CVS Shows “Pledges” Do Not Equal Direct “Donations”
In November 2021, US pharmaceutical giant CVS’s social responsibility team announced a $10 million commitment to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to be delivered over three years, as reported by Quartz. However, what CVS omitted is that the donations collected from customers through in-store fundraising weren’t going to be in addition to the initial pledge. Rather, they would be used in lieu of donations coming from CVS’s coffers. Customers subsidized CVS’s generosity without knowing it, as their donations were part of a larger pledge that CVS had made to the ADA. A new lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status, claims that by failing to disclose the exact way in which the funds raised would be used, CVS committed fraud. Nonprofits (and donors) interested in better understanding corporate partnerships should heed the word “pledge” as merely marketing lingo until actual monetary donations are received by the NPO organizations such corporations purport to support.
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