KIYC: Charitable donations wound up in telemarketers' wallets

EDISON - Tonight's Kane In Your Corner investigation examines what really happens to charitable donations taken by certain telemarketers.

Glen Weisman says that he received a call from the Breast Cancer Survivor's Foundation, supposedly based out of Roselle Park, soliciting his donation. When he asked some basic questions about what his money was going to be used for, the caller could not provide him with any real answers about the charity.

After investigating the foundation, tax returns show that while it brought in a half a million dollars in donations in 2010, only nine cents of every dollar went to the charity. The rest went to telemarketer salaries.

Eric Kanefsky, New Jersey's consumer affairs director, was concerned after hearing how the foundation spends its money. "Is that something that could raise a red flag and lead us to investigate?" asked Kanefsky. "Absolutely."

The foundation's program director, Dee Dee Lowland, who says she runs the charity out of her apartment in Kansas, says that the lack of corporate sponsorship forces the foundation to use donated funds.

She had no clear response when asked if people realize that 91 cents of every dollar they donate is going toward the salaries of the telemarketers.

The Better Business Bureau says charities should spend at least 65 cents of every dollar on programs and no more than 35 cents on administrative costs like fundraising.

For a full breakdown of how every New Jersey charity spends its money, click here.

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