Policy on Corporate Contributions

Introduction

Under no circumstances will policy or program decisions be affected by the companies that donate to support the work of Breast Cancer Action. BCAction cannot be bought, influenced, or discouraged from its mission to eradicate breast cancer. Throughout our history, Breast Cancer Action has relied primarily upon the financial support and generosity of its individual members. Nevertheless, financial realities dictate that Breast Cancer Action also seek funding from other sources such as foundations and corporations.

BCAction recognizes, however, that the effectiveness of its work in public education, advocacy, and coalition building depends on the organization’s credibility, particularly in the eyes of its members and the people it serves. The funding sources of any advocacy organization can appear to affect its political legitimacy, particularly in situations where corporate support raises the possibility, inference, or perception of a conflict of interest.

BCAction’s corporate contributions policy aims to reconcile the need to ensure the long-term financial health and longevity of the organization with the desire to avoid potentially real or perceived conflicts of interest related to corporate giving.

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Guiding Principles

The following principles guide BCAction’s corporate fundraising strategy:

  1. Providing unbiased information about breast cancer diagnosis and treatment necessitates that Breast Cancer Action be free of any appearance of conflict of interest. Accordingly, BCAction will not accept financial support from corporate entities whose products or services BCAction knows include cancer diagnosis or treatment.
  2. BCAction advocates the precautionary principle of public health that calls for acting on the weight of the evidence that links environmental carcinogens to breast cancer and other cancers, rather than waiting for absolute proof of cause and effect. Consistent with this position, Breast Cancer Action will not knowingly accept funding from corporate entities whose products or manufacturing processes directly endanger environmental and/or occupational health or may possibly contribute to cancer incidence, nor will BCAction knowingly accept donations from corporate entities that work to weaken or circumvent environmental and occupational regulations that would protect the public health and might decrease cancer incidence.

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Unacceptable Corporate Contributions

On the basis of these guiding principles, as well as BCAction’s mission and operating principles, BCAction will not knowingly accept funding from the following categories of corporations. (The following list is not necessarily exhaustive.):

  1. Pharmaceutical companies
  2. Chemical manufacturers
  3. Oil companies
  4. Tobacco companies
  5. Health insurance organizations
  6. Cancer treatment facilities

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This policy is intended to insure that BCAction is independent from outside influences in the pursuit of its mission and to avoid potential or perceived conflicts of interest. While we understand the impact of global capitalism and the structures of multinational corporations, this policy does not require BCAction to engage in exhaustive review of every corporation to trace the sources of income. BCAction does recognize that the activities of many corporations change rapidly and that we will periodically need to evaluate new information about corporate donors and the implications of that information in light of this policy. BCAction encourages its members and others to provide information about corporate activities that they believe have bearing on this policy.

Potential corporate contributions that may be problematic but are not adequately addressed in this policy will be evaluated by the executive director and, if necessary, by the Board of Directors. In addition, as questions arise, an ad hoc committee comprised of staff, board, and outside participants may be formed to recommend refinements of this policy.

This corporate contributions policy will be used as a guide for BCAction’s executive director and Board of Directors to inform the organization’s fundraising activities. BCAction will continue to focus its fundraising efforts on individual giving, either through direct contributions or through workplace giving programs. This policy shall not be construed to prohibit Breast Cancer Action from accepting matching gifts from corporations that are initiated by donations from individual corporate employees or corporate contributions made in memory of someone at the request of the decedent or her or his family. Donations of this type will be earmarked specifically for BCAction’s work on environmental issues or activities related to the organization’s ongoing promotion of the precautionary principle.

Adopted by the Breast Cancer Action Board of Directors in August 1998 and revised in April 2000.