The New York-based National Children’s Leukemia Foundation has received $9.7 million in donations between 2009 and 2013 from donors invested in the care of children and the cure for cancer. But little to none of this money has been put toward researching cancer, locating bone marrow donors, or funding the “Make a Dream Come True” program that the NCLF promised would help children with cancer complete their bucket lists.
Nothing is more shameful than pocketing millions donated by individuals who wanted to help children afflicted with a terminal illness— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) July 21, 2015
It’s become clear that the foundation may have been a fraud all along.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman claims that the NCLF was a:
“one-man operation, run by founder Zvi Shor, 64, out of the basement of his Brooklyn home.”
Schneiderman’s office filed a petition with the Kings County Supreme Court this past Monday, stating that less than fifty-eight thousand dollars of the almost ten million raised was used to provide care or assistance to leukemia patients. Over eighty percent of the funds were spent funding telemarketing and direct-mail fundraising campaigns.
Another five percent is said to have been transferred to a shell organization in Israel run by Shor’s sister, for “research purposes.” Shor allegedly paid himself an annual salary of six-hundred thousand dollars, and another six-hundred thousand in “deferred compensation.”
We allege that most of the money raised from donors went to fundraisers & less than 1% was given to help children suffering from cancer— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) July 21, 2015
Not only did almost none of the money go toward cancer research, but it also appears that the NCLF never had a cancer research center in the first place, as it had claimed, nor a bone marrow registry. Less than ten thousand dollars were spent on the so-called “Make a Dream Come True” program.
The group promised to fulfill wishes of sick children & claimed to send them to Disney World, yet we charge they had not done this in years— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) July 21, 2015
The foundation is yet to be legally dissolved, though it’s registration has been revoked. Schneiderman’s office are seeking to sue Shor, with the intention of eliminating the NCLF entirely.
Shor, meanwhile, claims that these accusations are wholly unfounded.
“I launched NCLF after the death of my teenage son to leukemia. I personally took no salary for over 8 years. I wanted to help as many families as I could who had children suffering from cancer.”
The truth will come out in court, but one thing is clear: we all need to be vigilant with our generosity. Good deeds mean nothing without positive impact.
Check out charitywatch.org the next time you need help vetting a foundation.