March 12, 2002
Three AIDS Vaccine Rides organized last year by the for-profit fund-raising firm of Pallotta Teamworks pulled in more than $19 million in contributions from riders and corporate sponsors, but incurred millions in overhead expenses and production fees, according to its financial statement. That left only $4 million for the three vaccine research institutions designated as recipients for the rides, according to the statement. This means 21.37 cents per dollar raised went to the intended beneficiaries, while 78.63 cents went to expenses. Roughly 5 cents per dollar went to Pallotta Teamworks as a production fee.
The results from the three AIDS Vaccine Rides in 2001 represent a decline from the 50.42 percent that went to beneficiaries for the single vaccine ride held the previous year. The three 2001 vaccine rides combined raised $151,000 less in net proceeds than the single vaccine ride in 2000, even though the three rides in 2001 attracted 3,972 riders, who raised $18.8 million in contributions.
According to Steve Bennett, president of Pallotta Teamworks, the firm budgeted for 8,600 riders who were anticipated to generate $12.2 million. Although almost 8,000 registered for the vaccine rides, to the dismay of Pallotta organizers, only 3,972 showed up for the events. Most who failed to show also failed to do any fund-raising. Bennett said "it was the income, not the logistics costs, that put us so far behind where we hoped to be."
The beneficiaries of the vaccine rides are the Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta; the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in New York City; and the UCLA AIDS Institute in Los Angeles. The Pallotta finance statement shows that the net return for its AIDS and breast cancer fundraising events since 1994 came to 57.25 percent. That is below the standard established by the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, which advises that at least 65 percent of proceeds should reach the intended beneficiary.