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February 10, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

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February 10, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

As the father of a patient at St. Jude, I wanted to weigh in on their fundraising. First, and foremost, I want to thank anyone who has ever donated to St. Jude. It’s a big organization that has relied on small gifts from millions of people over the last 50 years. And because of those gifts, St. Jude has better been able to understand and treat my son’s type of rare cancer. I’ve been on both sides of the coin, and giving to St. Jude is very compelling. It is an easy decision and it feels good to help children fight for their lives. But when you become the beneficiary of those gifts, it is hard to describe how overwhelming the feeling of gratitude is. I vividly remember driving onto their campus for the first time, how relieved my wife and I were to know that we were at the place that knew more about childhood cancer than any other place in the world. As such, before I say anything about the fundraising process at St. Jude, I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported their work. It is because of so many peoples’ generosity that St. Jude gives families like ours that peace-of-mind.

Officially, ALSAC is the fundraising organization responsible for raising 75 percent of the money that funds St. Jude each day. It is a very big organization with two priorities. First, a big part of what ALSAC does is telling the world about childhood cancer. It is not a cause that is championed by religious groups, business, or government. There is no big advocacy group. There are small groups doing things around the world, usually related to families who have been affected by childhood cancer, but nothing significant. That leaves ALSAC as the organization that keeps the cause in the public’s attention through their various media outlets, all which cost money. The second part of what they do is raise money for research and treatment of these diseases. ALSAC employees something like 1,500 people and hosts hundreds of events each year for donors all over the country. They rely on a lot of volunteer hours as well. ALSAC uses an external agency to benchmark their costs to make sure they are in-line with peer organizations. While they have to keep their costs reasonable, they also need to attract talented professionals. It is my experience that those talented professionals will work at ALSAC for less than they can make in the private sector. But we need them to have good people because what they do is significant.

As it relates to their CEO pay, remember that they list two CEOs. One is the CEO of ALSAC, Rick Shadyac, who makes a little bit less than the peer average even though he is an unbelievable leader for that organization and left a lucrative career in the private sector. We know him personally. We met him the first week we were at the hospital. He remembered my son’s name after the first time he met him. He knows all of the children it seems. He is visibly anguished when a child loses their battle, which unfortunately still happens. And he is a tireless advocate for them. He is the leader in the cause of fighting childhood cancer and we need him in that spot. There is also a CEO of the hospital, St. Jude, whose salary is reported. That has been Dr. William Evans, although he is in the process of retiring as CEO. Dr. Evans is a renowned scientist who St. Jude has been lucky to have.

My family is so grateful that people have given their money to ALSAC/St. Jude for the past 50 years because it has given my son a better chance in the fight for his life. We are grateful for the people at ALSAC and St. Jude who have dedicated their careers to fighting childhood cancer. As a donor, I don’t want our gifts to be wasted. And as the father of a patient at St. Jude, I assure you that they are not.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

February 7, 2014

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February 7, 2014

As a parent of a child who has been under the care of St. Jude since March of 2012, I hope my perspective is useful. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer. Everything St. Jude does is centered on finding cures and saving children. When my son was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 12, there was no doubt in my mind where I needed to take him to be cured. Families like mine never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food. This allows for 100% focus on curing my child. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children.

Whether a hospital is a for profit facility or a not for profit one, it takes talented leaders to operate them. To continue to do it’s lifesaving work, St. Jude must hire and retain the best doctors, researchers, scientists, nurses and fundraising leaders. The skills and experience of executive leaders are in very high demand across the country and internationally. In my opinion, it’s important that compensation for these positions be reasonable, fair and benchmarked to their peers. I think if you look at the compensation packages for the Leaders of St. Jude and ALSAC, you will find that they are actually in many cases below market. I think that’s a responsible way to operate and it allows St. Jude to offer fair wages and still attract top talent.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 17, 2013
4 people found this review helpful

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July 17, 2013
4 people found this review helpful

My son is a St. Jude patient. He was diagnosed in Sep. 2003 with a baseball-sized malignant brain tumor, 3 days after his 9th birthday. They performed emergency surgery hours after the MRI that revealed the tumor, it was big and the swelling was so severe he was lapsing into a coma. We live in San Diego and I never imagined us traveling to Memphis for treatment, we sought opinions at CHLA, UCSF, Rady Children's in San Diego, and Children's Nat'l Medical Center in DC.

We ended up taking him to Memphis because at that time, they had a treatment available nowhere else in the U.S. that involved use of a lower dose of radiation to his brain and a treatment duration of 8 months instead of 2+ years that was producing higher survival rates than anything we could get elsewhere. The lower dose of radiation was the clincher, all radiation amounts to brain damage, and is particularly devastating to the developing brains of young children. We had great insurance coverage and did not choose St. Jude because of the financial benefits.

My son is 19 now and in a couple of months he will be a 10-year survivor of this tumor. Simply put, St. Jude saved his life and with better quality than he could have gotten anywhere else in the world at that time. He just graduated high school this past June and he is about to enter college, something that 10 years ago I did not believe was possible. I do not believe he would be in this situation if we had gone ahead with the treatments available in CA at the time of his diagnosis. The treatment he did then is now available in CA and other places. St. Jude is simply the best of the best and our family owes them a debt we can never repay.

They do operate using clinical trials, and they only treat patients that they have an available treatment for and expertise with. They do not say in their ads that they will take any patient, they state very clearly that "no patient will be turned away because of race, creed or inability to pay". They will bill your insurance if you have any and take whatever they get, a patient will never see a bill. They are privately funded, because of this they are not held hostage by the insurance companies/hmo's. In addition to patients that have conditions they've developed treatments for, they will also take patients who have rare diseases that have no available treatments and develop a custom treatment protocol for them. We also know of patients from other countries they will accept who have diseases for which there is no good treatment in their home countries. I know of no other organization that does this.

I encourage those who take issue with the CEO salaries to calculate those salaries as a percentage of revenue brought in and compare against similar organizations. St. Jude has huge operating costs and large financial reserves, part of this is so that when they take on a patient they are guaranteed the funding to finish their treatment. Some of the leukemia protocols are in excess of 3 years, St. Jude houses and feeds these families for the complete duration of treatment.

St. Jude will accomodate up to four people in any patient housing. If the patient is in the hospital, up to four other family members may stay in the patient housing. There is a meal allowance for use in the cafeteria, patients staying in Target House (apartments) get a weekly grocery card to offset expenses. They provide transportation to and from all of their facilities.

Perhaps the very best thing of all about St. Jude was that I can say that in my entire life we've never been shown such unconditional love by complete strangers, in Memphis not only did they take care of my son but also our family in the most loving way imaginable, body and soul. There is a saying at St. Jude, you go there with one sick child and you come home with 35, we hold so many of the friends we met there so very close to our hearts, and so many we've lost. Having a child with a life-threatening illness is perhaps one of the very worst thing a parent can endure and St. Jude ministered to all of us in just so many ways, I truly believe there is no other place like St. Jude in the world.

To Kathy Wolfe, who commented that on their form 990 they list no fundraising expenses, I'd like to direct you to form 990 for FY2012 schedule H, it's on page 64 of the PDF at the below link:
http://www.stjude.org/SJFile/990form-stjude-fy12.pdf

It says:
"THE FUNDRAISING SOURCE FOR ST. JUDE IS ALSAC WHICH RAISES FUNDS SOLELY
FOR THE HOSPITAL. BECAUSE OF THE HOSPITAL'S MISSION, PEOPLE NATIONWIDE
CONTRIBUTE VIA TENS OF THOUSANDS OF FUNDRAISING EFFORTS. ALSAC
CONTRIBUTED $442 MILLION IN FISCAL YEAR 2012 TO MEET THE OPERATING COST
OF ST. JUDE."

St. Jude doesn't hire any outside companies or people to do fundraising. To see the St. Jude fundraising expenses, you need to take a look at ALSAC's (American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities) 990's, available on their page:
http://www.guidestar.org/organizations/35-1044585/american-lebanese-syrian-associated-charities.aspx

I hope this information helps.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

May 1, 2012
4 people found this review helpful

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May 1, 2012
4 people found this review helpful

My daughter received care from this organization for a rare brain tumor. They gave us hope when NO one else could including the top experts in the field. They have to spend money soliciting because they are completely not for profit. It cost more than 1.6 million dollars PER DAY to run this organization. They freely give out the research to the medical community. Some of the top researchers and physicians have reached the point in their career where they do not even accept a salary! St Jude is everything they claim to be and more. Every employee is exceptional. I have been a registered nurse for many years and have never seen a group of more dedicated professionals. They are transparent about their funds, they give more than 70% to research and the programs surrounding the research like room, board and travel for the families. This is a very worthy, well run organization to give your hard earned money too. Thank you.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

February 24, 2010
3 people found this review helpful

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February 24, 2010
3 people found this review helpful

My friend's son was treated at St. Jude's and I think they're an incredible organization: they follow (and sometimes lead) the latest in research, while also being caring practitioners.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the treatment of a family friend.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

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