The $6 billion Question: Where Does the Money for Breast Cancer Really Go?

Illustration by Slug Signorino:

Billions of dollars have been invested in breast cancer related programs, services, research, and awareness activities over the years.

There are more than 1,400 registered nonprofit entities in the United States doing something oriented to breast cancer. Of these, more than 300 have no revenues at all; about another 300 have revenues under $50,000; 300 more raise between $100,00 and $500,000; and some 200 have contributions between $500,000 and $15 million. Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the largest breast cancer charity, received $420 million in revenues in 2011, with $175 million coming from contributions and grants.

In total, the nonprofit sector raises an estimated $2.5 to $3.25 billion for breast cancer in a given fiscal year. Between federal funding and the top five private foundations, the U.S. spends at least $1 billion annually on breast cancer research. No one knows how much is spent on all of those pink ribbon products and fundraising activities that are off the formal grid.

Some have estimated that $6 billion is raised every year in the name of breast cancer.

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