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Donate Elsewhere: The Boys & Girls Club of Cape Cod Spends Its Resources Promoting Comcast

donor alertIf your non-profit or civil rights group feels that part of its core mission is writing letters in favor of a giant cable company’s plans to upsize, we’d like to welcome you to Stop the Cap’s new Alert Your Donor Base program, a free public service from a group that does not accept contributions from corporate donors, big or small. All too often, your love letters have gone unnoticed by your contributors who believed their money was being used to help the needy and downtrodden, not rich corporate executives, shareholders and Wall Street investment banks.

No worries, those days are over. We’re thrilled to share your all-too-often unpublicized excitement for all-things-Comcast with your donors and supporters on your group’s social media pages, discussion forums, and even with the local media in your area.

As we see it, non-profits and civil rights groups serve important functions in society and we encourage all to redouble those efforts and get out of the corporate shill business. Comcast really doesn’t need your help to consummate their $45 billion dollar deal. But if you insist, we think it’s only fair the public understands where their contributions are going.

Dear Boys and Girls Club of Cape Cod,

We’re excited to learn that the challenges faced by the youth of Cape Cod have evidently been entirely resolved, freeing up your organization’s valuable time and resources to promote a $45 billion dollar merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable on your group’s letterhead.

Your Massachusetts donors must share my excitement, knowing your organization now has an enormous surplus of resources in the bank. Why else would the Boys and Girls Club spend valuable time and money churning out letters for a multi-billion dollar corporation that customers across Massachusetts know and loathe.

We were especially impressed with how far your group was willing to reach beyond its core service area — sending letters gushing about Comcast to state regulators (excerpt below) like the New York State Public Service Commission:

boys girls club cape cod

Again and again over the past 17 years, Comcast has proven itself to be a good ¿corporate citizen¿ by providing numerous services to the Boys & Girls Club free of charge and always with a friendly helping hand. 

I do know that Comcast has also partnered with our national organization, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, since 2000, providing more than $68 million in cash and in-kind contributions and that they sponsor of Club Tech, a digital literacy initiative dedicated to providing youth with computer skills needed to success in the 21st century. 

The Boys & Girls Club of Cape Cod serves 823 children on an annual basis providing individualized supplementary education at the elementary, middle and high school levels.  It is no exaggeration to say we would not be where we are today without the assistance of good neighbors like Comcast and I have every reason to believe that a stronger Comcast will only strengthen their ability to serve the community.

The Boys & Girls Club of Cape Cod is grateful to Comcast for their support of our kids and families and fully expect that the same kind of “good neighbor attitude” will continue in support nonprofit organizations in NY and elsewhere.

68 million dollars. We let that dollar amount sit with us for a moment. $68,000,000. That sure is a lot of incentive to spread good cheer on behalf of a company that ordinary consumers voted (again), The Worst Company in America. And look at you — you want them to grow even larger!

We have no doubt that the Boys and Girls Club is indeed grateful to Comcast for numerous checks handed out to your organization. Unfortunately, this only convinces us of two things:

  1. The Boys and Girls Club has too much free time on its hands, becoming intimately involved in giant corporate business deals that help executives and shareholders, and not too many boys and girls who face Comcast’s notoriously high rates and bad service when they get a little older;
  2. Your organization really doesn’t need contributions because Comcast is available to cut you checks at every opportunity.

Yours very truly,

Stop the Cap!

Currently there are 13 comments on this Article:

  1. James R Curry says:

    Keep these up, Phil. They’re brilliant. I hope you’re posting them in all sorts of places where donors of the group in question will see them.

  2. Jonathan says:

    (68 million / 17)/823 is nearly $5000 per person.


  3. Brent says:

    Jonathan, that $68 million is national funding, for the over 4000 locations nationwide, since 2000. So really $68,000,000/14 years/4000/823=$1.48 annually to each kid. Or at least that’s closer.

    • Brandon says:

      Brent, forgive me if I missed something, but this only states that they serve 823 children annually, not per location. The number of locations should not be included if the total number of children is given.

      • M. says:

        Brandon, it pretty clearly says that the $68M goes to the *national organization.* In the next paragraph it says the Cape Cod organization serves 823 children.

  4. joe says:

    So you’re saying stop donating to the Boys & Girls Club because they’re showing support for their donor?

    • If you believe your money is going in the right place to a group preoccupied with writing letters to out of state regulators about a merger that has nothing to do with the group’s charter or its clients, that is entirely up to you.

      Apparently, we’ve come a long way from the coffee mugs, tote bags, and thank you luncheons. Now a non-profit goes to work lobbying for a multi-billion dollar company? Someone’s priorities are all wrong.

  5. alex says:

    This is the kind of dumb “pitchforking” that just does not add to the conversation.

    Congratulations, you have found an easy target for your rant and now it’s just indiscriminate firing all around. Any and all bystanders are just collateral damage.

    Girls and Boys Club, like any other non-profit, must show appreciation to its sponsors for their donations. It is the nature of their organization to maintain good relations with them in order to secure their sponsorship. Duh.

    Keep up the lazy pseudo journalism.

    • Leonid Ardov says:

      With Alex on this one. The club provides great service to their community. I had no idea Comcat was such a huge donor. Makes me feel better about Comcast.

      • RichardLB says:

        I think the point here is that it’s ok for an organization to gush about its donors, but is it crossing the line when it takes on the task of speaking for or marketing for that same donor?

        At what point does it turn from “donation” to “selling out”? Not saying that happened here (doesn’t seem clear to me), but it does make me wonder…

    • Aaron says:

      A simple “Thank you to Comcast for their generous donation!” would have been appreciation enough. This is not what happened.

      Instead, Girls and Boys Club wrote a gushing, glowingly positive letter in an obvious attempt to make them look like a more attractive, responsible “corporate citizen” for the sole purpose of assisting with any merger considerations that are happening.

      Anyone that reads this blog, and a vast majority of people who use their services, would be quick to tell you that Comcast is FAR FROM what people would consider a “good ‘corporate citizen'” in any shape or form. Comcast only acts appropriately when there is a chance it will lead to positive press for them, or higher profits. They do not act in the interests of their customers or their communities. Just because an organization does good, it does not make that organization immune to criticism, especially when they are using dirty money from a less than trustworthy source, and then proudly shouting about how great that source is (despite all the evidence to the contrary).

      You folks are wrong, Girls and Boys Club deserve all the negative attention they can get for this one, they should have thought about their actions before blindly prostituting out their support for a crappy company.

    • I served as president of a local 501 c 3 non-profit organization for several years and what appears okay for the Boys & Girls Club would be a blatant violation of ethics under our organization’s bylaws. In fact, I wouldn’t serve on the board of an organization that permitted this kind of corrupt behavior.

      It is wholly inappropriate for a non-profit organization to collect contributions from the public and then use those resources to actively lobby in favor of a for-profit corporation’s business agenda, regardless if they made a contribution or not.

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with sending a donor a thank you note, sponsor a gathering in their honor, even put out coffee mugs with their logo on it as a thank you/recognition.

      But you don’t send letters to out of state regulators using your organization’s name and credibility to advance some third party corporation’s business agenda. It’s not appropriate… ever.

      A lot of groups believe they can get away with this unethical behavior because it has gone unnoticed for a long time. Those days are over. We will continue to name and shame groups caught engaging in this activity, we will publicize their work on behalf of Comcast, and ask their donors whether their money is going in the right place.

      If anyone has a problem with that, your best option is to contact the group in question and ask them to rescind their letters of support. We will be more than happy to remove them from our Alert Your Donor Base campaign and let donors know they’ve done the right thing.

  6. danny schwarzhoff says:

    Worrying about this is a pitiful waste of time and energy. In writing this reply, I have sadly squandered 12 seconds of time I will never see back. ~ djs

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