In Las Vegas, faux charity calls me twice in same day

Anna” is pushy. And not very smart.

On a recent day, she phoned me twice at the New To Las Vegas world headquarters, several hours apart. Each time, she asked for a contribution to something called the Breast Cancer and Women’s Health Initiative, of Washington, D.C. She said the donation would be spent backing candidates for political office to support policies that would help women with breast cancer.

Listening to her sweet, friendly voice, one might think she was calling on behalf of a health care charity doing good works for humanity. This undoubtedly is what her overlords wanted me to think. But she wasn’t. Her organization is a d/b/a used by something called the United Women’s Health Alliance PAC. PAC means political action committee. I call these outfits faux charities because they sound like a charity but aren’t. (For starters, contributions are not tax-deductible, something the callers do not emphasize.)

I can cast aspersions on the intelligence and character of “Anna” without fear of getting sued by her for defamation. Why? She isn’t a person, but simply a voice generated by a computer being monitored by a real person who hits buttons to generate relevant responses to anything I say (the reason I have been putting quote marks around her name).

But my characterizations are also true. Twice in one day she called me asking for money even though I trashed her and her cause in writing when she first called me last year asking for money. You can read that write-up by clicking here. Calling me after a published rebuke also is my criteria for nominating the organizations with which she is affiliated to my list of America’s Stupidest Charities. You can see the full list elsewhere on this page.

But now I have something to add. When “Anna” first called me in October 2020, the UWHA was so new–founded just two months earlier–that it had made no filings to the Federal Election Commission about its receipts and disbursements. Now it has. UWHA has made detailed reports through December 31, 2020, a period that covered hotly contested national elections all the way up to the White House. Guess how much money the UWHA said it handed out to political candidates it deemed worthy on the breast cancer front?

Zero.

More than half of the $84,000 in receipts, about $48,000, went for what I would call fundraising expense. Another $17,000 was spent in legal and other overhead.

UWHA ended the year with $23,558 in the bank. That’s not going to fund many future political donations, especially since $13,935 is listed as a debt owed to UWHA’s founder and treasurer, one Audrey Stephanie Mastroianni. I’m betting she’ll get her money before any candidate does.

Charity or not, these are dreadful financial efficiencies.

Mastroianni for many years has run a registered 501(c)(3) charity called United Breast Cancer Foundation, in Huntington, NY. A few years back, her charity was ranked No. 38 on the Tampa Bay Times‘s famous list of America’s Worst Charities. I once was solicited by that organization, too. (Click here for that account, which featured a robot caller who went by “Alice.”) Like UWHA, most of its cash contributions listed on its most recent federal tax return, for 2019, went for fundraising. Then there was Mastroianni’s $320,523 in total compensation.

I sent a request for comment to UWHA at an email address on its website. I haven’t gotten responses to previous requests to the Mastroianni organization, but I’ll update this post if I somehow hear back.

As for “Anna,” after she made her second pitch of the day to me, I asked how many political candidates there were out there who didn’t support breast cancer causes. I doubt I’m the first person to ask something like this. It would have been a great opportunity for “Anna” to warble about the importance of good health care and supporting the needy. But instead, “Anna” hung up. Not very smart.

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Comments

In Las Vegas, faux charity calls me twice in same day — 2 Comments

  1. Anna called me today – I went along with the call just to be a good sport, but after asking if i could make the donation online, and what was the website, I received a response not at all close to what I’d just asked and then a swift dial tone. I suppose the pre recorded conversation from UWHA didn’t appreciate my off topic question. How dare I stray from the script Anna.

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