Several organizations have names similar to the American Heart Association. They include the American Heart Research Foundation, National Heart Research (a project of the National Emergency Medicine Association), Heart Support of America and National Heart Association.
AHA Legal Position
The American Heart Association doesn't want to stifle competition or harm any legitimate not-for-profit agency raising funds for heart or stroke research. Others have the right to lawfully seek tax-exempt status under section 501(c) (3) and other sections of the Internal Revenue Code. They also have the right to generate revenue through ethical fund-raising methods.
We do want the public to know the differences between our identity, activities and mission and those of organizations with similar names. That's why we urge the public to check on any group that solicits funds. The public should know how a nonprofit organization spends their donations. That organization should provide an annual report and financial statement.
The American Heart Association does not police sound-alike organizations. Instead, we educate our donors on the sound investment of a gift to our association.
Where can people get information on sound-alike organizations?
Write to the organizations and ask for financial information. The Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance also has information about tax-exempt and sound-alike groups. You can call the Better Business Bureau's Philanthropic Advisory Service at (703) 276-0100. The National Charities Information Board phone number is (212) 929-6300.
You can find out about local tax-exempt groups by calling most local Better Business Bureau offices. You can also get help from state agencies that register and oversee not-for-profit groups.
Related AHA publications:
- American Heart Association Annual Report
- Sound-Alike Manual, 1994