In detail#34: Optimal Medical Foundation
Also doing business as: Association for Breast Cancer Research, Childhood Disease Research Foundation, National Charity for Cancer Research
Canadian regulators flagged Janet Eland Greenhalgh's charity for high fundraising costs and doing business with related for-profit companies. Within a year, Greenhalgh had started a new charity, this one in the United States, where fundraising costs are rarely, if ever, a cause for regulator action.
When it applied to the IRS for tax-exempt status, Optimal Medical Foundation estimated it would spend 70 percent of its income, resources and time on research. But tax filings over the past decade show that did not happen.
Instead, the charity raised $7.8 million and spent 97 percent of its donations paying for-profit solicitors. That's left almost nothing for the charity to spend on research into cancer and other childhood diseases — the cause telemarketers used to persuade donors to give.
The charity's single biggest research grant was $10,000, given to a for-profit company where Greenhalgh is vice president.
On paper, Optimal Medical appears to be a generous provider of donated drugs and medical supplies to groups overseas. But such non-cash donations, known as gifts-in-kind, have come under increasing scrutiny from regulators because their true value is hard to verify.
Greenhalgh did not respond to multiple requests for comment. When contacted by reporters, one charity director, Jacob Eapen, a pediatrician, said the board had not met in five years. Another, Robert Goldsmith, a retired professor, said he knew Greenhalgh, but denied ever being on the board. He submitted a formal complaint to the California attorney general after learning from reporters his name was listed on charity documents.
In a letter Greenhalgh wrote to Goldsmith, which he provided to reporters, she agreed to remove his name from the charity's website and filings.
In their own words: the Charity's mission
Optimal Medical Foundation, Inc. was formed as a charitable and educational organization to generally provide education and awareness programs connected with the treatment and cure of diseases that infect children as well as funding research into these same diseases. Principally, the organization will conduct and sponsor research into the causes and cures of diseases that infect children. The corporation will also support and fund research into the causes and treatment of diseases carried by adults which ultimately may affect their newborn children. Additionally, the organization will provide and/or coordinate education and awareness campaigns related to the treatment and prevention of diseases affecting children as well as diseases carried by adults which ultimately may affect their children. These services will also include education of adults regarding potentially hazardous or suspect lifestyles and lifestyle decisions that can have an effect on the health and well being of their children.
Unedited mission statements provided by the Colorado Secretary of State
Optimal Medical Foundation
Known state disciplinary actions
|States bringing actions||Number of known actions||Outcomes||Total fines|
Fundraising and spending history
For years prior to 2008, cash raised from other sources might be included in the "cash raised by solicitors" column.
|% cash to
Who raised the money
|Year||Solicitor||Cash raised||Cash to solicitor||Cash to charity||% to charity||Activity|
|2008||Direct Response Consulting Services||$1,339,394||$1,328,994||$10,400||0.80%||direct mail|
|2009||Direct Response Consulting Services||$1,735,854||$1,734,987||$867||0.00%||direct mail|
|2010||Direct Response Consulting Services||$1,300,008||$1,376,900||$-76,892||-5.90%||direct mail|