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If a store asks you to donate, it should know where the cash goes

October 18, 2013|By David Lazarus

It's a common enough request: A store asks if you'd like to make a small donation to aid some charitable cause.

Andrea says her husband was recently shopping at a Pavilions supermarket, where he was asked if he cared to make a donation for breast cancer research. He asked where exactly the money goes.

The cashier, Andrea says, was at a loss to provide an answer, but she thinks customers are entitled to that.

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I agree. So I put the question to a spokesman for Safeway, which owns Pavilions. He told me that the Safeway Foundation has donated more than $119 million for breast cancer research over the last 11 years. All money raised at the company's stores is donated.

Contributions from Pavilions customers, the spokesman said, are part of the company's Vons Foundation, which has raised more than $2 million in the last year alone. Money is donated to such organizations as City of Hope and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

No one expects company employees to know every last detail of a business' philanthropic activities. But knowing at least a little something would seem prudent.

For more, check out today's Ask Laz video.

If you have a consumer question, email me at or contact me via Twitter @Davidlaz.

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