Charity Run at the Big House Back On?

Submitted by 543Church on December 5th, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Per and a radio interview this morning Dave Brandon indicates that UM cut ties with CFC and supports still having a charity run at the Big House.


So, Dave Brandon has totally redeemed himself?




Go Ugly Early

December 5th, 2012 at 2:01 PM ^

It sounded like Brandon's decision to cancel the race had more to do with Champions for Charity's "for-profit" status than anything else.  However, I would not be surprised if his comments today about hosting their own race were damage control due to backlash yesterday.

I had read on a separate article that CFC takes approximately $25-30 of the $36 entry fee for costs and profits, while the remainder is funneled to the charities.  I'm sure Brandon, as egotistical as he is, believe Michigan could manage the race and donate a higher percentage to charities.

Anyways, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.  For what it's worth, the CFC representative claimed that they offered to let the Michigan AD manage the race.


December 5th, 2012 at 2:06 PM ^

How many people who were participating in the race knew that? How many in the AD knew it? Probably not many. The term "charity" implies not-for-profit. A part of the calculus behind the AD's decision might have been that the supported charities might be better helped, or perhaps see a larger share of the financial pie, by a different means.


December 5th, 2012 at 2:12 PM ^

you'll see that your assessment isn't quite right regarding the numbers.  The race entry fees are between $32-$36 per runner, with between $6-9 of that going to charities. Saying CFC 'takes approximately $25-30 of the $36' is disingenuous and simply untrue.  Most of the rest of the fee covers the expense of actually putting on the runs.   This 'for profit' organization put a little less than $20,000 in their coffers in 2011-2012, while giving over $2,000,000 to charities. 

Go Ugly Early

December 5th, 2012 at 2:30 PM ^

Yes, Champions for Charity makes a very small profit.  However, you do not have visibility as to what makes up the operating costs that take up at a minimum $25 of a $32-36 entry fee.  Salaries for CFC employees are likely built into that cost considering their business model

Perhaps our AD believes that he can use existing resources (people already on salary, stadium resources, etc.) so that the margin funneled to charities will be much larger.


December 5th, 2012 at 2:36 PM ^

Do you have a source for your numbers? It's my understanding that CFC being a for profit organization means that they do not publicly disclose how they use the money that they collect.

(I have no dog in this fight, as I don't live in Ann Arbor and never participated in BHBH when I did live there. Just curious, because this passes for interesting these days.)


December 5th, 2012 at 2:02 PM ^


I will be pleasantly surprised. I am very curious as to why ties were cut with CFC, but I'm hoping that Michigan can still host a charity run. It's great for the runners, the University, the city, and all of the charities that get to benefit. 

I'm just hoping Michigan does the right thing. 

State Street

December 5th, 2012 at 2:07 PM ^

Curse that man Dave Brandon!  That mean CEO-money guy!  He's all about the dollars...

for charity.

Brandon thinks he can leverage the Michigan brand to make more money for charity than the ~25% per-entry-fee that BHBH made.  Can anybody really fault him for this?  I mean paying 35$ for a T-shirt with a small portion going to charity isn't the best use of funds.


December 5th, 2012 at 2:22 PM ^

What's wrong with using "leverage" as a verb? The fine folks at Merriaw-Webster seem to think it's OK: LINK.

Also, if you think that Michigan isn't a brand or that the university and its affiliates don't benefit from that brand, you are very mistaken and extremely naive. Taking care of an organization like UM's brand is way more important than a lot of people like to think.


December 5th, 2012 at 2:37 PM ^

to add an explanation, but you responded while I was doing it.  Short version: I know it sounds like I'm being pedantic and trollish, but MBA speak is particularly a problem in contexts like this one.  Michigan decided not to continue supporting this event for reasons that are a bit unclear, and some people are clearly upset about it.  If the reason is "they're a for-profit, and we don't like that," that's totally valid.  And it sounds like that's what Brandon is saying in that interview.  But the problem with phrases like "leverage the Michigan brand" is that they don't actually say anything, and actually explaining what you've done and why is important, especially when people are unhappy. That is my objection.


December 5th, 2012 at 2:55 PM ^

CFC had about $500k in entry fees last year (15000 runners times $33), so if they gave 25% to charity, that's $125k.

However, 10 times that amount, $1.5 million, went to 175 charities because of the race, in addition to that $125k.…

Thus, I'm not sure the ~25% is a fair figure (honestly, I don't know - I can't tell how other charitable fund-raising organizations/evaluators handle this accounting).  If CFC takes $375k out of the $2 million generated for the race, that means 82% of the funds raised for the race went to charities; the other 18% went to CHC for T-shirts, water, permits, rental fees, salaries, etc.

If Brandon really can run a more efficient race, that's great. But since he has not formally proposed one with a specific date (he's just talked about it generally), I can't evaluate whether U of M can do a better job or not.

One thing is for sure: those 175 charities counting on the $1 million plus for this year are scrambling because this wasn't communicated earlier by U of M.




December 5th, 2012 at 3:35 PM ^

All the additional funds are raised by the teams prior to the actual event. Teams often from the charity organizations themselves.  They do all the work. So there's hardly any administrative cost to the company for that. And the costs they do have are often filled by sponsorship, donations and volunteers.…

Someone in the comments even tries a worst case/most expensive scenario for where all the money is going, and still comes up with this race making a tidy profit (and that's if you pay $10 a tshirt...which for mass produced shirts is ridiculous).  They don't have to turn a profit as a company with no shareholders. They probably shouldn't be earning more than $19k "profit." But the money must be going somewhere, so that means someone has some really nice salaries.

Does it stink that the charities are going to have to find some other event to link their efforts of fundraising to? Yes. But they can certainly find one that does so without horrible administrative costs. 43% gets you on a worst charities list; 68% gets you at the top of the list!…

Something like MDA flip-flops it with 8% administrative costs, and 16% fundraising costs.  The 75% is going to programs, not administration.



December 5th, 2012 at 4:17 PM ^

I generally agree with your points, but I think you are being too flip about 2013. If it's easy to find someone to organize and put this race on, than why didn't Brandon already make the announcement that U of M (or some other organization that are apparently easy to find that runs these kinds of things) will be running the event for April 2013? That way, the 100+ charities, who have probably already put in the budgets for 2013 the $1.5 million+ they were planning to raise, could know what the situation was? Why make their lives more difficult?

Again, if Brandon & co had a problem with CFC and were sure Uof M could do a better job, fine - just say so, and more importantly, than do it and set up the alternate event. Stop having your assistant prattle on about the fact U of M now has "private events" (i.e., weddings) and that it was so difficult hosting the Big House run. 

I hope sometime in December there will be an announcement of a U of M-sponsored replacement event for spring/summer 2013.


December 5th, 2012 at 2:11 PM ^

If that breakdown of the fee is right I'm sure the AD could do a lot more for the charities. 15-20 percent is pretty high for administrative costs and this is over 80 percent.


December 5th, 2012 at 2:13 PM ^

I'm sure Brandon sees it as a win-win for the following:

more money for the causes (less to charity costs/profits)

More advertisement of the Michigan Brand in a positive light


Either that, or as you enter the Big House for the finish, you will be greeted by Coach Brady Hoke who will then sign an advertisement for weddings in the Big House or ads for tickets for Michigan Athletics events for you!


December 5th, 2012 at 2:21 PM ^

Whole story is different than half of the story? Color me shocked. Perhaps some of the Brandon haters can aim for a different box on the jump to conclusions mat.


December 5th, 2012 at 2:53 PM ^

Its like you don't know how to read or something.  Earlier in the week word came out that the AD was cutting ties with organization that ran big house big heart.  A lot of people here tore Dave Brandon saying he was doing something bad.  It now comes out that the reason Brandon cut ties is because that organization was a for profit and was taking 80% of the entrance fee for administrative costs which I can say having worked for multiple non-profits is a huge portion and makes me question that organization.  This is the band situation 2.0 again.  People jump on Brandon for a percieved money grab, turns out there was more to the story that made Brandon's decision reasonable like most of his decision have been.


December 5th, 2012 at 3:07 PM ^

Brandon and U of M should have spoken up earlier. They literally have people whose job it is to comment to media and various outlets.

In the original story, and in theircommunication to CFC, if Brandon and U of M had a problem with how CFC ran things, then say so. It's not hard. They can say "CFC is a fine organization, but we were not given enough clarity about how funds raised were utilized by CFC and thus we would like to organize the event ourselves to ensure the maximum amount of funds raised go to charities." Done.

Instead, Brandon sent hist asst Ablauf out there with goobledygook words that just said they'd go in another direction and that it was "a very challenging fit into our stadium" This goes again to the tone deafness of Brandon (like the band incident). U of M didn't show any caring from the 100+ charities (some of which are U of M-based charities) that were counting on this event, which was less than 5 months away.

If he had an alternate plan, than state that when the CFC-run event was canceleed.  More to the point, they just generally have a plan - there is nothing specific, so until something official is announced, he just cancelled a huge charity event for 2013 and didn't put anything meanginful in its place.


December 5th, 2012 at 3:25 PM ^

To be fair, the Vietnamese do some amazing dishes with cat.  I had two bowls of some of the best pho in my life before the hosts informed me where the meat was coming from.  Koreans will use make a tonic out of it.  


December 5th, 2012 at 3:38 PM ^

(Nothing like opening a pot on the stove to see chicken heads and feet staring at you)

But she loves cats way to much to ever knowingly make a meal out of them. Now some of the cute animals they just serve, you never know.


Nothing like having your sister-in-law asked at Thanksgiving "what are you going to do with the giblets...?"


December 5th, 2012 at 10:37 PM ^

Fish heads don't make me feel sad, but the smell...! Serve me omething with fish sauce in it, but don't have me be around when you open it. Because the smell reminds me of how you make it.

And you'd know better than I, but when she makes homemade kimchi, my house stinks for a week. Maybe she's doing it wrong. (She's pretty international in her tastes. I actually think she was Indian in another life.)


December 5th, 2012 at 2:47 PM ^

David Brandon will find a big-pockets UM donor to partially or fully backstop the costs of hosting the finish in the Big House, BHBH will be on again, and we'll have UM Band in Dallas 2.0.


December 5th, 2012 at 3:00 PM ^

I'm glad that there is talk of a race being run in the Big House and I'd have no issue with CFC getting the boot due to a for profit status.  That being said, it would still be nice if Dave would actually go on record as to why an action was taken, what will be done moving forward, etc.

All we have is "I support the idea" which is rather nonbinding.  Also "I feel I have valid reasons to go in this direction" and of course he never states such reasons.  Our knowledge of CFC taking a large cut comes from a seperate article.  Brandon definitely hints at it, but avoids direct confrontation.  I'd rather have an AD that is more direct about it.  

On the plus side his policy is getting the College of Engineering more money.  They actually are transparent when they talk about what they want to do with the money I donate.  So 100% of my donations went to academics this year as opposed to athletics getting a cut.     


December 5th, 2012 at 5:49 PM ^

some fans you just can't reach?

clearly the department should've been much more clear and up front, much sooner.  But it seems that's only one part of the problem here - the other being the transparency (or lack thereof) with the way the numbers break down.
as seen in this thread, there are two completely different ways to break down the numbers based on the information made public thus far, and one's interpretation of the numbers directly informs one's opnion on the whole matter.
I'm not trying to instigate anything, nor fling mud in any direction unnecesarily.  I can find plenty to criticize with Brandon if I so choose, as most can, it just seems odd the way this has unfolded.

and yea, there are some comparisons(mainly in handling, it appears)  to the Band in Dallas situation, but it's not really the same thing.


April 16th, 2013 at 1:58 AM ^

Running a charity is not easy especially with abig house and a lot of thing should be consider like the buget for lights, water, daily needs and other operating expenses.  Just like this bounce house rentals that is good for party and other special occasions.