The Huffington Post Tara Kelly First Posted: 10/17/11 04:02 PM ET Updated: 10/18/11 02:40 PM ET
But according to Alertnet, that's what happened after offering a donation that could potentially raise half a million dollars by joining up with Foundation Beyond Belief, a secular charity funded by atheists, freethinkers, and humanists.
Stiefel proposed atheists around the world participate as part of a national team in the ACS Relay For Life fundraiser.
The Examiner reports, the ACS denied the FBB an offer to compete in the national fundraiser, saying it was only open to corporations, even though other charities were invited to take part.
Instead, Alertnet explains ACS was happy to receive the donation, just not have them participate nationally at the Relay For Life event.
Last Thursday the Foundation Beyond Belief decided to go public with a statement from Executive Director Dale McGowen:
As you may have heard, a planned project by Foundation Beyond Belief to raise up to a half million dollars through the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life program was recently tabled when ACS declined to allow us to create a national Relay team as other non-profits have done."
But ACS refuted the statement. "It's essentially untrue...We never turned down any donation...The American Cancer Society is all about staying well and saving lives...The relay for life event is the most successful event, we are inclusive and plural," said Greg Donaldson, ACS's Vice President for Communications in a phone interview with the Huffington Post.
Donaldson also explained ACS never directly dealt with Foundation Beyond Belief before. "My organization has had no conversations with the Foundation Beyond Belief. We've been talking to Todd [Steifel] for two years about how we can work together," Donaldson said. "Our organization is being used and that is really regrettable," he added.
The Examiner reports that angry comments soon began appearing on the ACS Facebook wall, with commenters threatening to never donate to ACS again and questioning why one organization is allowed to participate in the Relay For Life while others were barred from it.
ACS responded to several individuals denying the claims and explaining their decision.
This is not the first time Foundation Beyond Belief or atheist groups have encountered difficulties when donating to charities. According to the organization's statement, it is the fourth rejection, but they continue to work with 70 other charitable organizations.
Correction: A previous headline on this story indicated that the American Cancer Society was turning down money from Foundation Beyond Belief. The American Cancer Society has indicated that they will accept donations, but Foundation Beyond Belief's requests to participate in Relay for Life nationally have been declined.