[DrugWar] NYT story about Chase cheating SSDP & MPP out of contest cash

Tim Meehan tim at paidoc.org
Fri Dec 18 23:55:37 EST 2009

Looks like SSDP was "Brad Lavigned" by Chase Bank.

For Canadians, Chase owns the Sears Card. Boycott the Sears Card (but  
not Sears).


Begin forwarded message:

> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/19/us/19charity.html?_r=1
> *Charities Criticize Online Fund-Raising Contest by Chase*
> New York Times
> JPMorgan Chase & Company is coming under fire for the way it  
> conducted an
> online contest to award millions of dollars to 100 charities.
> At least three nonprofit groups — Students for Sensible Drug Policy,  
> the
> Marijuana Policy Project and an anti-abortion group, Justice for  
> All— say
> they believe that Chase disqualified them over concerns about  
> associating
> its name with their missions.
> The groups say that until Chase made changes to the contest, they  
> appeared
> to be among the top 100 vote-getters.
> “They never gave us any indication that there was any problem with our
> organization qualifying,” said Micah Daigle, executive director of  
> Students
> for Sensible Drug Policy. “Now they’re completely stonewalling me.”
> Three days before the contest ended, Chase stopped giving participants
> access to voting information, and it has not made public the vote  
> tallies of
> the winners.
> “This is a problem of accountability,” said David Lee, executive  
> director of
> Justice for All. “Simply publish the votes and let us see that the 100
> organizations named as winners won.”
> Contests using social media to award or raise money for charities have
> exploded, as companies and nonprofit groups test the use of Facebook,
> Twitter and other online tools for marketing and fund-raising.
> The Chase Community Giving contest is one of the largest ever  
> mounted, open
> to more than a half-million charities. More than a million people  
> signed
> onto Chase’s fan page, where they were awarded 20 votes to cast for  
> the
> charities of their choice.
> In an e-mail message to Mr. Lee, Joseph Evangelisti, a spokesman for  
> Chase,
> explained the thinking behind the changes in the contest.
> “Regarding the vote tallies,” Mr. Evangelisti wrote, “we have taken  
> down
> individual charity counts with a couple of days left to build  
> excitement
> among the broadest number of participants, as well as to ensure that  
> all
> Facebook users learn of the 100 finalists at the same time and so we  
> have an
> opportunity to notify the 100 finalists first.”
> In a telephone interview, Mr. Evangelisti declined to give the vote  
> tallies
> for any of the organizations or to say whether any of the groups  
> that are
> complaining had been disqualified. Chase’s eligibility rules make it  
> clear
> that the bank can disqualify any participant.
> “We are proud that through this effort we’re giving $5 million to  
> small and
> local charities,” he said, “raising awareness for thousands of  
> charities and
> helping them gain new supporters.”
> In such contests, companies typically select a group of charities  
> and ask
> people to vote for one of them. But Chase opened its contest to any  
> charity
> whose operating budget was less than $10 million and whose mission  
> “aligned”
> with the bank’s corporate social responsibility guidelines.  
> Organizations
> also had to affirm that they did not discriminate in any way.
> Chase did not create a public leader board showing a ranking of the
> charities based on the votes they had received on its Chase  
> Community Giving
> page on Facebook. Instead, participating charities had to go to  
> Facebook to
> find out how many votes they had received and who had voted for them.
> So some participants created informal leader boards. For instance, the
> National Youth Rights Association, a tiny nonprofit that works to  
> teach
> young people about their rights and how to protect them, compiled  
> voting
> data on almost 400 contestants, and 82 of the organizations that it  
> tracked
> were among the 100 winners Chase named.
> The association itself was among those winners, and the $25,000 it  
> will get
> from Chase is more money than it has raised all year and the largest
> donation it has received in its 11-year history, said Alex Koroknay- 
> Palicz,
> its executive director.
> “For the most part, the organizations Chase picked were exactly the
> organizations we expected to win, because we had spent a lot of time  
> and
> effort tracking it,” Mr. Koroknay-Palicz said. “So the biggest  
> surprise was
> Students and a couple of pro-life groups, as well as the  
> organization called
> the Prem Rawat Foundation, didn’t make it, because they had been doing
> pretty well.”
> According to the leader board he created, Students for Sensible Drug  
> Policy
> collected 2,305 votes through Dec. 9, when organizations no longer  
> could
> track their votes or see who had voted for them. The Marijuana Policy
> Project had 1,911 votes, and Justice for All had 1,512.
> The Prem Rawat Foundation, a humanitarian group, had 4,324 votes. It  
> did not
> respond to a message left at its offices. Mr. Evangelisti said the 100
> finalists “reflect those organizations that received the most votes  
> among
> eligible participants.”
> Mr. Lee, a veteran of these types of contests, said the changes  
> Chase made
> on Dec. 9 had made it much more difficult to continue attracting  
> votes.
> After the changes, would-be supporters of Justice for All called and
> e-mailed to say they could not get their votes to go through.
> -- 
> Micah Daigle, Executive Director
> Students for Sensible Drug Policy
> 101 Townsend St, Suite 312, San Francisco, CA 94107
> office: 415.875.9463
> cell: 202.669.5315
> email: micah at ssdp.org
> http://www.SchoolsNotPrisons.com

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