Chase Gives Gerson the Last-Minute Boot from Community Giving Contest

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First, we want to say thank you to everyone who voted for Gerson during the Chase Community Giving contest and who encouraged others to vote. You all are great! Unfortunately, Chase is not.

Wednesday afternoon, we were in 111th place out of thousands of charities across the nation, with 1726 votes. Even if we hadn’t received a single additional vote during the last six hours of the campaign, we would have earned a $10,000 grant! Yet in those last six hours, we were shocked when Chase informed us that we had been suddenly disqualified from the competition, and gave us no explanation why.

Though we had some misgivings about entering the contest in the beginning, we soon became excited when your votes started coming in, and we realized that we could actually have a shot at winning a grant! We put mentions of the contest in our eBulletins, Facebook and Twitter posts, and most of the responses we received were very positive – our supporters were happy to mobilize in support of our cause. Every “like” and “share” on our Facebook statuses gave us a thrill of excitement.

We checked the Chase Community Giving website over and over, delighted to see new votes coming in and to see our name steadily climbing up the leaderboards!

We noted a few comments from our supporters who expressed dissatisfaction at seeing us enter into a contest with Chase. We felt a twinge of guilt, but our excitement and the excitement of the rest of our supporters pushed those nagging feeling to the side for the time being.

This experience, if nothing else, has taught us to trust our gut instincts.

On Wednesday afternoon, we received a phone call from Chase Community Giving, informing us that we had been disqualified, just a few hours before voting was set to close and the winners to be announced.

Though we pressed repeatedly for an explanation, Chase officials refused to tell the Institute what specific part of the program rules they believed had made us suddenly ineligible.

A few minutes later, we checked the Chase Community Giving website, only to find that our charity profile had been deleted.

After poring over the program rules, we still cannot find any provision which we violated. As of this time they have not responded to our email request for more information, and our efforts to find other ways to contact them have proven fruitless.

We carefully read through all the program rules and regulations before submitting our application. We satisfied all the eligibility rules. In order for a charity to be eligible for this contest, they must be a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organization with an operating budget under $10 million. Check and check – the Gerson Institute is a 501(c)3, and our operating budget is well below $10 million.

Since alternative health care can be controversial, we carefully read through the types of groups whose missions Chase overtly stated that they did not want to support. We saw no indication from the program rules that our mission would not be suitable, so we sent in all the required documentation.

After Chase reviewed our application, we were accepted and entered into the contest. In several places on their website, Chase tells voters that all the charities featured in the contest were reviewed for eligibility before the beginning of the contest, which implies that Chase should have already weeded out the charities they did not wish to support.

We did, however, note this provision:

“Chase retains the right at its sole discretion to determine eligibility and reserves the right to disqualify any charity at any time for any reason whatsoever.”

Perhaps we were naïve, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect that, since Chase Community Giving had invited us to enter the program and then reviewed and accepted our application, we wouldn’t be arbitrarily disqualified.

We were wrong.

The Gerson Institute is not the first organization to receive the last-minute boot from Chase Community Giving. In 2009, The New York Times reported that at least three organizations with “controversial” missions had been eliminated from the Chase Community Giving program at the very last minute and without explanation. By digging a little deeper online, we have found a few other charities that have complained about being abruptly removed, or having their votes taken away without explanation.

We know that some people find our organization and mission controversial. Alternative, holistic therapies are still not widely accepted, especially for the treatment of cancer.

We don’t expect every person or organization to support us, and we believe Chase has the right to decide what charities with which it wants to associate.

What isn’t fair is allowing organizations to enter the contest, convince their supporters to share their information with Chase, boost Chase’s image by spreading the word about their charitable programs – and then pull the rug out from underneath charities at the last minute because they decide that their mission isn’t quite in line with the image Chase wants to project.

It appears that our organization is acceptable as long as we’re promoting Chase’s corporate giving program, but not worthy of public recognition or to receive funding.

Chase is not quite in line with their own mission either. Their website claims that the purpose of Chase Community Giving is to democratize corporate giving, by letting the people decide which charities deserve their support:

“You decide what matters: that simple idea is what Chase Community Giving is all about. Since 2009, we’ve been putting the power of giving in the hands and hearts of the community.”
– from Chase Community Giving’s website

The problem is, Chase can so easily take that power back from your “hands and hearts,” and disregard your votes at their own discretion.

This experience has taught us a few valuable lessons

We’re going to be far more careful about getting involved in large corporate giving contests that require us to engage in marketing for them. We’re going to remember that energy matters; if we’re not sure that a potential donor is in line with our greater vision and values, then maybe we should reconsider participating. We learned that we know a lot of great people who want to support us.

Still, we wouldn’t mind if you gave Chase Community Giving a piece of your mind, to let them know that what they did to Gerson and other charities is wrong. You can “unlike” Chase Community Giving on Facebook (or alternatively, write them a comment letting them know how you feel). You can go to your Facebook Privacy Settings and remove the Chase App. You can send Chase Community Giving an email asking them to change the way they run the contest so that charities can’t be disqualified without reason at the last moment – support@chasegiving.com.

Update: Sign our petition on Change.org!

We may not be able to get the money you earned for us, but we may be able to convince Chase to change the rules so that other charities and their supporters don’t face the same feelings of disappointment, and so that other small charities such as ourselves don’t waste their time chasing grant money that was never intended to be given them.

Thank you for your support. In our minds, YOU DID earn us that $10,000 grant (in spirit, if not in dollars and cents).

Your support for our cause is invaluable, and we apologize from the bottom of our hearts for involving you in this sorry affair.

Love and veggie juice,

Mikhaela Payden-Travers and Ally Bacaj

 

An Update and a Call to Action!
  • Margaret Straus

    Those of us who gave our votes to the Gerson Institute for the so-called Chase Community Giving program and watched with delight as our favorite charity climbed to a position in which they were well on the way to receiving a grant of $20,000, were totally disgusted by the way Chase let us do marketing for them and 6 hours before the decisions were to be made, phoned to disqualify them. After they had been accepted officially.
    If this is the way Chase is trying to improve its image I can assure you that we will all be publicizing your dirty marketing techniques to all and sundry and giving you all the negative publicity you deserve. Plenty of people are getting there money out of Chase thanks to this little scam.
    Not much better than sending little kids down the mines, is it? Free labor for the rich.
    Shame on them!
    Margaret Straus

  • CGStraus

    Recently, I investigated several banks in order to change my account. I was hesitant about using Chase, and put it off.
    Now I know: One cannot trust Chase Bank. Thanks for making it quite clear in time to stop my changel
    CGStraus

  • http://www.facebook.com/Future.Tomorrow Steve Joseph

    I’m truly sorry to read about this but I am not surprised. This simply deepens my efforts to move ALL my banking and investment efforts away from Chase bank and I would suggest to anyone after reading the above that you do the same. Only we can make the difference by aligning with individuals and businesses that have the better interests of our health as a key priority.

  • Jan

    I am so sorry this happened. I have two Chase credit cards. One is paid off and the other has a very small balance. I will be closing them both and telling Chase exactly why they are losing my business. Because our family found out about Gerson Therapy after my daughter was released from the hospital where chemotherapy made her ill and nearly ended her life through complications, our family became inspired to juice and to go vegetarian. I think we owe much of my daughter’s good health today to our decision to change our diets radically. If Gerson Institute had not been available online leading us to find out more and indeed to purchase many of your books to change our nutrition I do not think we would be as happy and healthy today. Thank you so much.

  • mellondar

    I JUST SENT THIS TO THEM

    I AM EXTREMELY APPALLED AT THE WAY YOU , CHASE, HAS HANDLED THIS GRANT CONTEST, FIRST YOU GIVE THE GREEN LIGHT FOR A GRANT TO BE GIVEN THEN YOU DISQUALIFY A CHARITY WITHOUT REASON, I KNOW ITS IN YOUR FINE PRINT AND YOU HAVE THAT RIGHT BLAH BLAH BLAH HOWEVER, BASED ON YOUR MISSION OF THIS CONTEST IT IS APPARENT YOU ARE NOT EVEN INLINE WITH IT YOURSELVES. SO I WOULD STRONGLY SUGGEST MULLING THROUGH YOUR REASON FOR EXISTING BECAUSE THE GERSON CHARITY DESERVES THIS GRANT AND MUCH, MUCH MORE. I HAVE WORKED WITH MANY CHARITIES AND THIS ONE HAS BEEN BY FAR THE BEST , AND HAS THE MOST POSITIVE EFFECT ON PEOPLE. IT SEEMS SOME HEAD HONCHO HAS PULLED HIS OR HER WEIGHT AROUND AND HAS MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR A POSITIVE, PURE , EXTREMELY INTELLIGENT CHARITY TO GET SOME WELL DESERVED FUNDING WHICH WOULD ONLY BE HELPING OTHERS IN RETURN. YOU HAVE LOST A CUSTOMER FOR LIFE, THANK GOD I DONT HAVE ANY CURRENT CHASE ACCOUNTS RIGHT NOW , AND I NEVER WILL!!!!! YOUR ACTIONS ARE UNACCEPTABLE AND RUTHLESS. HOW DARE YOU TREAT PEOPLE LIKE THIS AND EXPECT NOTHING TO BE SAID OR DONE ABOUT THIS. MANY PEOPLE LOVE THE GERSON CHARITY THAT ARE CONNECTED WITH CHASE AND THEY WILL KNOW ABOUT THIS IF THEY DONT ALREADY.

    EXCUSE THE TYPOS BUT MY BLOOD IS BOILING!!!
    THANKS FOR YOUR UNCHARITABLE ACTIONS, JANELL ESCALERA

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=750924457 Melissa Dragich-Cordero

    I am a LONG time Chase customer with even my home loan through them…I will CERTAINLY let them know I am very unhappy about this! Shame on Chase!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/nino.clock.5 Nine-o Clock

    Wow! I have never liked chase… Now I despise them even more. This is stupid. Oh they’re SO getting an email!

  • Carlos Gonzalez

    I say go on Twitter (@ChaseGiving) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/ChaseCommunityGiving) and light them up with posts. Spread the word that their actions are shameful and irresponsible. If you truly support the Gerson Institute go and make your feelings known!

  • Eve

    Everyone seems busy trying to find ways to hurt Chase back….but I envision Gerson Institute thanking Chase, a year from now, when their dirty deed has resulted in greater awareness of cancer treatment alternatives.

  • Robi

    The Gerson Institute has my unreserved vote. When I saw the name “Chase” my stomach turned and realized I could not ethically participate, no matter the best intentions. For any true goodness to arise… ethics must be adhered to! I could not have guessed this would happen but I am certainly not surprised Gerson was disqualified from the contest. I feel sad for the many people who would have benefited from this extra grant of monies. May their needs be met in some other way! in peace always.. Robi

  • http://www.facebook.com/Feng.Shui.Professional Scott Anderson

    Here’s a copy of the letter I sent to support@chasegiving.com:
    To whom it may concern:That was a dirty trick disqualifying Gerson from your Community Giving contest. They were good enough to participate in the program and solicit their fans into thinking Chase was honestly promoting non profits and themselves in good faith. To disqualify in the final hours of your alleged contest was mean spirited and deceitful to everybody who participated in the voting. I’m sure you found a more appropriate source for your grant money! I’m sure there are more than a few who will find a more trustworthy bank than Chase for their financial service needs.Good luck with your next promotion.Scott AndersonSan Diego, CA

  • Lucie

    This is so typical! I don’t usually vote, but I voted for you. But I did think it was odd that Chase would support your cause, not because it isn’t AMAZING – but because like all big business in America they are tied at the hand and feet. They will have some connection to either the pharmaceutical, meat, or cancer industries – industries who make BILLIONS of dollars making and keeping Americans sick. It is just totally typical. They want us sleeping and sick. Keep spreading your good word! You are totally amazing. I will be closing my accounts with Chase.

  • Mary

    Wow! Unbelievable!! Do not lose heart for the Gerson Therapy stands on truth!! We will prevail!! Survival of the fittest- we know the truth!! Perseverance!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rachel.chin.758 Rachel Chin

    I sent them and email and I’m closing out my credit card with them asap. Greedy jerks!

  • Ana

    I am so sorry for the disappointment, but I always believed these kinds of donations from big corporations are totally unfair and politically manipulated.
    I want to encourage all of us who voted for Gerson to donate $10 each that way we can provide $17,260.00 to the Institute and our support will not be in vain.

  • Steve

    They’ve certainly heard from me.

  • Cindy

    I left Chase a couple years ago as part of the “Move Your Money” campaign. I moved it out of Chase and put it into a community bank. Never looked back!

  • Ralph

    No Chase accounts now and in the future for sure. I’ll make sure Chase does not have my money…
    Good explanation letter – very well written!
    Veggie juices and good health for all!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1584621858 Jason Roberts

    Start a Change.org petition requesting that Chase not only reinstate your position at the time they deleted you, but request that they award the grant that you would have gotten had you not been removed. If they receive over 7,000 emails (from all those who voted) via the petition, they may concede to the pressure and do what’s right. Worth a shot.

  • Love

    J-p Morgan is the one who stopped Tesla work about the wireless electricity because for him it was the end of selling electric wire around the country. Morgan family has a lot of collaboration with other families in different industries, so Chase can not go against them. For sure, everything is related with improvement of life without modern medicine is completely forbidden. If you want to change something you should go to a local bank and not other bank like WF (wells F)or BoA (Bank of A). Because this big banks are all working together.

    Love

  • Doc_says_eat_anything

    Disappointed and embarrassed to trust Chase as my banking source…bye bye Chase!

  • Bruce & Betsy Newkirk

    We were wondering what happened to Gerson on the leader
    board. This is so sad ~ but sorry to say, not shocking. We were pleasantly
    surprised to see Gerson among the candidates in the first place; their
    application having been vetted by Chase Community Giving program personnel. The
    Morgan / Rockefeller / Chase empire is a HUGE proponent of pharmaceuticals
    & the commercial health care system. It would have been a delicious irony
    for Gerson to receive money from them to advance their ability to educate people
    about a cancer cure that negates any need for those drugs & radiation
    therapies.

    JD Rockefeller was the founder of the American Cancer
    Society which introduced his petroleum-based cancer drugs & medical
    practices of today into the healthcare market. He started the medical schools
    that teach the so-called ‘benefits’ of modern medicine. One of JD’s goals was
    to live to 100 years old. He lived to the age of 98. How ironic that HE
    personally studied & practiced holistic medicine. He would not touch the pharmaceuticals
    & treatments that he happily & very profitably pushed upon society.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CyndeeAdkins84 Cyndee Adkins

    You have definitively been robbed. Apparently the “peoples” votes don’t count unless chase decides, “uh yeah ok we agree with that”…There is all kinds of out pour and cry’s to chase for being the heartless crooks they have proven to be. Talk about Indian Givers…
    I personally have never liked chase after what they did to their customers in 2010 doubling payments where people couldn’t pay their dept down…
    We feel your pain. Chase probably isn’t losing a wink of sleep over it either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CyndeeAdkins84 Cyndee Adkins

    I believe this is probably the dirty truth about the matter..

  • viktoria

    so so so so so TRUE!

  • Scout

    Evil runs through Chase’s DNA. Here’s another example. I’m glad I gave J.P. Morgan Chase the boot last year. I had to part with them. It took me a half hour to close my chase account and walk over to the neighboring non-profit credit union and start one there. I feel really, really good for doing that. Now I support a community non-profit, not distant shareholders. It’s just as convenient using the CU. There is little advantages to banks anymore for most people.

  • scout

    Yes, this is the same J.P. Morgan Chase that gave the NYPD $4 million the day before the Occupy Wall Street protests last year, then the next day the NYPD mass arrested peaceful protesters on the Brooklyn bridge on the grounds of marching in an unlawful place…but it was the police that directed into the trap. Avoid Chase and tell your circles to do the same. Go Credit Union!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.artemis.3 Mary Artemis

    Perhaps it’s time to list names of cases of those healed of Stage IV cancers etc., on the TShirts wtih logo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.artemis.3 Mary Artemis

    Would have loved a number to all or website to directly complain to the giant.

  • GersonInstitute

    So would we! We actually couldn’t find any way to directly contact the people behind Chase Community Giving, and we never heard back from them after they informed us that we had been disqualified.

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