In Wake of Charlottesville, Charities Cancel Fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago

In Wake of Charlottesville, Charities Cancel Fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago

In the wake of President Donald Trump's much-criticized comments about the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, and Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization have joined a growing number of charities that are canceling plans to hold fundraisers at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, the Washington Post reports.

The Salvation Army, which has held a gala at the club every year since 2014, told the Post it would not hold its event at the club this year "because the [national] conversation has shifted away" from its mission of helping those in need. In a statement of its own, the Red Cross said it had decided "we cannot host our annual fundraising event at Mar-a-Lago, as it has increasingly become a source of controversy and pain for many of our volunteers, employees and supporters." Susan G. Komen, which has held its annual "Perfect Pink Party" gala at the club since 2011, likewise said it would seek another venue for the event. And the Autism Project of Palm Beach County, which has held its "Renaissance Dinner" galas at the club every year since at least 2008, told the Post it would no longer hold the event there.

The four charities join others that announced cancellations on Thursday in response to Trump's comments equating the actions of white supremacists and neo-Nazis with those of counter-protesters. They include the Cleveland Clinic, the American Friends of Magen David Adom, and the American Cancer Society, which cited its "values and commitment to diversity" in the announcement of its decision. The exodus of seven of Mar-a-Lago's biggest charity gala customers likely will cost the Trump organization hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in revenue, the Post reports. In the past, the club earned between $100,000 and $275,000 each from similar-sized events.

Even before Charlottesville, seven other groups that frequently held events at Mar-a-Lago — including the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute — had announced plans to seek other venues, citing differences of opinion with the president and security hassles. And the head of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, of which Mar-a-Lago is a member, said she expected more charities to defect.

"The glitter, the shine has gone from the club," said chamber executive director Laurel Baker, "and I can't help but think there will be more fallout from it."

David A. Fahrenthold, Drew Harwell. "Salvation Army, Red Cross, Susan G. Komen Abandon Trump's Mar-a-Lago." Washington Post 08/18/2017. "Statement by the American Red Cross on the 61st International Red Cross Ball." American Red Cross Press Release 08/18/2017. David A. Fahrenthold, Drew Harwell. "Three Fundraising Giants Cancel Plans for Galas at Mar-a-Lago." Washington Post 08/17/2017.