The sad truth about LOCKS OF LOVE and hair donation.
Please read before you donate.
Please go to any hair donation site before you donate so you
know the facts.
(The article that lead to investigation on locks of love)
LINK STILL UP! Posted here for your convenience.
September 6, 2007
Lather, Rinse, Donate
By ELIZABETH HAYT
"A STREAM of girls in green T-shirts bustled into the gym at Seton High School
in Cincinnati last May, scrambled into folding chairs and bowed their heads.
As more than 400 spectators counted down, volunteers pulled the girls' locks
taut into ponytails and, on cue, sheared off eight inches, creating blond,
brunette and raven pompoms that many girls shook and twirled."
"The newly shorn — more than 200 students, siblings and friends — had been
preparing for this cut-a-thon for months,
growing their hair for Pantene Beautiful Lengths,
a charitable program that makes wigs for women facing cancer
treatment. Jen Sherman, 16, a junior, participated because her mother and her
aunt had died of cancer."
"I did it for them, as a way to remember them," said Jen, whose sister, Megan,
cut off her light-colored ponytail. "It felt really special."
"Forget collecting pennies for Unicef or washing
cars to raise money for
One of the most popular ways young people are
contributing to charity these days — everyone
from Girl Scouts to bar mitzvah boys — is growing
their hair long and donating it for wigs for
children and women with serious diseases."
"It's not just teenagers. Biker clubs have organized
cut-a-thons. Professional athletes have held public
shearings. The NBC news anchor Ann Curry lopped off
the actress Diane Lane's mane on the "Today" show last year."
"But although charities have been highly effective
at stirring the passions of donors, they have been
less successful at finding a use for the mountains
of hair sent to them as a result. As much as 80
percent of the hair donated to Locks of Love, the
best known of the charities, is unusable for its
wigs, the group says. Many people are unaware of
the hair donation guidelines and send in hair
that is gray, wet or moldy, too short, or too
processed, some of which is immediately thrown away.
Even hair that survives the winnowing may not go to
the gravely ill, but may be sold to help pay for
charities' organizational costs."
"At the headquarters of Locks of Love in Lake Worth, Fla.,
the hair deluge — up to 2,000 individual donations a week
— can be daunting for the small staff of six employees
and 10 to 15 volunteers."
"We created this monster because people get so much from it,"
said Ms. "C", the president of Locks of Love.
"They get the attention. They get a warm and fuzzy feeling.
They feel they're going to help a child."
"Locks of Love sends the best of the hair
it receives to a wig manufacturer,
Taylormade Hair Replacement in Millbrae,
Calif., which weeds through the selection
still further, rejecting up to half."
"We hate throwing it away but ultimately we have to
clear the place out," said Greg Taylor, the president
and owner of Taylormade. "There is a disparity between
the hundreds and hundreds of braids and ponytails and
the number of hairpieces we've produced."
"Mr. Taylor sells the wigs wholesale to Locks of Love
for less than $1,000. Since the charity began in December 1997,
it has provided about 2,000 wigs to recipients for free or a
reduced price. The group makes clear in its literature and
on its Web site that most of the wig recipients are not children
with cancer. Rather, they are children who suffer from alopecia
areata, an autoimmune disorder that destroys follicles and
results in hair loss. About 2 percent of the population,
including half a million children, are estimated to
"But many alopecia sufferers seem unaware that they are
the group's main priority; only about 10 apply for a
wig each week, Ms. "C" said. Many donors, too, seem
ignorant or only partly aware of the group's focus.
Maggie Varney, a hairdresser and owner of a salon in St.
Clair Shores, Mich., said she was shocked to learn that hair
she collected from her clients and sent to Locks of Love was
not used for wigs for children with cancer. In reaction, she
formed her own nonprofit, Wigs 4 Kids, in 2003, which receives
a few dozen donations of hair a month that are made into
wigs that go predominantly to children with cancer."
"Two other groups also serve people with cancer. Pantene
Beautiful Lengths, started in June last year, has the
resources of Pantene, the $3 billion global hair product
division of Procter & Gamble, including teams of publicists
who stage cutting fests. Already the program has received
18,000 ponytails — 8,000 more than originally projected —
and distributed 2,000 wigs to women with cancer, said
Seth Klugherz, the North American Pantene brand manager."
"Wigs for Kids, the oldest hair donation charity, was started
more than 25 years ago by Jeffrey Paul, a designer and
retailer of hairpieces. It receives 600 to 800 donations
a month, he said, for wigs that usually go to children
with cancer, but also to those with other medical conditions.
The lesser-known charities receive less unusable hair than
Locks of Love, which has become almost synonymous with the
cause and attracts mass donations."
"R. W. McQuarters, a cornerback for the New York Giants who
donated his dreadlocks to Locks of Love in March, said he
wishes he had known that they are unacceptable for wigmaking
and probably ended up in the trash. "I'd rather them send
back the hair," he said. "I could have sold them on eBay
and then taken the cash and given it to charity."
"In fact, all three of the children's charities
sell excess hair — in particular, the short
and the gray — to commercial wig makers to defray costs.
According to its tax returns, Locks of Love made
$1.9 million from hair sales from 2001 to 2006,
and took in another $3.4 million in donations.
Besides paying for wigs, the money goes for overhead
and other costs, including grants for alopecia research."
"The donations keep rolling in, perhaps because cutting
off one's hair for charity is an altruistic deed that
doesn't require a financial contribution, which may be
why it appeals so much to children. It is also an intimate
act that suggests an instant result, said Bennett Weiner,
the chief operating officer of the Better Business Bureau's
Wise Giving Alliance, a national monitor of charities.
"People like the feeling that their gift will be
helping now," Mr. Weiner said."
"Most of those who give are adolescent girls, like
Eliza Stuber of Albany, Calif. At her bat mitzvah
ceremony in July last year, she announced her intention
to donate her brown tresses to Locks of Love. Later that
day, she showed up at her party with a new short cut,
her pledge fulfilled."
"Lately boys and even men have gotten into the act,
like Brennan Blomgren, 17, from St. Paul, Minn.,
who blogged about wanting to donate his hair
and then gave a foot of his blond mop to
Pantene Beautiful Lengths. He also held a
public cutting event for the charity in
December at the Mall of America."
"Other donors include Mikey Teutul,
a biker known from the television show
"American Chopper," who has twice chopped
off his hair for Locks of Love. Prisoners at
the Racine Correctional Institute in Sturtevant,
Wis., will "grow their hair during their
entire incarceration and cut it before they're
released," said Uv Kamm, the prison's recreational leader."
"The idea that donated hair can benefit a gravely ill
woman or child is so pervasive that some long-haired
people even report being harassed for not chopping
off their locks. Heidi Woeller, 47, an administrative
assistant at a hardware company in DeKalb, Ill., whose hair
reaches the back of her calves when worn loose, recalled
that at an antiques fair last summer two women asked if
she intended to donate. When she said no, they berated her,
insisting she set an example. "They're basically asking,
`What are your charitable intentions this year?
" Ms. Woeller said."
"Perhaps they would be less adamant if they could visit
Ms. "C" in the Locks of Love office in Florida.
Every day the hanks of hair arrive, filling some
10 postal bins, representing the best intentions of
donors, but so much of it destined for the trash."
"A check would be easier for me," Ms. "C" said.
"But would the donors get out of it what they do? No."
2007 The N.Y. Times Company
**** Below is the dispute between Ms "C" and T.Stamp****
Saved for informational purposes. Links are no longer on the net.
they disappeared and are not available
after Mr Stamp retired.
Location: Mahwah : NJ : United States
T. Stamp served as the founding president
of Charity Navigator, America's largest charity
evaluator, from 2001-2008.
T. Stamp's Take
"The president of Charity Navigator gives an insider's
perspective to the inspiring, intriguing, and sometimes
idiotic inner workings of the world of non-profits
Friday, September 07, 2007
Hair-Raising Charity News
We've tried for a while to educate donors to the
fact that when they donate their car to a charity,
in 99% of the cases, the charity simply sells the
car at auction and keeps the proceeds. They don't
actually use the car to drive around and do good works.
The same is true when you donate your clothes. Generally,
the clothes are sold (in bulk, by the pound) and the
charity receives pennies for your old pants. Basically,
if you give the charity non-cash items, they throw out what
they find unusable and sell the rest to fund
But did you know that the same was true of your hair?
According to this story in the N.Y.Times, 80% of
the hair that is donated to the popular charity,
Locks of Love, is "immediately thrown out" due to
it being unusable for wig making. And the majority
of what actually makes the cut (sorry) does "not go
to the gravely ill, but is sold to help pay for charities'
organizational costs." And this is no small business.
According to its tax returns, Locks of Love made $1.9
million from hair sales from
2001 to 2006.
I must admit that I was surprised by these findings.
I knew that the hair donation program was primarily
a gimmick designed to build awareness and generate
donations, (and to be fair, one of the most brilliant
marketing ideas we've ever seen in this sector),
and assumed that the wig-making was simply a small
percentage of the group's operations. But I had no
idea that such a small amount of the hair that they
received actually found its way to the head of a
person who had lost their hair because of disease.
And I suspect that most donors would be shocked to
find this out too. I'm willing to bet that virtually
none of the teenage girls who have adopted the shearing
as a way to demonstrate their willingness to help the
less fortunate would give up their hair if they knew
that most was thrown out, and the rest
was usually sold.
I'm not accusing Locks of Love of anything here.
I think they're a good group and brilliant marketers.
But as a donor's advocate, I think it's fair to share
with donors that in most cases, their selfless
gesture of donating their hair is an empty one,
and their gorgeous locks will usually end up in
a trash can, serving no one.
R. W. McQuarters, a professional football player
who donated his dreadlocks to Locks of Love,
actually says it far better than I ever could:
"I'd rather them send back the hair," he said.
"I could have sold them on eBay and then taken
the cash and given it to charity."
posted by T.Stamp at 10:46 AM 9-7-07"
"Friday, September 07, 2007
Locks of Love Responds
(and Calls the NY Times Liars)
Ms "C", President of the Board of
Directors of Locks of Love, read my post today
and asked if she could respond to it, and more
importantly, to yesterday's N. Y.Times piece
about her organization. I am happy to do so. In essence,
she says that the Times lied, in a deliberate attempt
to embarrass and disparage her group.
Here is Ms. "C" response:
"Locks of Love has enjoyed many years of accurate media,
high ratings from well respected organizations, positive
feedback from hair donors and recipients. The New York
Times article which appeared on Thursday, September 6th
that Mr. Stamp refers to is not only inaccurate but
inappropriate in its intent. This reporter actually
acknowledged to several people interviewed that she
was unable to discover any of the negative information
her "editors" asked her to report. After numerous and
lengthy interviews with this reporter over a few week period,
the story does not reflect the conversations that occurred.
Our last contact with this reporter was the day prior to the
story appearing. At this time she hoped to extrapolate on a
factual statistic given to her and created a quote that states
inflated numbers. She was discouraged from using the inaccurate
quotations. Unfortunately, our suggestions were not heeded.
To clarify exactly what information she had and should
have utilized: The ONLY hair that is EVER "thrown out"
is hair that has been swept off the floor or has become
moldy from being packaged wet over a long period, prior
to receipt. The grossly false interpretation of this fact
is unprofessional and inexcusable and diminishes the efforts
of volunteers who assist with our daily mail.
The Locks of Love Web site has and continues
to provide guidelines for donating as well as
information which details how unusable hair still
benefits the children in need, although not physically
placed in a prosthesis. In addition, she chose not to
include the exciting successes for new treatment as a
direct result of a Locks of Love $500,000 research
grant to the University of Miami Department
of Dermatology to find a cure.
Locks of Love recognizes all the charitable
gestures from donors with a personalized thank you,
which is mailed to their homes if return address
information is provided. All donors can be assured that
hair submissions, which meet the requirements posted
on locksoflove.org will be used in a prosthesis for a
child with long term medical hair loss. These children
have endured disappointments in their lives that many
of us could only imagine. For this seemingly,
intentional misrepresentation in The N.Y.Times
and its attempt to cast a shadow on the good deeds
of Locks of Love,
is simply unconscionable.
President, Locks of Love"
posted by T.Stamp at 4:42 PM 9-7-07"
"Monday, September 10, 2007
Who's the Liar?
For those of you who ducked out a little early
on Friday, you may have missed the president of
Locks of Love, one of America's best-known charities,
using this blog to accuse the New York Times of maliciously
slandering them. It started when the Times wrote a story
last week claiming Locks of Love was being dishonest
in their operations. From there. I wrote a piece for this blog,
and then Locks of Love contacted me in an effort to set the
story straight. I agreed to post the Locks of Love response.
And we now have a classic case of "he said/she said,"
only the "he" is one of America's most-respected
newspapers and the "she" is one of America's
most-respected charities. And one of them,
to be frank, is a liar.
The N.Y.Times says that, according to
Locks of Love themselves, "80% of the hair
donated to Locks of Love is unusable" and thus
thrown out. Locks of Love president
Ms "C" says she has no idea where
the Times got that number. According to her,
"the only hair that is ever thrown out is
hair that has been swept off the floor or
has become moldy from being packaged wet over a
long period of time, prior to receipt."
While Locks of Love states that they exist to provide
wigs for people who suffer from alopecia areata,
a non-fatal disease that causes hair loss, they believe
that the Times tried to make them look worse by subtly
claiming that they are there to serve "gravely ill
women and children."
The N.Y. Times says their story is, as always,
"all the news that's fit to print." Locks of Love
says that the reporter in question, Ms Hayt,
acknowledged to them that her editors asked her to dig up
"negative information." When she was unable to find
any such information, Locks of Love says she resorted to
"inaccurate quotations," "created quotes," and made up
"conversations that did not occur." In a telephone
discussion with Ms. "C" of Locks of Love on Friday,
she told me that the reporter from the Times had called
her in tears, apologizing for what the Times editors had
done to her story and the reputation
of Locks and Love.
So what do we have here? Is the N.Y. Times on
a malicious and slanderous vendetta to destroy a
charity that provides wigs for sick children? Or
is Locks of Love, one of the most revered charities
in the nation, lying about what they do, and using me in
the process? Frankly, I don't know. But I think donors,
and readers, deserve
to know the truth.
Posted by T.Stamp at 8:24 AM 9-10-07"
T. Stamp resigned/retired in 2008 and the links I had went dead, but luckily I copied these articles.
Here is all of his info that is no longer on the net.
I bet LOL was happy to see them disappear when he retired.