Where the Dollars Go

OMF's Financial Philosophy

OMF was established in 2003 by an eye surgeon and his son. The goal from the outset was to be a lifeline for uveal melanoma patients when before there was none. Due largely to the orphan nature of uveal melanoma, few resources existed for patients, online and elsewhere. Even as an eye doctor with a number of treatment and information resources at his disposal, Dr. Allen had trouble finding information specific to uveal melanoma, including the latest forms of treatment and promising immunotherapy trials. This orphan status also meant that minimal public funds were available to support the programs OMF wished to roll out across its split mission: support and educate patients (help in the now) while backing scientific research to one day see a cure (help in the future).

Given the limited financial resources available, especially from the public sphere, the OMF founders knew they needed to take a disciplined, capital efficient approach to enable OMF to be sustainable over the long run. They built the website – now the #1 destination online for OM-related patient information – themselves and today host it on SnapPages for only $8/month.

No individual or company has been paid – EVER – for development of OMF’s tools or creation of OMF’s content online other than logo development at a discounted fee. The Patient Forum, the email listserv, OMF’s novel Warrior fundraising platform and other IT tools in use all leverage publicly available technology such as Ning, ConstantContact, Click and Pledge and Razoo, among others. The cost to “run” OMF is relatively miniscule compared to other non-profit organizations that pay for full-time employees and host large fundraising galas. From a personnel standpoint, the current OMF Chairman has never received any compensation from the organization he helped to start and the few people that OMF does have working for it are all part-time, 1099 contractors.

A 501(c)(3) Public Charity as defined by Section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of the IRC, OMF works with Rogers & Company for accounting and control functions, including the filing of its 990 documents with the IRS. 

Breakdown of OMF Expenses

Since its inception in 2003, OMF has raised typically $150,000-$300,000 per year. Often these funds come from patients, their friends and their family with additional sponsorship checks coming from supporters like Castle Biosciences, typically coming concurrently with hosting of an EANA Retreat.

Given OMF has zero full-time employees, we are able to put most of this money to work funding research through our research program and patient support programs like TAG and PAP. In the years when we host an Eye Am Not Alone (EANA) retreat, the average budget for that, which is offered at no cost to patients, is around $40,000.

We are often asked, though, ‘Where has the money gone?’  So, here’s an easy to digest breakdown:
OMF is proud that even as a small organization we have a 5% fundraising expense ratio (meaning the dollars spent fundraising divided by the dollars actually raised) and a 23% fundraising + G&A expense ratio. Many comparable organizations spend much more.
You can view our IRS documentation here.