The California Lotto does indeed send funds into schools and education programs. Since its inception in 1985, the Lotto has put $26.6 BILLION dollars into its stated goal. It's been accountable in making sure it does what it's supposed to do. They advertise this information quite a bit.
Here's what they don't tell you. Since its inception in 1985, through July 2013, the sales income for Lotto tickets has been $74.6 billion. This means that only 35% of those sales dollars goes to schools and education. The rest of the money goes to retailers commissions ($4.9 billion); winner payouts ($39.3 billion) and operations ($3.8 billion). (Remember, these numbers are total numbers between 1985 and 2013. They are not annual numbers. See page 12 of their 2013 annual report.)
I wonder what would happen if that $74.6 billion (from Lotto SALES ... this means money from citizens' pockets) was donated directly to the schools? Wouldn't you think it would make a much bigger difference?
The other day, I overheard this conversation between a middle-aged man and his elderly mother. She was standing in front of the Lotto vending machine.
"Mom, if you want to donate to a local school, I will be more than happy to help you write a check to do so. However, I will not help you buy a Lotto ticket."
"Son, I don't understand why you don't want me to help the schools! It says right here that every dollar spent on the Lotto helps fund education and school programs all over the State! Why don't you want me to help the schools?"
"Mom, I would love for you to help the schools. We can write a check and you can send it to the school of your choice and 100% of that money will go straight to that school. You will know exactly where that money goes."
"But, Son, I want to help the schools by buying a Lotto ticket. After all, I might win something!"
It was obvious there was more than a Lotto ticket purchase issue going on here and as a caregiver for my elderly in-laws, I recognized the memory issues that were also present in this conversation. I smiled at the man in encouragement (I was with my mother-in-law) and he took a deep breath and worked on moving his mother away from the machine, all the while praising her desire to help the schools, but emphasizing that Lotto tickets wasn't the route.
That pretty much sums up my feelings towards products that sport a pink ribbon. Rather than spending money on such product (that may or may not fund any type of research), please consider making a donation directly to the organization of your choice that funds your desired goals. For example, if you want to help with much needed community support, then find an organization that provides that support and donate directly to it. Rather than spend $10 on an item that takes a small percentage of the $10 and filters it down through a fund-raising organization, donate the full $10 directly to the end user.
Because of the amount of Internet reading I do on breast cancer, I am constantly bombarded with advertisements for pink ribbon products. They are coming in fast and heavy now as the world (yes, the world ... upcoming post on the international economic impact the pink ribbon has had) gears up for Pinktober. An ad that contained this product showed up today:
This tee shirt is quite offensive to me because it's very obvious that every ribbon does NOT make a difference. As I read through the 19 comments posted under the ad, I noted that 16 of them contained comments like, "I'm a survivor!" One comment asked to focus on all cancer and not just breast cancer and two comments were promoting quackery. There was no mention of metastatic breast cancer and how the pink ribbon movement ignores those living with terminal cancer.
I WANT MORE THAN A PINK RIBBON!
PINK IS NOT A CURE!
I won the Lotto. Against all odds and against all the pink promoted propaganda, I was diagnosed with a terminal disease at age 49. In spite of regular mammograms, in spite of regular ultrasounds, in spite of regular clinical exams and in spite of checking out every single lump that ever crossed my breast, I was still diagnosed with advanced disease from the beginning.
Don't gamble with your hard earned money. Go local with your support designated donations and go smart with your research designated donations. To make donations that will 100% go towards metastatic breast cancer research, please make your check out to UC Regents. Write "Rugo Breast Cancer Research in honor of ____________" on the memo line. Mail checks to:
Attn: Hope Rugo, MD
1600 Divisidero St Box 1710
San Francisco, CA 94115
If you are looking for a national organization that funds metastatic cancer research, please donate to Metavivor.