Elaine Fogel

Shame on Livestrong Donors Who Want Their Money Back

Lance Armstrong may or may not be a cheat in the cycling competition world, but he wasn’t cheating when he founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997.  As you read the foundation’s milestones, it is very clear that the nonprofit has accomplished a great deal in its history.

From cancer survivorship programs, to launching LIVESTRONG.org, an online resource for cancer survivors; from releasing the National Action Plan for Cancer Survivorship with the CDC to hosting conferences and summits, the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s boards, volunteers, and staff have supported cancer survivors on a daily basis.

Armstrong may have been its founder and board chair (until recently); he may have been the inspiration behind people’s initial involvement, but in the end, who benefits from the charity’s work? Cancer survivors, their families, and healthcare providers. How can any donor contributing to the charity’s good work want to penalize the people the foundation serves because of one individual’s unrelated acts or behavior?

The mission is bigger than me. It’s bigger than any individual,” Armstrong said on Friday in his opening remarks at Livestrong’s 15th anniversary celebration.”

What do you say? Do you say, “Shame on them,” or do you think they make a good point?


Some Livestrong Donors Want Money Back After Lance Armstrong Doping Scandal

4 Responses to Shame on Livestrong Donors Who Want Their Money Back

  • I say, “shame on Lance Armstrong” for being an outright and shameless liar for years.
    While I think it is wrongheaded to argue that giving to the foundation was based on false pretenses, I think they are expressing a deep deep frustration….AND SUSPISCION. How do donors know that he hasn’t been cheating in some way at the Foundation? Maybe several of the 100 or so orgs the foundation gave money to are his personal favorite charities that may not align with the foundation’s stated mission. Maybe he used some of the $5 Million in ‘other’ expenses for personal use. Maybe the $500K reported as fundraising travel expense for some lavish vacation. Maybe he is getting kickbacks from vendors.

    The donors should first look more closely at the Livestrong Foundation tax returns…then ask questions of the board if they still feel that their money was not going to what they thought it should. And if not satisfied, but want to help bring an end to cancer there are many many other good organizations from which to choose.

    Unfortunately these donors are hurt, probably more so than most of us who simply bought a yellow jersey or bracelet. I can empathize with their anger and perhaps, if I had given $50k or more, I’d want it back.

    For years Me. Armstrong modeled the attitude that said, “I’m bigger than the Tour de France, the International Cycling Union and the USADA.” Now his donors are just modeling the same. Shame on Lance Armstrong for being such a lousy model.

    • Keith, you make some valid points. It’s true that some people may wonder if Armstrong has cheated his own foundation. Hopefully, the board of directors is comprised of ethical individuals who have been good stewards of donor money. However, having the books audited from an external, impartial firm wouldn’t hurt to re-build confidence in the mission.

      I am still hopeful that the good work the foundation has already done and its future work will not be tainted by Armstrong’s fall from grace.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion!

  • Yes — he was cheating. He was using his fame (which he achieved illegally) to convince people to donate. If he hadn’t won those Tour de France titles, he would not have been able to convince all of those people to contribute.

    • Michael, I’m sure you’re right that some people gave because of Armstrong’s name and celebrity. However, if the end results have been helping cancer patients, and the foundation’s finances are clean, I hope donors will continue to support it.

      Thanks for your comment!

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