1. All monetary and goods donations to VLCM Foundation are tax deductible.
Because VLCM Foundation has been designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. If you itemize your taxes, your donation can be used as a deduction on your taxes come tax-time. You can only take the deduction in the year you donate. This process involves filing a Form 1040 and itemizing all your deductions on Schedule A. You must keep your donation receipt as proof of your donation—if you were ever audited, the IRS will only accept written acknowledgment from VLCM Foundation, a credit card or bank statement, or a canceled check as verification.
(Disclaimer: Don’t take this as financial advice. VLCM is expert in all things IT and VLCM Foundation is expert in all things Huntsman Cancer Institute. What we won’t claim to be is expert in filing taxes, although we’ve got someone great doing ours. You should talk to your tax expert if you’re interested in claiming your donation as a deduction.)
2. 100% of your donation goes to research. None of it pays VLCM employees or for fundraising.
This is fairly unique among charities. Even the Red Cross uses 10% of the donations they take in for administrative and fundraising costs. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, we all have to pay the bills, but with VLCM Foundation you know that donating $100 means paying for exactly $100 worth of research costs.
The reason we can do this is because VLCM pays all the costs of the Huntsman Golf Classic from the profits the company generates in the course of providing IT solutions and services. VLCM could just write a check to Huntsman Cancer Institute for $110,000, but the tournament allows us to raise even more money than that and also to build a community of people who care about funding cancer research.
3. We have high hopes for this year’s tournament.
Because VLCM covers the cost of the tournament each year, in the past we’ve been happy with just raising more money than it costs—which we expect to be about $110,000. This isn’t because the donations must pay the costs but because if we raise more than $110,000 with the tournament, then we’ve done more than VLCM could have done on its own.
When we were smaller this goal made more sense than it does now, but our growth over the years has necessitated some reevaluation. We think we can do much better than that, and we want to raise at least $160,000 with this year’s tournament.
4. The Huntsman Golf Classic used to be held by Huntsman Cancer Foundation, but VLCM Foundation runs the event now.
Ahead of 2019's tournament, Huntsman Cancer Foundation and VLCM Foundation decided that the two charities' golf tournaments should be merged into one event. We were duplicating a lot of costs and efforts, and holding one event made more fundraising sense. We're very honored that Huntsman Cancer Foundation trusts us to host this tournament from now on, and we can hardly wait for the Hunstman Golf Classic to arrive.
5. Beyond 2019’s Huntsman Golf Classic, we have lots of goals for the future.
This year’s tournament is our 12th. In the last twelve years, we’ve raised very nearly a million dollars for research at Huntsman Cancer Institute. With the 12th annual tournament in 2019, we will surpass $1 million donated in total.
In the longer term, we want to expand our donor base and stabilize the golf tournament as an event. By that, we mean that we hope it will take less time and work to fill all the sponsorships and meet our fundraising goals with a bigger pool of potential donors to draw on each year. Once we’ve accomplished that, we hope to hold other events to raise money for cancer research—most likely events that would cost less for you to participate in and could attract more people. We’ve considered things like a bike race or a 5K. We're testing the waters right now by adding small tours of Huntsman Cancer Institute for donors.
Our biggest hope is to help the scientists at Huntsman Cancer Institute find cures for cancer.
6. VLCM Foundation sends all donations to Huntsman Cancer Institute in one large payment in September. The money is then funneled immediately into bank accounts from which researchers can request funding.
The same might not be the case if you donated directly to Huntsman Cancer Institute. According to Susan Sheehan, COO and President of Huntsman Cancer Foundation (which handles all private donations to the institute), donations smaller than $100,000 are distributed to HCI on a quarterly basis. This can allow small donations to add together into a larger sum of money over time. $100,000 is far more useful to researchers than $100--their supplies are expensive.
When we send all your donations to the institute, they’re helpful immediately. What’s also great is the timing of our donations. Huntsman Cancer Institute gets a high volume of donations during the holiday season, but much less during the summer and early fall. This can create some issues for them, so our donations come at an important time.
7. In the past, VLCM Foundation has chosen to direct our funding toward melanoma research or let the institute decide, but we're trying a new tactic.
For several years, unless we recognized a strong need in a specific area of cancer research, we made all your donations to Huntsman Cancer Institute available to all researchers. However, we recently recognized that you like to have a say in where your donations go. So we teamed up with Huntsman Cancer Institute and identified three areas of cancer research that need special attention. Donors to the Huntsman Golf Classic choose which of the three to fund.
8. We’re reevaluating more than just our goals as we grow.
We’re also looking at our methods and working to respond to feedback about the way VLCM Foundation and the golf tournament work.
For instance, some of the prizes for the tournament winners and for the raffle are donated by local businesses. In the past, we’ve done this by literally driving around Salt Lake City and asking businesses for donations on the spot. While we’ve had some success with this method, it definitely has some issues, not least of which is that it’s time consuming and inefficient. For the last few years, we've tried mail. This has been more efficient and resulted in more donations.
We’re happy to continue to change as we grow, even if it means taking a hard look at some of the things we've been doing for a long time. We know that the world of cancer research and fundraising changes quickly, and we will too because we know that's sometimes what it will take to keep working toward a cure.
This post is an update to an earlier article on our site, originally published on July 26, 2017.