MICHAEL J FOX FOUNDATION FOR PARKINSONS RESEARCH

Rating: 2.5 stars   4 reviews

Issues:

Location: Church Street Station PO Box 780 New York NY 10008 USA

Mission: The Michael J. Fox Foundation was launched in 2000 and directs funds to promising research opportunities worldwide. The Foundation strives to make every dollar count as it seeks a cure for Parkinson''s disease. With growing resources, the Foundation''s focus is increasingly on the clinical and translational research crucial to making strides toward a cure and improved therapies for those living with Parkinson''s today. Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson''s disease in 1991. Armed with the knowledge that with proper funding, a cure for Parkinson''s disease was within reach, Fox publicly disclosed his condition in 1998 and committed himself to the campaign for increased Parkinson''s awareness and research funding.
Programs: The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research remains focused on funding innovative partnerships and programs that can move promising research to clinical application. The Foundation implements its research strategy through a diverse portfolio that includes: investigator-initiated programs, directive programs and collaborations. Investigator-Initiated Programs: The Foundation has designed programs to capture "best-in-field" Parkinson's research opportunities, inviting scientists from around the world to submit their best ideas across a range of disciplines with an emphasis on new and novel approaches. These investigator-initiated programs such as the Foundation's annual Fast Track program, allow the Foundation to keep an ear to the ground for the most innovative and promising ideas worldwide and attracts talented newcomers to the field. Directive Programs: The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and its Scientific Advisory Board has initiated a series of strategic scientific workshops to identify specific areas where the Foundation could dramatically advance the science. Each workshop focuses on a high priority area of Parkinson's research, bringing together leaders in the field to assess progress, examine constraints and recommend specific courses of action. In direct response to recommendations from these workshops the Foundation has been able to zero-in on, and fund, potentially high-impact areas of research with the goal of moving promising research to clinical application. Collaborations: The Foundation's scientific advisors have encouraged the Foundation to increase collaboration among researchers by funding innovative partnerships and programs. A notable example is LEAPS (Linked Efforts to Accelerate Parkinson's Solutions), a milestone-driven program designed to enable all-star research teams to jump-start progress through collaborative, multidisciplinary research efforts that address questions that will have meaningful impact on those living with Parkinson?s. In another collaborative effort, The Edmond J. Safra Global Genetics Consortia, participating researchers are required to share findings to improve understanding of genetics and Parkinson's.
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Rating: 1 stars  

MJFF systematically provides receipts which say no goods or services were provided in exchange for donations which are actually made in exchange for live auction and silent auction items at events held by members of the Team Fox organization of the MJFF. They train and encourage people to say that all donations are tax-deductible even if goods and services are provided in quid pro quo exchange or for purchase of raffle tickets.
The Team Fox members are provided training and benefits by MJFF in order to encourage donations to the MJFF Foundation on behalf of their personal team. They are specifically told that all donations will be tax deductible. I sent in checks on behalf of a Team Fox member and sent documentation of the amount of goods and services that were provided in exchange for specific donations. I was among those getting a benefit (goods and services) for my donation and when I got the receipt saying I had not gotten any goods and services, I called to ask for a corrected receipt. After repeated calls and discussions with the CFO, and 2 others, they did not send an updated receipt and insisted that because the donations were made to them at events that were organized by their volunteers that they were legally correct in sending receipts showing no goods or services were exchanged. In this event the MJFF organization actually subsidized the cost of the dinner and sent 2 staff members to attend the dinner. So they observed the silent and live auction as well as the raffle. The program listed the value of goods and services and the silent auction sheets listed the value of goods and services. The values were reasonable. Checks to the MJFF were collected after the auctions and items were exchanged in a quid pro quo exchange. Raffle tickets were sold at the event and I believe that tax-deductible receipts were sent for those donations as well.
I was assured that the "false" receipts would not trigger an audit for the donors or event organizers, but I think it could jeopardize the non-exempt status and rating of the MJFF organization. My advice to MJFF: give true and accurate receipts showing value of goods and services. People will still support a good cause.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

ask that they give true and accurate reciepts reflecting value of goods and services and that they not give reciepts for raffle ticket purchases.

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

What specific problem, purpose, priority, or project prompted your gift?

a friend who has Parkinson's Disease.

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Rating: 4 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

I've donated to the Michael J Fox Foundation in the past but sjipped a couple of years after some tough years for me and now I'm back donating. I understand the comments about salaries, but you have to put it into context. I just got through reviewing a few charities on this website that are paying the ceo of them almost a million dollars a year and past ceo's are still getting paid almost a million dollars a year. That said 400K seems like a bargain. Overall admin costs and expenses and the cost for fundraising seems to be in line which is why this website rates the Michael J Fox Foundation so well. I urge you to give it another look. Do a quick search for parkinson charities and you'll notice that only the Michael J Fox charity is rated four stars. Some of the OTHER Parkinson charities are spening 20-30% of the money they raise on fundraising and admin expenses and that's just ridiculous and I could not support them. According to great nonprofits website the Michael J Fox Foundation spends about 11% on fundraising and admin costs which to me is more then reasonable.

Was your donation impactful?

Likely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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Review from CharityNavigator
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 2 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Both my wife and our oldest son are advanced Parkinson's Disease patients. Like Steve, I resent the enormous salaries paid to a supposedly non-profit organization. As a retired lawyer having represented both charitable trusts and foundations, I know that able and dedicated talent can be found at half the price being paid by the Michael J. Foundation.

Al George

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

None other than solicitations for donations.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

See comments above

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 3 stars  

I have a hard time wanting to donate to an non-profit organization where the 2 top workers make almost $1M. With 2 friends fighting Parkinsons, I think I'll donate elsewhere where the top workers work for much much less. I wonder why they call it a non-profit organization when someone is paid so much.

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

No

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Lower the salary of the 2 top workers so more money goes to research for this terrible disease.

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Review from CharityNavigator