 0.1% $9,809,517

Who raised the money

Year Solicitor Cash raised Cash to solicitor Cash to charity % to charity Activity
2009 Outreach International $26,636 $20,532 $6,104 22.90% telemarketing
2009 Jadent $48,493 $38,754 $9,739 20.10% telemarketing
2009 Newport Creative Communications $317,771 $304,677 $13,094 4.10% mail
2009 Caring People Enterprises $48,233 $40,776 $7,457 15.50% telemarketing
2009 Ron Doddy & Associates $58,405 $46,744 $11,661 20.00% telemarketing
2009 Debbie Lopez $60,154 $47,715 $12,439 20.70% telemarketing
2009 PCS $67,729 $54,027 $13,702 20.20% telemarketing
2009 Campaign Center $243,046 $195,106 $47,940 19.70% telemarketing
2009 Capital District Callers $35,061 $19,858 $15,203 43.40% telemarketing
2009 Lino's $81,668 $65,334 $16,334 20.00% tel
2010 Campaign Center $148,323 $119,675 $28,648 19.30% telemarketing
2010 Outreach Calling $98,868 $84,038 $14,830 15.00% telemarketing
2010 Preferred Community Services $75,283 $60,410 $14,873 19.80% telemarketing
2010 Ron Doddy & Associates $38,445 $30,756 $7,689 20.00% telemarketing
2010 Newport Creative Communications $290,207 $269,985 $20,222 6.97% mail
2010 Lino's $49,158 $39,326 $9,832 20.00% telemarketing
2010 Douglas L Schipper $15,453 $12,362 $3,091 20.00% telemarketing
2010 Jadent $37,488 $30,212 $7,276 19.40% telemarketing
2010 Capital District Callers $93,876 $51,765 $42,111 44.90% telemarketing
2010 Debbie Lopez $45,016 $36,013 $9,003 20.00% telemarketing
2011 Jadent $30,096 $24,093 $6,003 19.90% telemarketing
2011 Ron Doddy & Associates $30,672 $24,537 $6,135 20.00% telemarketing
2011 Douglas L Schipper $40,814 $32,651 $8,163 20.00% telemarketing
2011 Capital District Callers $82,430 $41,866 $40,564 49.20% telemarketing
2011 Campaign Center $114,436 $97,317 $17,119 15.00% telemarketing
2011 Outreach Calling $482,057 $409,717 $72,340 15.00% telemarketing
2011 SRO Events (Algoma, WI) $13,880 $11,104 $2,776 20.00% telemarketing
2011 Newport Creative Communications $333,851 $294,308 $39,543 11.80% mail
2011 Preferred Community Services $56,436 $44,919 $11,517 20.40% telemarketing