America's worst charities

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

In detail#22: Woman To Woman Breast Cancer Foundation

The path chosen by Jacqueline Gray shows exactly how a worthy cause can be turned into one of the nation’s worst charities.

In 2007, Gray and her husband, Kevin, started Woman to Woman Breast Cancer Foundation in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. For a year the couple struggled to raise money by hosting golf tournaments and making phone calls to potential donors. Then they met Mark Gelvan, a New Jersey consultant who has spent two decades transforming fledgling charities into money-making machines.

Gelvan introduced the Grays to what sounded like a winning formula. He would help the charity expand if it signed a contract with telemarketer Community Support Inc. The staff at Community Support would create the marketing materials and run the call centers. The telemarketer even gave the Grays $30,000 in seed money to cover bills related to the expansion.

All the Grays had to do was agree to pay Community Support 90 cents of every dollar raised, then sit back and wait. From contributions of less than $10,000 in 2008, Woman to Woman’s donations increased to $1.6 million in 2009, then leapt to $6.5 million in 2010 and $6.7 million in its most recent filing.

What the charity got to keep was far more modest. It netted about $50,000 its first year with Community Support and $544,000 in 2011.That was still enough for Gray, her husband and her daughter to start taking salaries. In the latest year, the trio received $84,000 in total compensation. Each member of the family also has a vehicle provided by the charity.

Woman to Woman raised $14.5 million in donations from 2009 to 2011, tax filings show. It paid nearly 95 percent of that to its for-profit fundraiser and spent about $700,000 on overhead and salaries. That left an average of less than $20,000 a year to provide mammograms and other diagnostic services for women with breast cancer.

Jacqueline Gray, herself a breast cancer survivor, said she is as shocked as anyone by how much money has been raised in her charity’s name and how little has made it to patients. She said she is angry that fundraisers take more than 90 percent of the revenue. But she vehemently denies that she’s to blame.

“Why would I be to blame for a system that’s dysfunctional?” Gray asked. “We are doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”

In their own words: the Charity's mission

Woman to Woman Breast Cancer Foundation Inc. supports women by promoting regular examinations, early detection, and aggressive treatment for those suffering from breast cancer. No women should have to face the consequences of breast cancer as a result of the inability to pay for treatment or medicine.

Unedited mission statements provided by the Colorado Secretary of State

Woman To Woman Breast Cancer Foundation

Known state disciplinary actions

Find out more about the actions in our database

States bringing actions Number of known actions Outcomes Total fines
Utah 1 Notice to revoke 0

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
raised by
was paid
Cash to
the charity
Cash to
direct aid
% cash to
direct aid
totals to
2012 pdf $4,882,468 $4,440,143 $442,325 $360,603 $0 0.00% $749,587
2010 pdf $6,701,571 $6,157,082 $544,489 $230,838 $41,105 0.61% $893,999
2009 pdf $6,258,925 $6,097,722 $161,203 $113,906 $8,401 0.13% $199,707
2008 pdf $1,501,167 $1,457,147 $44,020 $0 $9,092 0.61% $63,637
2007 pdf $13,620 $54 $13,566 $0 $110 0.81% $4,480
zTOTALS $19,357,751 $18,152,148 $1,205,603 $705,347 $58,708 0.3% $1,911,410

Who raised the money

Year Solicitor Cash raised Cash to solicitor Cash to charity % to charity Activity
2008 Community Support (Milwaukee, WI) $1,501,167 $1,457,147 $44,020 2.90% prof f/r
2009 Community Support (Milwaukee, WI) $4,945,873 $4,875,508 $70,365 1.42% prof f/r
2009 Charitable Resource Foundation $87,237 $77,338 $9,899 11.35% prof f/r
2009 Midwest Publishing (Phoenix, AZ) $1,225,815 $1,144,876 $80,939 6.60% prof f/r
2010 Midwest Publishing (Phoenix, AZ) $1,532,570 $1,379,084 $153,486 10.00% prof f/r
2010 Charitable Resource Foundation $696,870 $649,812 $47,058 6.80% prof f/r
2010 Newport Creative Communications $443,384 $427,580 $15,804 3.60% prof f/r
2010 Community Support (Milwaukee, WI) $4,028,747 $3,700,606 $328,141 8.10% prof f/r