To the Journal editor:
Readers may have seen a recent news story about national organizations such as the American Diabetes Association (ADA) using telemarketers to raise funds with very little of the donation going to the organization. This is a good reminder to ask questions and be educated on what an organization does and how it spends the donations it receives.
The UP Diabetes Outreach Network (UPDON) is a local non-profit that has served the Upper Peninsula since 1985. UPDON is not affiliated with any state or national organization. One hundred percent of donated dollars stays in the UP to help strengthen diabetes prevention, detection and treatment. Most of UPDON's work is done with others. Since 2007, over 350 people in the Marquette and Houghton areas have attended Personal Action Towards Health (PATH) programs, a free workshop shown to help people with any type of health concern adopt more healthful behaviors. UPDON introduced PATH to the UP in 2006 and now has dozens of partners promoting and facilitating workshops across the UP.
UPDON assists with Camp UPeninsulin, a week-long summer camp for youth with diabetes. Camp UPeninsulin has its roots in the 2-day diabetes family camp started by UPDON in 2003. During 2011, over 340 healthcare professionals stayed current on diabetes care issues through UPDON's free continuing education programs. Programs such as these are all free or low cost. Programs are kept affordable through donations, grants and partnerships with organizations like UP Telehealth Network, Bay College, UPCAP, and many others
UPDON has efforts in place to promote diabetes detection and prevention and link residents to assistance through phone calls and a web site. Having experienced significant budget cuts, many would be surprised to learn that all of this is done with only four part-time staff members.
When you are considering where to send your charitable giving dollars, we encourage you to give locally and to take a closer look at the recipient organization. There may be much more to the story than you realize.