Despite the lack of of its president and CEO Doug Ulman–delayed because of weather–the LiveSTRONG Foundation went ahead with its planned “State of the Foundation” yesterday in Chicago. The task of delivering the Foundation’s remarks was given to the executive vice president of operations, Andy Miller, who we imagine started to sweat when he saw that his cancer organization–founded by the now-disgraced Lance Armstrong (LiveSTRONG had, in fact, just changed its name from the Lance Armstrong Foundation)–had decided on the title “What Now?: A Challenge for the LIVESTRONG Foundation, on Behalf of Survivors, for the Cancer Community.”
How old is this kid? He looks like he’s 15! (He’s in his early 40s, but still! Looks great!) More important than Mr. Miller’s looks, however, is how he and the Foundation chose to address the Lance Armstrong controversy:
But let’s do talk about the swirl. We did our work for many months, some might say for a
couple of years, with unanswered questions about our Founder’s cycling career. As those
questions were answered – first in October and more recently through Lance’s televised
interview – some important issues were finally settled. Lance stepped away from the
Foundation in October. In November, the Foundation also made a legal name-change it had
long led with unofficially – the LiveSTRONG Foundation. We set about charting an
independent course forward.
Still, we’ve found ourselves caught in the crossfire of the media frenzy.
Back in 2010, Ken Berger, the CEO if Charity Navigator had this to say to the Chronicle of
Philanthropy – “[They are] not going to be able to thrive if the person who is the spirit behind it
is in trouble. It is just going to devastate them.”
And the shots kept coming. Now, we don’t know these people. These “experts” don’t know
anything about our work. Yet they feel entitled to publicly question our credibility, our
sincerity and our mission.
But we do know these people. And they know us because they don’t award these designations
lightly. I also know what’s true about our work and I believe in it, wholeheartedly. And I
believe you do too. Thank you for standing with us in this storm.
We were deeply disappointed when we learned along with the rest of the world that we had
been misled during and after Lance’s cycling career. We accepted the apology he made to us
in order to move on and we remain grateful for what he decided to create and helped build.
… But we didn’t do it for Lance. We did it for our loved ones. Our husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. We did for our children. We did it for our friends and neighbors. We did it for ourselves. Because we believe in life! We believe living every minute of it with every ounce of our being. And that you must not let cancer take control of it!
Fair enough. Though without the star power of Mr. Armstrong, it’s also fair to say that LiveSTRONG will be facing challenges, especially with donors asking for their money back after the cyclist’s fall from grace. But the real question is: will they be keeping the rubber wristbands?