Friday, June 5, 2009

Where is Crawl for Cancer's money going?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 4:24 PM

click to enlarge codysimmsbbb.jpg

May 16 was the Crawl for Cancer in Westport. It's an annual event that takes place all over the country (in 2006, The Pitch's Night Ranger  wondered what type of charity would have people "passing out midcrawl in a Westport gutter?").

Fat City has learned that shortly after this year's event, the Kansas City Better Business Bureau suspended Crawl for Cancer's accreditation because it refused to provide the bureau with details on how much money actually goes to charity.

Crawl for Cancer's company headquarters are just off of Shawnee Mission Parkway at 22052 W. 66th St. Because it's registered as a company instead of a non-profit, it's not required to disclose its financial information. That's also why none of the $500-$550 entry fee per team is tax-deductible.

After the St. Louis Post Dispatch inquired about its practices, the company released a statement:

"We dispute that Crawl for Cancer has violated any of the BBB's Code of

Business Practices and will appeal their decisions by any means

available to us," said spokesman Darren Green in an e-mail. He said the

BBB's transparency standard "does not include the disclosure of private

company finances."

Crawl for Cancer has not responded to The Pitch's request for comment.

It is unclear how many people participated in this year's Crawl. The company's Web site says entries were limited to the first 450 teams. Vicki Deckard of the Westport Flea Market said at least 1,000 people came through that day. "We were hella busy. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or whenever it ended, we were packed. It's a great day for us." Deckard said that businesses don't deal directly with Crawl for Cancer but with Central States Beverage Company. "They bring in the kegs -- ten or twelve kegs of Coor's Light -- and we either run out or come close. We participate because it's a charity for cancer but also because as I said, it's so busy. People don't just come in here and drink beer. They buy tons of food and shots."

Among the charities listed as beneficiaries of the crawl are the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, Helping Hand Foundation, Children's Mercy Hospital and Harvester's. The Alzheimer's Foundation said it does not comment on donors. Harvester's spokesperson Ellen Feldhausen said Crawl for Cancer collects canned donations for Harvesters. "We appreciate anyone who gives food to the poor," she said.

Another beneficiary was St. Luke's Health System, which received $5,000 from Crawl for Cancer in 2008. "From all accounts the group's intentions seem very honorable," said St. Luke's spokeswoman Kerry O'Connor. "We've been promised a grant in 2009 as well."



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