Before the recent United Way scandals, many thought giving to a health charity was purely a good thing. Now they wonder about some of the matters Bennett and DiLorenzo bring up in their detailed, documented report. The two stress throughout that attention should be paid to what charities actually do, not to what they say they do, but that factual information on where the donations go is often hard to dig up: auditors' reports do not give the whole picture; much advertising and many public relations blurbs are misleading; and most charities spend most of their money on education and research, and these expenditures are often not very productive or helpful. For instance, the famous seven warning signs for cancer, a cornerstone of American Cancer Society propaganda, are also associated with other diseases. Moreover, money for research usually goes to established researchers, not innovators. Health charities would do much better, Bennett and DiLorenzo say, if they concentrated their funds on the sick and on community services.
Argues that the original mission of the leading health charities has been subverted in a quest for fund-raising that benefits executives and the medical establishment. Bennett (economics, George Mason U.) and DiLorenzo (economics, Loyola College) examine such groups as the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association and conclude that health charities hinder rather than help disease research, or at best play a minor role in the research arena. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)