Scandal at JDRF!

Today, a shocking revelation about the JDRF: two employees have been caught embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars, the New York Times reports. This is pretty well the worst news I have heard since my diagnosis with diabetes four years ago.

Jdrf_logo_tainted Imagine the fireworks! All those parents killing themselves to raise money for JDRF, striving to fund research toward a cure. All those dedicated walkers and cyclists doing the same. And all the rest of us, who’d put our unconditional trust and hopes into this organization…

Naturally, bad eggs can pop up anywhere. Let us hope that the guilty parties — Jonathan Stenger, national director, and Jason Brown, national manager (who were both already fired late last year) — were isolated cases of crookdom and haven’t colored the rest of the organization. Just as naturally, however, this scandal is going to leave a blot on the JDRF’s rep. I hope donations don’t dry up.

To make matters worse,the foundation’s president and CEO Arnold W. Donald, 53, is stepping down tomorrow supposedly due to urgent “family matters” that are unrelated to the investigation. Right.

I’m just so disappointed at the moment. That’s all I have to say.


29 Responses

  1. Courtney
    Courtney February 28, 2008 at 8:47 am | | Reply

    this just kills me, especially since Forbes called the JDRF a “powerhouse” and labeled them as a top charity a few years ago…it really makes you wonder sometimes, where is our money really going…

  2. Kathy
    Kathy February 28, 2008 at 9:10 am | | Reply

    Having read some of the details at Scott Strumello’s blog, I can only hope that the rigor with which JDRF pursued their “internal audit” displays their true commitment to transparency, ethics and raising funds for a cure. It would be a great disappointment otherwise.

  3. Anne
    Anne February 28, 2008 at 9:24 am | | Reply

    I wouldn’t assume that Donald’s resignation has anything to do with this unless you have some evidence on that.


  4. Michelle
    Michelle February 28, 2008 at 9:43 am | | Reply

    Sigh. that’s like stealing money from my child. Very sad.

  5. gina
    gina February 28, 2008 at 9:51 am | | Reply

    Its pretty pathetic that people would actually do something like this.

  6. Kathy
    Kathy February 28, 2008 at 10:07 am | | Reply

    Yes we’re shocked and appalled, but at least JDRF caught it themselves through their own internal audit procedures. And they are seeking full restitution. JDRF is still our best hope at finding a cure. I just hope donations don’t fall off because of this.

  7. Jeff
    Jeff February 28, 2008 at 10:23 am | | Reply

    Whenever news like this hits the wires, the cynic in me always wonders how much other heinous, criminal misbehavior goes undetected — not specifically at JDRF, but anywhere I contribute money for a worthy cause.

    Now, in addition to its hard work on behalf of my pancreas, JDRF has its own big black eye to worry about, too. Thanks a lot, Stenger & Brown.

    I have more respect for common street thugs, who at least have the intestinal fortitude to rob you face to face.

  8. Marston A.
    Marston A. February 28, 2008 at 11:01 am | | Reply

    Man, such sad news. Almost speechless.

  9. Susan
    Susan February 28, 2008 at 11:17 am | | Reply

    I truly believe this is a case of one or two bad people who commit a crime. I know many, many jdrf vols and staff and they are all great people who really, truly care about their mission. It is up to us to NOT let this slow us down. If we do, the criminals win. I would think that the people who worked around these two clowns are even more hurt and upset than we all are. Let’s give the best team working for a cure for us and our kids ALL our support when they really need it.

  10. Paul
    Paul February 28, 2008 at 12:16 pm | | Reply

    I noticed in the NY Times article that it said that Arnold Donald is taking early retirement. Wasn’t he just hired in 2006 from outside the organization? I just hope he didn’t have some generous retirement package available to him after just two years of service.

  11. Bob
    Bob February 28, 2008 at 3:12 pm | | Reply

    Hope JDRF have a big bond to collect the money they stole.

  12. Tod
    Tod February 28, 2008 at 5:44 pm | | Reply

    anyone have addresses on these upstanding citizens?

  13. Erica
    Erica February 28, 2008 at 6:08 pm | | Reply

    Look up the last names in New York City. I am sure you’ll find them.

  14. MEC
    MEC February 28, 2008 at 6:59 pm | | Reply

    Sorry, this does not surprise me one bit. After they aggressively tried to discredit Dr. Denise Faustman a couple of years ago, I lost all faith in their integrity as an organization. They have lost sight of their mission, period – this is just the latest example.

  15. Jessica Hickok
    Jessica Hickok February 28, 2008 at 7:18 pm | | Reply

    Arnold Donald’s stepping down really is due to family matters. Your sarcasm is a little insolent of someone who should be admired for making his family top priority.

    The whole embezzlement thing really is a sad deal.

  16. Sarah
    Sarah February 28, 2008 at 11:49 pm | | Reply

    Smells like…Enron…

    JDRF has done NOTHING to cure Type 1 diabetes. All recent major breakthroughs have come from other researchers without JDRF funding.

    I’m sure this won’t be the last scandal we see coming out of JDRF. If they were to spend more time working on an ACTUAL cure instead of playing around with stem cells in a few lab rats, maybe we’d have some progress.

    I’m not the only one who can see this…those poor disillusioned mothers who have been brainwashed to give to JDRF better open their eyes…

    These men responsible deserve to develop Type 1 diabetes themselves…or their children. And deal with it in jail. Thanks for your comments Amy, I feel the same way…but I’m not surprised in the least.

  17. Stella'sMom
    Stella'sMom February 29, 2008 at 9:32 am | | Reply

    Each person who has diabetes, is related to someone with diabetes, and who has given money to JDRF should be allowed to stick those two jerks with a needle!

  18. Stella'sMom
    Stella'sMom February 29, 2008 at 9:32 am | | Reply

    Each person who has diabetes, is related to someone with diabetes, and who has given money to JDRF should be allowed to stick those two jerks with a needle!

  19. Stella'sMom
    Stella'sMom February 29, 2008 at 9:32 am | | Reply

    Each person who has diabetes, is related to someone with diabetes, and who has given money to JDRF should be allowed to stick those two jerks with a needle!

  20. Windy
    Windy February 29, 2008 at 10:26 am | | Reply

    I am doing my first JDRF walk next Month. I have many friends and family who have sacrificed their own dollars to help this cause. I’m embarrassed and reading this is just so disheartening.

  21. geekgirl
    geekgirl February 29, 2008 at 1:48 pm | | Reply

    The organization discovered the fraud and theft, and brought it to light. Granted, it was after they took action, but I don’t think there is anything systemically wrong at the JDRF, based on their admission. The United Way was able to bounce back after scandal in the early 90s (iirc). Let’s hope the JDRF can do so as well.

    It’s just… /sigh How freaking disheartening.

  22. Ric
    Ric March 1, 2008 at 6:57 am | | Reply

    As a long time volenteer to many so called non-profit establishments, I can sort of see why such items might happen. This is just too much take for selfish personal interests, hope they feel guilty of this and surrender their personal belongings to give back to the cure of diabetes, not an organization that kick backs from medical organizations that push their products. Hope my suggested comment get through their darkness.

  23. Florian
    Florian March 2, 2008 at 1:49 pm | | Reply

    They ought to hang these two guys. On second thought how about the needle in the arm…..attached to a 10ml vial of Rapid insulin.

  24. Harriett
    Harriett April 7, 2008 at 12:43 pm | | Reply

    How sad. This will cause a decrease in the amount of money I collect for the walk. What can I tell people, I am ashamed.
    On another note – this may explain why I had no response to my request for income tax receipts. They came today and I have already filed, this will also decrease the amount that I collect because my sponsors probably didn’t get their receipts any earlier than I did. It took from June/07 until April /08. Not a good job.

  25. Riverstream
    Riverstream November 15, 2008 at 12:36 am | | Reply

    I used to work at JDRF. The parents who volunteered for the organization really impressed me but the executive staff sure didn’t. So I was appalled – but not really surprised – when I heard today that two jerks over there stole $1.2 Million. That place should have been audited years ago! It was a mess back when I worked there and it’s clearly a mess yet. They blew so much money there that the employees used to laugh over their slogan that 80% of the money they raised went to research. I recall one person saying the executive catering bill was more than that alone. That was probably an exaggeration, but who knows with that organization? I’m ashamed to have them on my resume – that’s how bad they were.

  26. Dan
    Dan November 15, 2008 at 7:03 pm | | Reply

    This is heartbreaking! My eight year old daughter was just recently diagnosed and we participated in our first this year. We did pretty good I might add, but now I wonder who we were really helping. I am one of the principals for a background investigations company, did they look into these guys before they cut them loose with all that money? We would be happy to work with JDRF to do some due dilligence work on current and future employees. Under the circumstances the executives over there should insist on it!

  27. Scott Childress
    Scott Childress December 19, 2008 at 10:07 pm | | Reply


    it really saddens me that the comment by riverstream would get you disheartened…

    I have worked at a local chapter of JDRF for the past four months, after leaving full-time religious ministry for work in the non-profit field and can tell you that this organization has more integrity than any ministry I have been a part of….

    its hard to trust the cynicism of a former employee…he/she is former for a reason.

    Have I met people who are jerks in the organization? Of course. What job can you work at where this isnt true? But as a whole, this organization is full of people who work their because they want to do some good in this world.

    As has been mentioned before – it was an internal audit that caught this – the corp. world tends to just sweep things like this under the rug until the feds find out!

    I can assure you that there are strict policies in place to make sure that JDRF keeps overhead as low as possible – this year they cancelled all our Christmas parties, for example. :(

    I’m not sure which chapter the above poster worked at – but it has been my experience so far that money is not being wasted. Go check out the financials yourself. JDRF does a better job than nearly everyone else at sending as much money to their stated mission as they can.

  28. Anon
    Anon September 3, 2012 at 9:49 am | | Reply

    Isn’t it crazy that the same Scott Childress that made the above comment has now (as of 8/14/2012) been arraigned on an aggravated class 2 felony charge for stealing at least $20,000 from the Dallas JDRF chapter? Oh, the irony…

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