Friday 03.13.15

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So, there's a topic that has been on my mind lately. It's Barbells for Boobs. A month or so a go, as we were waiting for our schnazzy, custom B4B women's barbell that we earned for raising funds for Barbells for Boobs, I started wondering about how Barbells for Boobs spent it's money. It seemed to me that since our first fundraiser in 2011, Barbells for Boobs had grown exponentially as an organization, which is understandable considering Reebok and CrossFit both threw their names behind this non-profit organization. Further, the incentives program for those of us raising funds is pretty damn cush - t-shirts, sweatshirts, SHOES, and barbells. Last, the Pink Bra Tour had B4B advocates and staff traveling the country for a good portion of the year.

All of these things - the growth, the visibility, the rewards, the travel - led me to Google the tax forms for B4B, which must be made public as a condition of their 503(c) status. I was intrigued and concerned by what I found. Out of $2.2 million in contributions and grants given in 2012, less than $500,000 went toward grants for mammograms.

After reading through the tax return, I just kind of left it at that with a sense of concern. Then last week, the guys behind Drywall - a CrossFit criticism/sarcasm/tongue-in-cheek website - released this post that questioned the management of charitable contributions to Barbells for Boobs based on the same tax return that I looked at. It seems the actions of B4B inspired more people than just me to take a closer look.

In response, B4B released this statement this week. In that statement, B4B write that grants for mammograms are only one piece of their program's purpose.
"For Barbells for Boobs, our program is driven by our purpose to ensure everyone has a right to know about their health. So we fund grants to provide screening and diagnostic services. That’s one piece of the program “pie” that’s tangible and can be measured. But the pie is much bigger than the one grant “slice” and not nearly as easy to measure by an accountant. We navigate people to breast health resources that can help them outside of our funding area, and sometimes outside of our mission, because we can. That’s another slice. Community outreach, breast health resource training, international program expansion, collaboration with breast cancer leaders – more slices that make up the Barbells for Boobs program pie."
B4B's statement makes sense, and I still have qualms about continuing our support for this organization. I'm not sure I'm ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater as B4B navigates handling it's quick growth, expanding purpose, and increasing brand recognition, especially because our gym is covered in B4B pink banners, wristwraps, and barbells. And I certainly support B4B's mission to provide mammograms to those in need. Not many breast cancer charities support direct action such as this; many only fund "research" and "awareness". These are such vague terms to me that I view them as discountable, especially as a mission for an organization. I guess I would like to see how the organization course-corrects their finances to reflect the desires of their supporters and the needs of the people they serve.

As participants and donors to B4B who responded to our call for support and to our representation of Barbells for Boobs, what do you think? Provide your thoughts in person, in an email, or in the comments. Would you like to see us host another Barbells for Boobs event?

CF Open 15.3
14 min AMRAP
7 muscle-ups
50 wall balls (20# to 10' target; 14# to 9' target)
100 doubleunders
50 wall balls (20# to 9' target; 10# to 9' target)
200 single-unders


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