Where does the money go? Breast cancer awareness advocates ask the question

Posted at 5:00 AM, Oct 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-17 08:56:14-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — This month you’ve probably seen plenty of companies selling pink merch and items with the breast cancer ribbon, since it’s breast cancer awareness month. Many consumers are now asking if companies moving this pink merchandise are actually putting any of that money they’re making toward research, prevention, or supporting those impacted by the disease?

”Anybody can put something in the color pink and people can actually have a pink ribbon on their product and nobody regulates that,” said Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado CEO Jonathan Liebert.

During breast cancer awareness month, there are plenty of opportunities to buy pink products that claim to be in support of the cause and people experiencing the disease, but Liebert warns in some cases it’s become a common money making marketing tactic.

”In a lot of cases that money doesn’t go to any nonprofits and that business is not responsible for giving that money to nonprofits because the use of that pink ribbon is not regulated by anyone, so it’s important that people know that,” said Liebert.

He says market research shows more consumers want to know companies they spend money with are actually following through on their promises to give back to causes. So, if you see a BBB4Good seal associated with a company he says it means the BBB checked them out.

”So if they have this logo that shows we’ve vetted them and verified them. If they say they are giving money to a cause such as that, we’ve absolutely double checked and made sure that they are doing that,” said Liebert.

Rick Baker lost his wife Becky to breast cancer in 2017. In her memory, he launched the Becky Baker Foundation, providing thousands of free mammograms to women in the Colorado Springs community and beyond. Along with that effort, he also wants consumers to be comfortable asking for more information about breast cancer causes.

”We are trying to continue to educate the public that it’s ok to ask where does this money go? If I give you $10 right now, please tell me where it goes,” said Baker.

He asked the question at a local retail store, which led to a conversation with a manager.

”So the manager came out, a wonderful man, and he said you know what Rick, I can’t tell you where it goes. I said, don’t you think Steve that if you’re going to sell a shirt for $25 and you’re saying 10% of this goes to breast cancer awareness, you should be able to tell the consumer, the customer where the money is going? He said you know what, you are right, I should, and I’m going to find out,” Baker said.

He says a conversation like that is so important because for far too long companies have been selling pink items and items with ribbons in the name of breast cancer awareness while keeping consumers in the dark.

”Start asking these questions. How much money? Where does it go? Not only will it help us feel better about what we’re purchasing, it’s going to hold these people accountable and they’ll have to go back to their higher ups and find out where it goes if it goes anywhere at all,” said Baker.

If you ask employees at local businesses about where the money goes that is generated by breast cancer awareness merchandise, there’s a good chance they won’t know.

So, it’s important to know some ways you can do your own research.

Here are some trusted resources to help you learn more about how you can support the fight against breast cancer and to help you research companies and charities on your own.


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