The New York Times raises old and new concerns about non-profit health organizations selling out to corporate interests. The Times reports:
"Many public health charities, from the American Heart Association to the Lupus Foundation of America, raise money from businesses. But for the American Diabets Association, and some other charities, the effort has increasingly become an exercise in balancing the need to raise money with core matters of conscience.
'We tightened things up,' Dr. Richard Kahn, a top A.D.A. executive, said of the association’s new guidelines for corporate fund-raising, 'because we were beginning to be bombarded by all kinds of food companies selling all kinds of products with requests to be a ‘proud sponsor’ or to advertise.'
Some consumer and food activists say the guidelines, while good, do not go far enough.
They say the A.D.A. remains too wedded to benefactors in the food and pharmaceutical industries, who provided more than $23 million last year.
Of particular concern: a three-year, $1.5 million sponsorship deal with Cadbury-Schweppes, the world’s largest confectioner. Under the deal, which meets the new guidelines, Cadbury is promoted as an A.D.A. sponsor in several settings, and has permission to use the A.D.A. logo on its Diet-Rite sodas, Snapple unsweetened tea and Mott’s Apple Sauce, among other products.
Critics say the A.D.A. affiliation has helped Cadbury pose as a concerned corporate citizen, even as it supplies grocery stores with sugary and fattening foods like Dr Pepper and the Cadbury Creme Egg.
'Maybe the American Diabetes Association should rename itself the American Junk Food Association,' said Gary Ruskin, director of Commercial Alert, a consumer advocacy group.
Others remain concerned about the A.D.A.’s relationships with pharmaceutical companies. Their presence is evident throughout the charity, from its annual convention, which is largely underwritten by drug makers, to its board meetings, where pharmaceutical executives have served on the volunteer committees that set policy."