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The 5 Best Breast Cancer Charities

The 5 Best Breast Cancer Charities

Molly Mann | DivineCaroline

October 18, 2010

Who would have thought that getting media attention for boobs would ever be a challenge? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. Yet, until very recently, it has carried the greatest stigma of all forms of cancer.

In the past, women have avoided screenings or hid breast cancer diagnoses out of fear and shame; many still do. Over the past twenty years, the work of organizations that raise awareness and support research for breast cancer has made great strides against this stigma.

What Makes a Successful Charity?
According to Sarah Klein of, an organization that truly helps the approximately two hundred thousand women diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the United States not only raises money, but spends it wisely. There are hundreds of organizations out there that claim to support breast cancer research, but not all of them use their donations responsibly. Klein urges donors to research charities―find out where an organization’s money comes from and where it goes―before they give.

The best way to do this, Klein suggests, is through watchdogs like the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) and Charity Navigator. These sites recommend looking for organizations that spend at least 75 percent of their budgets on program expenses; anything below 33 percent shows that a charity is “not living up to its mission,” according to Charity Navigator.

Another consideration is how much the organization spends on overhead costs (like rent and utilities) and employee pay; less than 15 percent of spending on these administrative expenses is ideal.

The Five Best Breast Cancer Charities
In your search for a fund-raising organization worthy of your donation, consider these five charities, all of which have excellent reputations and transparent spending practices.

1. Susan G. Komen for the Cure
In 1982, Nancy G. Brinker started Susan G. Komen for the Cure hoping to find a cure for the disease her sister Susan G. Komen had. The organization runs a variety of fund-raising events, including Race for the Cure, the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk, and joint programs with companies like BMW and New Balance. In 2009, Susan G. Komen for the Cure won the Charity Navigator four-star rating (out of four stars) for the third year in a row. That fiscal year, the charity brought in $327 million in revenue and devoted 84 cents of every dollar to funding research, education, screening, and treatment programs, both in the United States and around the world. It spent a mere 10 percent of its budget on administrative costs and 6 percent on fund-raising programs.

2. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) is the only breast cancer organization with an A+ rating from AIP, according to Klein. In 1993, Evelyn H. Lauder founded the BCRF to aid prevention and to find a cure for breast cancer for this generation. The organization works to provide funding for innovative clinical and translational research at leading international medical centers, as well as raising public awareness of breast health. The organization’s corporate partners, which include Ann Taylor and the Estée Lauder Companies, have helped it raise over $220 million since its creation in 1993. BCRF spent a whopping 92 percent of its revenue on programs in 2009, according to Charity Navigator, and in October 2009 awarded approximately $28.5 million in new research grants to 173 breast cancer researchers at top-ranked universities and academic medical centers around the world.

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