OMAHA, NE – The color pink brings in plenty of green each October. Breast cancer awareness takes front and center this time each year. Retailers, charities and even athletes roll out pink items to support the cause.
As the Gross High School football team took the field in blue and orange Thursday night, student fans were wearing pink. Part of the school’s “Pink Out” event to raise breast cancer awareness. It was one of several activities marking breast cancer awareness month in the Metro Thursday.
Stores roll out merchandise from several manufacturers each October. Every product maker promises to donate part of the proceeds to a breast cancer charity. How much they donate varies among the companies.
“The power in pink from the Under Armour Company donates about 10 percent of the proceeds from their products. The Nike foundation for Kay Yow also donates a certain percentage to women’s cancer funds,” said Anne Gerdes with Scheels All Sports in Omaha.
Scheels fills part of their sales floor with a pink display containing the products. Gerdes said the sports retailer also has its own brand of pink breast cancer awareness shirts where half the sale price stays local. Scheels donates $5 from the sale to the Image Recovery Center at Alegent Creighton Health.
With so many choices, and what seems to be aggressive competition, Action 3 News asked the experts for tips for consumers who want to make the most charitable impact for their dollar. Jim Hegarty with the Better Business Bureau said it all begins with basic questions.
“Are they worthy of the contribution, and are they a charity that meets the standard accountability standards that we would hope a charity would meet if we were to evaluate them?” Hegarty asked.
According to Hegarty, the Better Business Bureau rates charities high that put at least 65 percent of their funds back into programming. The organization also has online tools, like www.give.org, which help consumers navigate the charity maze.
A national article, “Business Insider” raised questions about the NFL’s efforts this week. The investigation found out a surprisingly small amount of the funds raised—just slightly more than 8 percent -- go toward cancer research.
“It’s a tight rope,” said Project Pink’d President and Founder Cynthia Sturgeon. “That’s why our organization doesn’t get into the business of saying, ‘Hey, you only gave us $1.’ We’re grateful for that dollar.”
Sturgeon said rules to help local charities navigate donors aren’t as easy to come by. She started Project Pink’d to help Breast Cancer survivors rebuild their lives at a time when the donation market is still tight. Her goal is return 85 percent of funds raised to cancer survivors.
The Omaha Firefighters Union announced a partnership with Project Pink’d Thursday. Union officials are selling their own pink shirts. Half of the proceeds go to Sturgeon’s charity. She would spend Thursday night at a separate pink high school event to raise awareness and money for cancer efforts. It is money that wouldn’t be available if national efforts hadn’t caught on at home.
“Every gift that we receive is a gift,” Sturgeon said, “whether it’s one cent or a million dollars.”