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Money Raised in Michigan to Fight Breast Cancer Goes to Pay Salary and Professional Fundraisers

Pile of Twenty Dollar Bills
Ingram Publishing, ThinkStock

In 2015, over 2,000 Michigan residents gave $36,372 to an organization to fight breast cancer. The organization that raised the money is being accused of giving all of the funds to pay its president and professional fundraisers.

Yesterday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced a Cease and Desist Order against Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation, Inc., a Florida nonprofit corporation, for false solicitation and diversion of funds raised to other purposes. The foundation has been in operation since July 2014.

In 2015, Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation (BCOF) raised $1,425,201, including $36,372 from 2,003 paid pledges from Michigan residents by telephone and direct mail.

The Foundation raised the money by telling donors that funds raised would be used for breast cancer research grants in support of a breast cancer vaccine. However, the Attorney General’s office says the Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation did not use the funds raised for breast cancer research.

During 2015, they made no grants, whether for breast cancer research or for any other purpose. Instead, Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation used the money raised to pay its professional fundraisers ($1.3 million) and to pay its President’s salary ($75k).

In 2014, BCOF issued two grants totaling $1,212.

The Attorney General’s investigation into Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation stemmed from the department’s 2016 investigation into professional fundraiser Corporations for Character, which resulted in a monetary settlement and a four-year ban on soliciting in Michigan.

Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation used Corporations for Character for some of its fundraising which led the Attorney General to scrutinize the charity’s fundraising practices.

The state has given the Foundation 21 days to resolve the matter or face civil action in court.

Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation’s President, Neil G. Paulson, Sr., is also the President of another charitable organization, Help the Vets, Inc., that solicits in Michigan.

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