Maryland Cancer Charity Agrees to Pay $470,000, Including $375,000 to Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, to Resolve Division of Consumer Affairs' Investigation into its Fundraising Activities
NEWARK – The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has concluded its investigation of Walker Cancer Research Institute, Inc., a Maryland-based charity, through entry of a Consent Order, which includes a $375,000 voluntary payment to the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey to support cancer research in the state.
As part of the settlement, Walker Cancer Research has also agreed to pay the Division $95,000 in reimbursement of its attorney's fees and investigative costs, and agreed to certain practices, among other things, in its direct mail solicitation of contributions. Walker Cancer Research entered into the settlement without any admission of liability.
"This settlement brings closure to the Division's investigation of this charity in a way that protects the integrity of charitable giving in New Jersey and benefits cancer patients of all ages through additional funding for care and research," said Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy.
As part of the settlement, Walker Cancer Research has made a payment of $375,000 to the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the state's only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. The New Brunswick-based oncology center has agreed to apply the funds to its Precision Medicine Research Program and/or the Stacy Goldstein Breast Cancer Center Research Program.
"The Division keeps vigilant watch over the charitable organizations operating in New Jersey to ensure that they are following the law and applying contributions properly," said Steve Lee, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. "The Division will act to ensure that contributions are being spent as charities promised and donors intended."
The Division's investigation into Walker Cancer Research concerned the charity's fundraising activities, including its allocation of direct mail campaign fundraising costs to program expenses (specifically donations for public education), its direct mail solicitations, and its disbursement of contributions.
As part of the settlement, Walker Cancer Research has agreed to certain practices, which include: compliance with generally accepted accounting principles in its allocation of fundraising expenses and program (i.e. public education) expenses; submission to the Division's Charities Registration Section of financial statements that properly allocate fundraising costs; inclusion in its direct mail solicitations of accurate representations as to the percentage of contributions allocated to public education; and solicitation of contributions only for its expressed charitable purpose.
Jennifer Micco, Supervising Investigator, in the Division's Office of Consumer Protection conducted this investigation.
Deputy Attorney General Cathleen O'Donnell in the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section within the Division of Law represented the Division in this matter.
The Division of Consumer Affairs, through its "Investigate Before You Donate" campaign, encourages New Jersey consumers to learn as much as possible about any charity before deciding to make a donation. Consumers should:
- Find out whether the charity is registered in New Jersey, or is exempt from having to register. (Certain religious and educational organizations, and charities whose annual income includes less than $10,000 in public contributions and fundraising, are exempt from having to register with the State.)
- Find out how much the charity spent during recent fiscal years on program costs, management costs, and fundraising.
- Learn about the charity's stated mission.
Consumers may obtain information about a charity in several ways. They can ask the charity itself (reputable charities encourage you to do so), or visit the charity's website.
Consumers can also obtain this information from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
. Visit the Division's Charities Registration page
; call the Division's Charities Hotline at 973-504-6215 during regular business hours; or use the Division's free "New Jersey Charity Search" smartphone app