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Unhealthy Charities: Hazardous to Your Health and Wealth Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (June 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465088791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465088799
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,102,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Before the recent United Way scandals, many thought giving to a health charity was purely a good thing. Now they wonder about some of the matters Bennett and DiLorenzo bring up in their detailed, documented report. The two stress throughout that attention should be paid to what charities actually do, not to what they say they do, but that factual information on where the donations go is often hard to dig up: auditors' reports do not give the whole picture; much advertising and many public relations blurbs are misleading; and most charities spend most of their money on education and research, and these expenditures are often not very productive or helpful. For instance, the famous seven warning signs for cancer, a cornerstone of American Cancer Society propaganda, are also associated with other diseases. Moreover, money for research usually goes to established researchers, not innovators. Health charities would do much better, Bennett and DiLorenzo say, if they concentrated their funds on the sick and on community services. William Beatty --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

This hard-hitting book argues that the original mission of the leading health charities has been subverted in a quest for fund-raising that benefits the medical establishment and the organizations themselves.

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By t-rone on November 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Unhealthy Charities: Hazardous to Your Health and Wealth" is a damning indictment on America's most "prestigious" health charities. While these charities are quick to award themselves with glowing accolades, the authors document numerous examples of inefficiency, inappropriate and improper spending, suppressing or ignoring promising research into "unconventional" modes of disease treatment, and an incestuous, tightly-knit network of executives and researchers who direct funds towards research and projects that support the charities' own preconceived ideologies and goals.

The book focuses on the "Big Three" charities--the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association. It describes how these and other health charities spend much time and money on things that have nothing to do with research and aid to disease victims--like crying poor and pleading for donations when they are in fact hoarding hundreds of millions in money, real estate, cars, stocks & bonds, paying their top staff 6-figure salaries, holding 'conferences' at luxurious hotels, exaggerating the benefits of their programs, exaggerating the amount spent on research and public education, enlisting government support to drive out smaller competing charities, using donations to fund further education for medical professionals even though they are amongst the highest income earners in the US and are more than capable of funding their own further eduction (as most other professions must do)--and on and on.

The only flaw is that the authors seriously seem to believe that all these flaws occur despite charities having the "best of intentions". The very real possibilty that these charities are just another arm of our corrupt, profit-obsessed, drug-centered sickness industry does not seem to occur to them.

Nonetheless, it still reveals much that health charities would prefer we did not know...
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A reader on June 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for anyone who contributes to charities. I don't think that all charities are bad, but you do have to think about where you contribute.

An interesting point brought up in this book is that any organization considered "charitable" is immune from careful scrutiny - questioning their activities is akin to an attack on the poor sick or needy themselves. So for congress or the public to investigate any kind of wrongdoing or excess is difficult.

The book also details how the big charities use guilt and emotion to get people to contribute money, how some such as the American Cancer Society try to suppress alternative research, and how much of the "profits" go to the execs who work there, as there is a lack of accountability at these types of organizations.

That being said, it reinforced my belief that charities such as Heifer International are the way to spend my charitable dollars since they focus much more on the underlying cause to a problem than on chasing a "cure". Give money to them and it will buy an animal for an impoverished family, who can then use it's milk for food as well as income, and give away it's offspring to other families in need. It's self-perpetuating and lasts virtually a lifetime.

On the other hand, give money to the American Cancer Society, and it will likely be spent on a needy executive to fly around the country and tell us that a cure is "just around the corner".
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