“The LIVESTRONG Foundation fights to improve the lives of people affected by cancer — today as they navigate the financial, practical and emotional challenges that accompany cancer, and tomorrow as they move beyond the disease. The LIVESTRONG Foundation is thriving and in a very strong position to continue our mission-critical work into the years ahead. The Foundation ended 2012, its 15th anniversary year, generating more than $48 million in revenue; another financially successful year amidst tough economic conditions for most in the philanthropic community. Our roster of groundbreaking cause marketing partnerships is strong and growing, recently adding several including car2go, UMB/Visa, Facebook and FTD. We have a great lineup of events. And, our truest measure of our impact, we served more people than ever before through our cancer support services in 2012 and saw exciting progress and expansion across our programs. Our plans for 2013 are robust, focused on strengthening current programs, expanding support services where survivors report to us that gaps remain, and reaching more people, particularly in low-income and minority communities. We are continuing to bring in donors to make these expansions possible.
“Our purpose with all agreements, including those with Demand Media, Bristol-Myers Squibb and FRS, is singular and simple: help ensure the long-term financial health of our organization so we can continue fighting to improve the lives of people affected by cancer. We recognize that all successful partnerships benefit both sides, but our duty and focus in entering into them is only to our own mission and to those we serve, no one else. For instance, while we are deeply grateful to our founder, Lance Armstrong, who no longer serves on our Board of Directors, for helping us to raise more than $500 million over 15 years, it has never been the Foundation’s aim in any activity, including lobbying or marketing agreements, to shield, protect or benefit him in any way. We take issue with the story’s insinuation otherwise about Lance and other partnerships, and note it contained not proof but instead only one individual’s personal feelings.
“We specifically take issue with the publication of thinly sourced suggestions that the LIVESTRONG Foundation’s marketing agreements — their existence, the process of setting them up or any other aspect — or other Foundation activities or relationships are in any way improper or questionable. We are, in fact, proud of our record of providing a trailblazing example of how innovative non-profits can think like for-profits, reach new audiences, find ways to ensure the health of their organizations and, in the end, produce even greater results for the needs they serve. We have always complied with both the letter and the spirit of all laws, regulations and reporting requirements in all of our work, including all contracts, agreements and payments to outside parties. To ensure this is the case, every agreement the Foundation enters into is rigorously reviewed and approved by an expert, independent third-party counsel before it is accepted by the executive committee of our board of directors.
“Our mission and our work are too important to us to do otherwise and while questions may be uncomfortable, we do welcome the opportunity to be transparent about our normal business practices. Independent experts agree, as the LIVESTRONG Foundation is recognized by multiple sources as one of the most highly-rated cancer non-profit organizations in the United States. This is in large part due to our governance procedures, to our endowment strength and to the fact that we have invested 82 percent of each dollar raised directly in programs, initiatives and advocacy efforts that support people affected by cancer. We are a Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance accredited charity seal holder; we completed the National Health Council’s Standards of Excellence Certification Program; we are rated four out of four stars by Charity Navigator; we are A- rated by American Institute of Philanthropy; and we are ranked as one of the top three cancer organizations by Philanthropedia.”