June 13th, 2013
11:02 PM ET

Beware of these cancer charity rip-offs


The offer stills stands. Anderson is challenging the leaders of three so-called cancer charities to come on AC360 and answer questions about their donations and fundraising or they can talk on camera to our investigative correspondent Drew Griffin.

Just last week, Drew reported on The Breast Cancer Society, Children’s Cancer Fund and Cancer Fund of America. After his story aired, Anderson issued the challenge to the executives of each one to talk to us directly. So far, none have taken us up on the challenge. But two of the three have spoken out elsewhere and their comments are raising new questions.

The Breast Cancer Society run by James Reynolds Jr. responded to our report online. The headline on their web site read, “What is the truth about Breast Cancer Society that you won’t hear on CNN’s Anderson Cooper show.” In the posting, they claim 75 percent, not 2 percent of their own donations go to charity. But it’s not true. The Breast Cancer Society took in $13 million in 2011 and according to its own tax filings, just 2.4% of that money went to cancer patients.

Then there’s James Reynolds Senior, Junior’s father. He’s the president of Cancer Fund of America. He spoke to our affiliate in Knoxville, Tennessee. The elder Mr. Reynolds didn’t dispute that just 2 percent of the money his organization raised goes to cancer patients. He admits 80 percent really goes to fundraisers, along with this $237,000 salary. He said the mission of his charity isn’t to give financial assistance, but rather to give gifts, like moon pies, to cancer patients and their families to make them feel good. And yes, they may be donated gifts he has re-gifted.

The third charity, Children’s Cancer Fund, is run by James Reynolds Senior’s ex-wife, Rose Perkins. She’s been silent on our reporting. Again, the offer still stands for all three to come on AC360 and explain their financials.


The worst charity in America operates from a metal warehouse behind a gas station in Holiday, Florida.

Every year, Kids Wish Network raises millions of dollars in donations in the name of dying children and their families.

Every year, it spends less than 3 cents on the dollar helping kids.

Most of the rest gets diverted to enrich the charity's operators and the for-profit companies Kids Wish hires to drum up donations.

In the past decade alone, Kids Wish has channeled nearly $110 million donated for sick children to its corporate solicitors. An additional $4.8 million has gone to pay the charity's founder and his own consulting firms.


soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Theresa

    Shouldn't their books be audited? Can the public force this to happen? Can the public do something to shut them down? CNN – please please please continue to report on this so more and more people are aware and stop giving to these crooks.
    thanks for making us aware!

    June 23, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  2. Donna Schmid

    I'm disgusted by what these people are doing... I'm doubly disgusted to know that I've been donating to the Breast Cancer Society for several years, feeding these cockroaches...

    June 19, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  3. Debbie

    How in GODS name can these people get away with this? As a person with blood cancer and also have a cousin finishing her breast cancer treatments (with no help) this is the most discusting thing I have ever listened too!
    I hope when there time comes to meet there maker they all have to answer for this. My local cancer center where I receive my treatments is great however if I was not lucky enough to have insurance my husband and I dont know how we could ever afford the treatments (every month). I live in Arizona (rural) and this makes me so sick I want to punch them in the face for all the people who need help and do not receive it. Please keep this issue in the front of all the viewers.
    Thank You, Debbie

    June 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
  4. Dusty

    I think there should also be a 50 best charities story so that people know where there money would best be spent. Now that we know not to give to these guys anymore. Maybe this has already been done. I honestly don't know.

    June 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  5. Cdidan

    My wife died of cancer we called all kind of charities and none of them want to help.
    How do you want me to donate to any charity. I feel sorry to people with Cancer as i pray to God to heal them
    and make their life full of joy and happiness.

    June 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  6. Ken Kitts

    Why did Beaver Dam Babtist Church, in Knoxville, TN. Become involved in cancer rip off.

    June 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  7. Irvin J. Johnson Sr

    WoW!!! I KNEW IT!!!
    My girlfriend, used to run in the annual Susan B. Komen event here in El Paso, TX., and I would walking. Over the years they have become so unorganized, it is so unbelievable a huge organization could operate in the manner. I always wonder what happens to the money and where is this money is going. I had my doults. Why do people have to take advantage of the weak. With the cost of hospital bills how could this be so. Why do these people have to make this type of money for a needed cause of the unfortunate. Unbelievably. I knew it. I has always been on my mind. My girlfriend doesnt run in the event anylonger, she alway get the wrong shirt, wrong number, wrong ran time, and rude people. I say justice should be served to the highest extent of the laws, they can't get away with this while childrens, women, to include men are suffering. I say take everything from them because the can't explain why this is happening. CNN stay on this subject, it is important to the America people. I really would like to see what Susan B. Komen is doing with all there money too. Because if one is doing it then what about them. Wait til I tell my girlfreind of the story, she is going to blow a gasket.
    Thank You CNN for you concern. All I can say is WOW!!!

    June 18, 2013 at 8:38 am |
  8. bennie sweat

    Anderson concerning the Cance Fund Raisers, the last two calsl I got wanting a donation, I stopped him in the middle of his "patter" I asked him, "Sir are you a professional fund raiser, the first one said and I quote "Well Everybodt's got a Mortage" I saiid, yea that's what I thought, and hune up, the next one when I asked the same question said 'Well, everybody got to eat, I said yea but I am not going to feed you. The third one, a Lady, I use the term looslwy, in the middle of her patter said, "As a professional compunsatided fund raiser," I stopped her and said mam you have just said the thing that I knew all along, good bye.

    June 18, 2013 at 1:27 am |
  9. Beverly

    If these cancer charities or funds don't have anything to hide, they should come out, from their hiding, and give an interview to #AC360. I challenge them on this, too.

    June 17, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
  10. Barbara Allen

    Fun fact, as a two time breast cancer survivor, I find it ridiculous that their contributions are going as moonpies and other sweets, as a charity they should know that cancer feeds off sugar and is detrimental to the health of cancer patients and survivors.

    June 17, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
  11. Sharon Lee

    These and other top heavy "charities" are not only wasting precious resources, they also make it more difficult for legitimate charitable work to raise needed support. Having run a true non-profit for twenty-five years, I can't say how many times we have had to squeak by or even reduce services due to lack of funds. I am the CEO, an MD, and I make $14/hr. No perks. AND We provided nearly 15,000 visits for medically needy people in Wyandotte County Kansas City, Kansas last year.

    June 17, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
  12. claudia deprez

    As a 9 year Ovarian Cancer Survivor, I can tell you, that the " cancer industry" is huge. There are good and effective charities, Cnn is doing us all a huge service to inform us about this, it is a sin and a crime to take money and use it for personal benefit. I give to st Jude's Children's Hospital. Stand Up to Cancer. The rest I don't trust.

    June 17, 2013 at 8:27 am |
  13. Nancie

    We used to donate to so many charities but these past few years so many of them have been exposed as HUGE rip-offs, so we now only donate to local charities where we can actually SEE where our dollars are going. With the state of economy, it is so sad that so many so-called charities are all about their own salaries!!!

    June 16, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
  14. Deanna

    This sickens me to my core.

    June 15, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  15. naresh jain

    unless common donors are aware of the misuse of their donations for help and fund raisers are made accountable to donors by compulsory reciept issue with option of refund in case of misuse of fund malpractice of misuse of charity fund can not be curbed fully..

    June 15, 2013 at 4:51 am |
  16. Betty Hornbostel

    From what I've found on line; this is small potatoes compared to American Cancer Society with a CEO that personally benefits in the millions. In my own community I see major fund raisers that over the years have raised in the millions. A Cancer charity, particularly the really LARGE on seems to be untouched by the media??

    June 14, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Deanna

      I am so glad someone is poking around at least a little in this subject. I am a three year fighter (terminal) who has depleted all of my own resources and have reached out to many cancer organizations for help. To date, I have received a scarf, a wig (used), a nice assortment of make-up, and a one time gas card for $150 from the American Cancer Society. I am grateful for these things but I had thought that with all of the billions of dollars they take in every year, they would help people with more. It was another defeat in a cancer fighter's world!

      June 15, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Tony


      The point of the story is not how much the CEO's make but the percentage of money donated that goes to the charity. In the case of the featured charities, it's essentially zero.

      June 17, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Debbie

      Betty, I know what you mean when my father was battleing cancer they would not help my mother and father.
      Thank You, Debbie

      June 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
  17. Michele

    Why aren't these people being prosecuted as criminals???

    June 14, 2013 at 1:46 am |
    • Deanna

      I agree. Prosecuted and forced to give back all of the money (or give it to a reputable organization).

      June 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm |