Wednesday, December 13, 2006

MADD Money

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has pulled its fundraising to the roadside after being caught under the influence of administrative bloat:

MADD Canada has stopped fundraising across the country pending an internal review of allegations that most donor money stays with professional telemarketers and door-knockers.

But leading volunteers with the anti-drunk driving charity say that's not enough. They want chief executive officer Andrew Murie to bring in an outside firm to scour the $12 million-a-year charity's books.


A Star investigation published Saturday delved into MADD's internal financial statements and revealed that only about 19 cents of every dollar goes to victim services and the fight against drunk driving. The charity, which has for many years been telling the public that most of its money is spent on charitable programs, has been counting as charity the work of professional telemarketers and other fundraisers. MADD does this, Murie has said, on the theory that their calls for cash are also spreading the message that drinking and driving is a criminal offence with sometimes fatal consequences. The federal charity regulator does not condone this practice.

Murie has not returned requests for interviews over the past month, including a request made yesterday by the Star. In a letter to the newspaper two weeks ago Murie defended MADD's fundraising practices, saying they ensure "that individual members of the Canadian public are informed about the seriousness of impaired driving."

Shortly after the story was published, the national charity's fundraising campaigns were suspended, Murie announced Monday evening, according to MADD volunteers on the national conference call. "We've been off the phones since Saturday morning," Murie said during the call.

He said there would be a review of the charity's fundraising practices to see if they were obeying federal charity regulations. No time frame for the review was given, but volunteers were told the review would be done internally.

At its inception, MADD did a lot of good work in raising public awareness and stigma about drunk driving's dangers and effects. But like a drunk who's never felt better after a few drinks, MADD lost its judgment and common sense, and has started staggering around dangerously into rough situations and doing foolish things.

Perhaps it's time to take MADD off the road for good.

Source: Toronto Star

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