Tag Archives: Charity Sector

HOW THE RACE FOR LIFE CREATOR CONTINUED RAISING MILLIONS FOR CHARITIES DESPITE APPALLING TREATMENT BY CANCER RESEARCH UK

Having created the Race for Life only to see a member of staff at Cancer Research UK steal the idea and for the charity’s leadership to support a campaign of lies about the event’s origins (despite being offered evidence as to their claims being fiction), you could be forgiven for thinking that person would want nothing more to do with the charity sector.

Fortunately for a number of other charities that was not the case and Jim Cowan, the man who created the Race for Life, has successfully helped to raise £millions for other causes over the intervening years.

The sheer volume of fundraising events that Jim has been behind is too large to list them all here, the following being just a sample.

For example Jim turned the Poppy Run into a national series of events taking place in all four home countries as well as being the only fun run to be officially staged in Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. And armed forces charities further benefited through the creation of the People’s Run 2 Remember, another national series, organised nationally by Jim through a dedicated network of local organisers.

Indeed, if you have taken part in any event which included the term ‘People’s Run’ in its title, you have taken part in an event organised by Jim for the many good causes associated.

Beyond running, he organised the Rio Three Peaks Challenge events, modelled on the UK Three Peaks but using the mountains surrounding Rio de Janeiro and supporting street kids around the world.

Jim Cowan on top of Corcovado during the Rio Three Peaks Challenge in 2016.

From pub nights to dinners, from fun runs to challenge events, from local to national and international charities, Jim has created and managed hundreds of events.

And he has also tackled a number of challenge events himself to raise further funds. From completing the Three Peaks inside 24 hours to taking on Hadrian’s Wall non-stop in 31 hours, and  completing the Fan Dance in just outside 4 hours to his current project, Challenge 72.

Challenge 72 will involve Jim and a friend, Aide Myatt, walking 72 miles, in under 72 hours, while each carrying 72lbs on their back, supported by four other friends. It takes place between 27th and 29th August and raises funds for the Grenfell Foundation supporting a community still struggling over three years on from the tragic fire.

If you would like to find out more about Challenge 72, which Jim describes as his toughest challenge yet, full details can be found at www.challenge72.co.uk along with a link to the Just Giving page.

After Challenge 72, what will come next for Jim? He doesn’t know yet. But you can be assured that despite the negative experience provided by Cancer Research UK’s theft of the Race for Life, he is far from finished supporting other important causes.

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.

CHARITY SECTOR’S FAVOURITE HYPOCRITE STRIKES AGAIN

She’s at it again.

The charity sector’s favourite hypocrite is, once again, accepting recognition while continuing to deny any recognition to Jim Cowan, the man who created Race for Life, her charity’s biggest fundraiser.

Yesterday, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) were recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for their “outstanding contribution to tobacco control.” And CRUK’s CEO, Michelle Mitchell wasted no time in telling the world via Twitter.

We are not saying the recognition Mitchell and CRUK received from WHO is not merited, we are highlighting how hypocritical it is to accept recognition for yourself while knowingly denying it to someone else; someone whose creation has raised hundreds of millions of pounds for your charity.

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines hypocrisy thus:

Hypocrisy (hɪˈpɒk.rɪ.si); a situation in which someone pretends to believe something that they do not really believe, or that is the opposite of what they do or say at another time: “There’s one rule for her and another rule for everyone else and it’s sheer hypocrisy.”

And in refusing to give the recognition rightly due to Jim Cowan, every time they accept recognition (individually or as an organisation), or bestow recognition on others, they are acting hypocritically.

Back in January we catalogued Mitchell and her charity’s shocking record of hypocrisy asking whether she is the UK charity sector’s biggest hypocrite?

It appears it is a crown she is proud to wear. But then, she does love a bit of recognition!

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind!

CANCER RESEARCH UK CEO ONCE AGAIN DISPLAYS HYPOCRISY WITH ‘COLLABORATION’ COMMENT

October 10th saw an important conference for the charity sector take place when NPC, the think tank and consultancy for the sector, hosted its NPC Ignites Conference on 10th October.

Many charities gain valuable information and ideas from the conference and the value of one of the topics discussed, collaboration, should not be understated.

One of the topics for discussion was the uncertainty faced by the sector during the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. And, with a straight face, Cancer Research UK’s Chief Executive Michelle Mitchell suggested that, for her, collaboration is key.

A good idea but here at Race 4 Truth we must question Mitchell’s own belief in what she espouses? We question how she could make such a statement with a straight face?

After all, this is the woman who runs the charity that Jim Cowan took the original idea of the Race for Life to in 1993; seeking to collaborate with them on building it into a significant fundraising event.

It is the charity which then stole that idea, ditched Jim, and then spent 25 years falsely citing a range of different sources for the event. Yes, the same charity which, when the lies were exposed, instead of correcting them and recognising (let alone thanking) Jim took a stance of, “we don’t recognise anyone.” That same charity which regularly recognises and thanks others. The one which happily accepts thanks and recognition from others. Indeed, Mitchell was happy to accept an OBE in recognition for her own work. And let’s not forget, Mitchell leads the same charity which has turned a blind eye to the fraud of their own employee who they now know stole the idea. Collaboration? 

The charity has a long record of hypocrisy and Mitchell’s belief that “collaboration is key” holds little or no water when examined.

Why would anyone consider seeking to collaborate with CRUK when that organisation’s own history clearly displays they do not collaborate on ideas from outside sources, they steal them and then claim then as their own.

And, should anyone having a similar big, creative, fundraising idea to Jim’s be seeking collaboration with a charity, why would they trust CRUK not to take their idea too?

The danger to the rest of the charity sector, one worthy of consideration by all those sector leaders attending NPC Ignites, is that Mitchell and CRUK’s actions and ensuing deceit and hypocrisy risk undermining ideas people like Jim’s trust in the entire sector.

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.

OUTGOING CRUK DIRECTOR HIGHLIGHTS CHARITY’S HYPOCRISY

Cancer Research UK’s Director of Fundraising, Ed Aspel, has announced plans to retire at the end of the year. Third Sector interviewed Aspel about leaving the organisation and he revealed his regrets and discussed the changing face of fundraising making comments which highlight both the hypocrisy and the lack of will to tackle ethics and integrity issues at CRUK.

In the interview (which can be read here), Aspel revealed that he would love to have come up with “that one, radical, transformational change that is different from the traditional model…”

Had he done so, it is fair to assume that, given he is in their employ, CRUK would have, rightly, lauded him and made sure he was recognised for the achievement. And, in doing so, they would again reveal the culture of hypocrisy that riddles the charity.

How?

Twenty six years ago, Jim Cowan came up with just such a game changer, just such a transformational change. Jim’s idea was the Race for Life. Twenty six years later, it is easy to forget just what a game changer the creation of the Race for Life was.

In 1993, charity runners entered running events, such as the London Marathon or Great North Run, and asked for sponsorship but there was no such thing as the numerous ‘charity runs’ we have now in 2019. Whereas now almost every charity has its own fun run of one variety or another, 26 years ago none did. Jim creating the Race for Life in 1993 and launching it in1994 changed all that and, with it, the fundraising landscape in the UK changed for good.

You would think that CRUK would have thanked Jim, that they would heap praise and recognition on him. 

But no.

Instead, one of their employees stole Jim’s idea and CRUK spent 25 years telling a range of different tales about the events origins before two years ago, in the face of undeniable evidence, they changed tack and declared that they don’t recognise anyone with the event’s creation (but have never corrected the numerous untrue stories they had previously shared).

Hypocrisy? Absolutely.

This same charity happily acknowledge others for fundraising exploits, events, and other enterprises which support their fundraising. But not Jim.

This same charity happily accept recognition for their own executives, employees, and organisation as a whole, but hypocritically refuse to give Jim similar, or even any, recognition for the amazing event he created.

And what of ethics and integrity?

Later in the interview Aspel goes on to talk about how donations to CRUK are falling. He blamed changing attitudes and evolving consumer behaviour, and he may be correct. But isn’t a contributing factor in changing attitudes towards CRUK that they are trusted less?

People are seeing through the glossy adverts and beginning to ask why they are being lied to? Lies such as the frequent lies by omission about entry fees to their events not supporting any research; such as the misleading statements which suggest merchandise sales support research; or the exclusion of their high street shop, event, and merchandising income from how they calculate the percentage of income funding research.

They will happily talk about funds going to Cancer Research UK but challenge them as to how much of those funds actually fund research and the question is greeted with silence.

The charity is an ethics and integrity vacuum which shows no desire to amend its ways and restore faith and trust. Aspel may well be unaware of all of this but as a Director of the organisation, he should not be.

And, given the hypocrisy of CRUK towards recognising Jim Cowan, we can only wonder what Aspel’s stance might be should he be nominated for any form of award or recognition himself for his service to the charity? Recognition still denied to Jim Cowan, a man whose incredible creation played no small part in supporting Aspel’s success as Director of Fundraising.

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.

CRUK TV APPEAL NEEDS 18000 DONORS JUST TO FUND HIGHLY PAID CEO

We have probably all seen those television advertisements pleading with you to “donate just £2 a month to cancer research.”

The glossy productions tug at the heartstrings and surely only the hardest of hearts would not be moved to being at least tempted to sign up?

But what the glossy advertisements don’t tell you is that Cancer Research UK need over 18,000 to sign up to donate “just £2 a month” for a year solely to cover the cost of Michelle Mitchell, their Chief Executive, one of, if not the, most expensive in the sector.

And that is without including the cost of making the commercial and of buying the prime time advertising slots!

A charity headed by someone on a basic (yes, without add ons) of £250,000 per annum, is asking hard working people on minimum wages and average salaries who are struggling to get by, to find extra to help fund corporate style excesses, cleverly disguised by playing on their emotions for a reaction.

Please, make sure that when you donate your hard earned money, it is more likely to be used for research into cancer than to pay the grossly inflated salaries at a charity which lies about the origins of its own largest fundraising event (the Race for Life) and refuses to to recognise the creator of that event while hypocritically giving and accepting all sorts of recognition to and from others.

How? Choose a different charity which funds and supports research into cancer as a priority over self serving salary packages, lying to its followers, and mind boggling hypocrisy.

*On-costs calculated using https://goodcalculators.com/true-cost-of-an-employee-calculator/

CANCER RESEARCH UK’S THANKS SOUND VERY HOLLOW AS LONG AS THEY IGNORE RACE FOR LIFE CREATOR

This week is Volunteers Week and Cancer Research UK and Race for Life have been busy using social media to thank some who have been giving their time and supporting them in one way or another.

This is how it should be. Those who support them, or any other cause, should be given due recognition and thanks for their contribution no matter how small or large.

However, conspicuous by its absence is the long awaited recognition of, and thanks to, Jim Cowan, the man who created the Race for Life, an event which has been incredibly successful and raised hundreds of millions over the last quarter of a century.

Cherry picking those you thank and those you give recognition to undermines the sincerity of your message. By being selective, it gives the impression that it is hollow words driven by PR, and not a genuine appreciation of support given.

Meanwhile, worse than neither recognising nor thanking Jim, Cancer Research UK are instead trying to whitewash his name from the event’s history. After lying about the its origins for 25 years before being exposed, after supporting the fraudulent claims of their former employee Jill MacRae (who falsely claimed to be the event’s originator to bolster her CV), rather than set the record straight they choose to pretend the lies never happened, not correct them, and pursue a policy of not giving anyone credit for creating the event.

The hypocrisy is mind-boggling when you consider both Cancer Research UK’s Chair, Leszek Borysiewicz, and its CEO, Michelle Mitchell, have both been happy to accept recognition and thanks for themselves, not least a knighthood for Borysiewicz and an OBE for Mitchell.

Volunteers Week presents an opportunity for Cancer Research UK to set the record straight. Instead, they continue to show little integrity, poor ethics, low morals and act hypocritically. Calling their selective thank yous double standards, would be a huge understatement.

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.

ONE YEAR AFTER WE CAUGHT THEM OUT CANCER RESEARCH UK STILL MISLEADING THE PUBLIC

On 31st May last year we called out the Race for Life after they tweeted deliberately misleading information.

They tweeted, as they continue to do so almost daily, that simply entering the Race for Life supports research into cancer. We challenged them on this knowing that not a single penny of the entry fees supports research, something they don’t even admit in the small print on the event website.

It is deliberately misleading at best, an outright lie at worst. And, given they have at least 25 years of form for lying, we know which we believe it is.

Following our challenge, via Twitter, they replied acknowledging that the entry fee does not support cancer but covers the cost of staging the event. 

They went on to state; “This enables all the sponsorship money, raised by our amazing supporters, to go directly to Cancer Research UK’s ground-breaking and life saving research.”

But does it? We challenged them to confirm that ALL of the sponsorship raised goes directly to research (as their tweet claimed). Going to Cancer Research UK does not mean funding research. It can mean funding the CEO’s £1/4 million per annum salary, or the 219+ employees earning over £60,000p.a., or the expensive central London and regional offices, or the glossy TV ads, or, or, or….. it all comes out of funds raised by an unsuspecting and (deliberately) misled public.

Their reply? There hasn’t been one. One year later and despite several prompts from us, Cancer Research UK have failed to confirm or comment on something we know not to be true.

And, as with all messages from this integrity lacking charity, read that tweet carefully. It refers to sponsorship raised by followers, very deliberately excluding corporate sponsorship. No, we can’t trace where that ends up either.

Rather than admit a second time to misleading the public, the Race for Life has opted for silence, for ducking the issue. For not admitting to a lie.

The absence of any confirmation does not surprise us though. Cancer Research UK have form for not saying things, phrasing things cleverly, and using false stories, in order to create a misleading impression of their events and where money raised through those events goes.

It is a fact that they have spent a quarter of a century spinning a range of different yarns as to who  actually created the Race for Life and, in doing so, denying any recognition to the person who actually did.

Having been called out on these tales, rather than accept they got it wrong, they now take an official line of “not recognising anyone.” And why tell the truth when simply missing it out, covers up the lies and fits your agenda better?

For example, why tell people that none of their Race for Life entry fee funds research into cancer? Far better not to mention it at all and leave people with the impression it does through statements such as, “this is beating cancer.” How the entry fee “is beating cancer’ is anyone’s guess when none of it goes to any research. But let’s not tell anyone.

And then, rather than the (deliberate?) omissions, look out also for the cleverly phrased statements, such as the one we sought clarification on. Contradicting the tweet we quote above, the Race for Life website states that sponsorship raised goes to Cancer Research UK (not to research) raising questions as to what percentage actually finds its way to funding any research? 

But don’t ask, they won’t reply. They never admit to their lies, even when caught out. Indeed, on the entry fee lie, they continue to spin it out on a regular basis. Cancer Research UK ; less an integrity gap, more an integrity free zone.

What percentage of the sponsorship, raised and donated in good faith, actually funds research? 

In the absence of any reply, and in the face of the same deliberate lies/misleading statements still being repeated, study Cancer Research UK’s form and draw your own conclusions.

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.

CANCER RESEARCH UK REFUSING TO CORRECT TWENTY FIVE YEARS OF LYING ABOUT RACE FOR LIFE

For 25 years, Cancer Research UK have lied about Jim Cowan and the creation of the Race for Life. Their lies have cost him the recognition and thanks he so thoroughly deserves and have even cost him a job offer. 

Sadly, even though they know the facts, rather than correct 25 years of lies, they have chosen to simply pretend the lies never happened and have assumed a stance which continues to exclude Jim from his rightful place in the event’s history.

The problem with falsehoods, with lies, is that eventually you forget what you claimed and claim something else entirely, catching yourself out. And, of course, you have no evidence to support your fiction because it is just that, fiction. No records of discussions, of meetings, of correspondence. Because they don’t exist.

Indeed, in recent correspondence, Cancer Research UK acknowledged that they have kept no records from the creation and launch of the landmark fundraising event. But, ever keeping their heads in the sand when confronted by facts, they declined Jim Cowan’s offer to meet with them and share copies of documents from 1993 and 1994 which clearly evidence the idea was his and his alone.

But how many lies have been told in that quarter of a century? We have no way of knowing! So, interested in checking out Cancer Research UK’s false claims, Race 4 Truth carried out a little research which has exposed a story which, as such fictions do, keeps changing. There may be more and different claims, but in less than one day’s digging, this is what we uncovered:

1994

In a letter from Jill MacRae, its then National Events Manager, what was then the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) credited Jim Cowan with coming to them with the original idea for the Race for Life. This was the last time they were honest about who created the event.

1995

After severing all ties to Jim Cowan, Jill MacRae started to claim she came up with the Race for Life herself. It would appear that ICRF/CRUK believed her. She went on to build a career on the false, probably fraudulent, claim and is currently the Business Development Manager at Barnardo’s.

2000

In an article in the 19th July issue of Athletics Weekly, an ICRF spokesperson claimed that the Race for Life was based on, “a concept from America called Walk for a Cure.” In the same issue of Athletics Weekly, a letter from Louise Holland, ICRF’s Race for Life Director, stated, “the concept was taken from the Susan Komen Foundation.” They couldn’t even keep their lies consistent for a week

2013

In November of 2013, Jill MacRae contacted Jim Cowan via Linked In and email threatening legal action if he did not stop claiming to have created the Race for Life. Supported by Jane Arnell, Tony Elischer, and Sarah Guthrie (former colleagues of hers at ICRF/CRUK), she claimed they were all “shocked” by Jim’s “misleading claims.” MacRae claimed to have never heard of Jim Cowan and asserted that her colleagues had not either. The 1994 letter from Jill MacRae to Jim Cowan puts the lie to that lie. Over the past year, we have shared more evidence that includes correspondence to and from Jill Macrae to support Jim’s position and which debunks MacRae’s lies.

Also in November of 2013, Jill MacRae amended the Race for Life entry on Wikipedia to state; “Race for Life was created by fundraisers Jill MacRae (nee Baker) and Jane Arnell at what was then the Imperial CancerResearch Fund.” At Jim’s request, supported by evidence, Wikipedia amended the page to show the truth, that the creator of the Race for Life was him.

On 12th December, Jim Cowan responded to Jill MacRae’s threats stating; “To say that I am surprised at both your claims and you accusation would be an understatement. Your cynical duplicity in laying claim to the original idea is preposterous and your accusation that my own claims are untrue is a gross misrepresentation of the facts.”

Jim has not heard from MacRae, or her colleagues, since. Why not, we wonder? Interestingly, MacRae has since removed the false claim from all of her online profiles. We wonder whether she still uses the lie on her CV? That, of course, would be fraud.

2016

Jim Cowan was advised that the website ‘Informed Edinburgh’ had carried an article titled ‘Spotlight on Jill MacRae’ in which she stated; “I created the Race for Life and organised the very first 5K event way back in 1993 (sic), when I was National Events Manager at what is now Cancer Research UK. The article was removed after Jim contacted the website advising them that, “Ms MacRae knows this not to be the case” providing evidence debunking her lie.

2017

In May 2017 , Nicki Ford from Cancer Research UK stated, “We do not publicly credit anyone with originating the event.”

In September 2017, Cancer Research UK’s Chairman, Prof. Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, stated, “We do not credit anyone with originating the event.”

It would appear that, unable to prove any of the previous claims Cancer Research UK and, primarily, Jill MacRae had made about the creation of the event (how could they?), the policy was now to simply shut up and claim nothing.

2018

Maybe she didn’t get the memo shared by Ford and Borysiewicz, or maybe it was just time to change the claim again, but in May 2018, Cancer Research UK’s current National Events Manager, Annette Quarry, stated that the original pilot was from yet another different source, this time the American Cancer Society.

2019

We had hoped that Cancer Research UK’s new Chief Executive, Michelle Mitchell, might take the opportunity to put the record straight and restore some of the charity’s missing integrity. Unfortunately not. Despite Jim’s offer to meet her and provide her with documentary evidence, she ducked responding herself, delegating the task to her Complaints Manager, Graeme McCluskey. He used the excuse that the organisation do not have any internal records of Jim’s involvement with the Race for Life. In place of taking the opportunity to view and discuss evidence, Cancer Research UK have kept their collective heads buried deep in the sand. An opportunity to correct 25 years of lies was passed up; no corrections, no apologies, just very deliberate ignorance of the facts displaying a complete absence of integrity

We now wait with baited breath for the next claim as to the creation of the Race for Life. There are two things we know for sure though:

  1. While CRUK’s story has kept changing, Jim Cowan’s has remained consistent throughout.
  2. While CRUK and their various employees (current and former) have offered no supporting evidence for any of their claims, Jim Cowan has. Race 4 Truth will continue sharing that evidence over the coming weeks, months, and years.

Here is another fact for Cancer Research UK; the truth is consistent, it has no need to vary its story in the way that Cancer Research UK’s fiction has. Jim’s truth can be proven. Their lies cannot. 

Ask yourself, who do you believe? Jim Cowan or Cancer Research UK?

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind!

EVENT EXAMINING HOW TO RESTORE TRUST IN CHARITIES WILL HAVE NO EXTERNAL INPUT

The officially backed ‘Inside Government’ organisation are to host an event in July to examine how charities can start regaining public trust.

It appears that it is not only Cancer Research UK that the public are losing trust in, the need for the event suggesting sector wide issues.

The event, ‘Raising Levels of Trust Across the Voluntary Sector’ was tweeted by Inside Government and retweeted by (among others) the Fundraising Regulator Gerald Oppenheim, suggesting he too is aware of issues within the sector he regulates.

Unfortunately, every single speaker at the event is an ‘insider’ being from either a charity or an official body. Further, the event seems priced to deter those with an interest or a view to share from attending; the cheapest fee for booking a place being £325 (yes, you read that right).

Concerned that the event might miss valuable insights and information from someone affected by the decline in integrity and morals in the sector, someone who has been lied about and seen those leading a charity display mind-boggling levels of hypocrisy, we shared the details with Race for Life creator Jim Cowan.

Jim informs us that he got in touch with the organisers through their online enquiry form and offered to speak of his experiences at the event free of charge. The response? Silence. Jim’s offer was not considered worthy of acknowledgement, let alone a response.

Might we suggest that if levels of trust across the sector are to be improved, ignoring genuine offers to provide input and support is not a great way to start? Further, by excluding the very external knowledge the event agenda is lacking, the event appears to be little more than lip service to a problem which is only going to get worse if not addressed properly.

On the positive side; at least staging the event means that the issue is being recognised.

Find out more details about the event on the Inside Government website here: www.insidegovernment.co.uk/raising-levels-of-trust-across-the-voluntary-sector/