Report: Locks of Love Can’t Account For $6.6 Million Worth of Donated Hair

The prominent charity is tangled in scandal.

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Locks of Love is tangled in scandal. According to a new report from watchdog group Nonprofit Investor (NPI), the West Palm Beach-based charity–which collects human hair to make custom-fitted hair prosthesis for children suffering from medical hair loss–can’t account for $6 million worth of follicle donations.

Here’s how it breaks down. Every year, says NPI, LoL gets enough hair to make 2,080 wigs. That number is based on estimates LoL representatives shared with media outlets in the past about how it gets 104,000 donations a year, roughly 20% of which are suitable for repurposing, due to issues with length and coloring.

Yet, in 2011, Locks of Love made just 317 of its natural hairpieces. That leaves 1,763 hairpieces unaccounted for, which NPI values at $6.6 million, based on manufacturing costs and retail value of other natural hair wigs.

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When NPI showed LoL those findings earlier this year, the charity stated that it “does not count, catalogue nor maintain lists of hair donations,” as NPI founded Kent Chao explained on Forbes.com. In response to the published report, LoL President Madonna Coffman told ABC News: “I don’t know what the purpose would be to count hair donations. We made 317 that year because we had 317 requests. Some of the donated hair is sold to finance the making of its custom wigs. The unused hair stays in inventory until a request comes in.”

NPI has since started a Reddit chat for past and potential donors, recommending they ask specifically about how their hair will be used. Other organizations that accept donated hair include Wigs for KidsChildren with Hair LossPantene Beautiful Lengths, and Wigs 4 Kids, though LoL—whose celebrity donors include Russell Crowe, Ann Curry, and Portia de Rossi—has always been the most prominent.

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26 comments
JuanitaMartinez
JuanitaMartinez

I don't understand why people are so upset. Where do you think LoL gets the money to make the wigs? They need money and they have more hair than wig requests so they sell it! Your hair really did go to a good cause. By the way, your hair was FREE, it grew and is still growing on it's own. You don't have to donate it, but it didnt cost you anything either, except maybe postage if you mailed it in, but some salons will take care of it for you.

TyGre
TyGre

They are evil.

I have been donating to locks of love for over 10+ years.

To be told and then read on this makes me sick

What about all those children.

I sent them over 24 inches just 2 yrs ago.

I am able to donate hair every two years.

I have always made sure it was very long and

Never colored or any chemicals used on it.

I met a lady getting her first mammogram and ultrasound on Sunday with very long hair to her butt I said to her " Ever donate your hair to locks of love " she said yes she was until this report was sent to her.

She send me a copy of this report.

I cried as did she when I was reading it out loud

Even the Staff at this women Center started to cry along with us.

3 ladies who work there said they have donated hair as long as I've been 10+ years along with the other girl with hair down pastor but it really upset us for that somebody can be so evil.

We are helping CHILDREN WITH CANCER 1 lady added. And said without them her little girl who had cancer at age 8 would of never had the wig that lots of love donated to her that was 15 years ago.

That mother said after that time she started to donate her hair every two years along with her husband and two other children.

I pray who ever sold that hair goes to HELL.

sdjdude
sdjdude

Please don't be naive to this scandal. Are you truly believing that in America only 317 children that are suffering from hair loss have tried to get a free wig from the Biggest name "free hair" company in our country?  And if so SHAME on those parents for not making the effort! After my hair cut (intended for donation) I spent some time researching other companies and have found quite a few options. There is even a program through the Matter Of Trust organization called the Clean Wave program that will take even small clippings to help clean up oil spills (since hair naturally collects oil). 

FOR THE RECORD I AM A REPUBLICAN...NOT A LIBERAL, OR A HIPPY, but we all could stand to better ourselves by giving to those less fortunate! Realistically ANY act of kindness comes from selfishness whether we like it or not! It makes us feel good to help others; and if it didn't why would we do it??? Why criticize and shame others for wanting a small certificate to remind themselves they did something good? People don't you all have better things to do?

TyGre
TyGre

MichaelHarris2 I have donated to locks of love for over 10 years probably 15 years and it's always been anywhere from 23 inches to 26 inches long.

Being told this at a women Center for breast cancer or uterine cancer just a women center only to hear this from a girl that had hair pastor but that she has always donated to locks of love she told me after I asked her do you donate your hair to you to locks of love she said never again after what happened.

I cut my hair before I had back surgery so my hair was able to go to a child.

I wanted to make sure it was Virgin hair.

How can anyone take from a child with Cancer??

Shame on them.

By the way I am not a Democrat or Republican I'm a grandmother who is a grandparent advocate for Children.

Here is something I'll be talking about an great details to legislators, democrats and Republicans, governors and congressmen.

As I say a child can not vote,

So I represent the children of America and the children of the world.

JuanitaMartinez
JuanitaMartinez

@TyGre Nobody took anything away from any child here. You should ask yourself if you are just looking for something to be angry about because it makes you feel good. You should ask yourself whether you are jumping to conclusions just so you can raise a big ruckus and get attention from people. You should ask yourself whether you, yourself, are taking the attention away from children who need these wigs, and need the financial support that comes from selling the excess hair. You should ask yourself whether you should stop making a donation because it seems to me you want something in return for it, and you shouldn't because a donation is a selfless gift.

MichaelHarris2
MichaelHarris2

Sounds like to me the news trying to make something out of nothing. It says they cant account for the donations, but also says they don't count the donations, they sell some of the hair and keep an inventory for when a request comes in. It states that they had 317 requests for wigs and made 317 wigs....which mean the rest of the donated hair is waiting for a request. It is freely given hair it isn't as if they are hiding money.

crystalrob
crystalrob

My Daughter and I are so poor , we had to borrow gas money to get to the salon to have her never been cut, or  processed, beautiful blond hair , that was past the back of her knees, cut and sent to Lol. I wanted to sell it to do some things for my child. She wanted to make another child feel good. so for her 8th birthday we did it. after 60days they didn't send her the little certificate to acknowledge her donation. I emailed and called several times, they say they separate the hair and certificate so they don't know if they got it or not . REALLY ! So who sold it, them or the salon that cut it. even they said it was worth a lot. Lol cant be bothered to acknowledge a kid who so much wanted to do a good deed. It has now been 90 days and nothing !!! How hard was it to put her name on a mass produced certificate  ?    It will never happen again, and I will encourage everyone I meet not to donate.

ChristopherBashline
ChristopherBashline

@freedomchild82 @crystalrob

ur post is disgusting.  her CHILD wanted to be acknowledged.  an 8 year old child chose helping over her own needs.  i think she deserves an award, dont u?


sdjdude
sdjdude

@crystalrob 

Please don't let this scandal from LOL stray you from a good deed! There are other places to donate...please check out the Need To Know website and their write up from Valorie Delp about your options. They list many others and give a brief summary on each company. This is still a good thing! I recently grew my hair out for 4 1/2 years just to donate and I'm so glad I found out about the scandal before I sent it in. I'm a 35 yr old natural blonde who hasn't seen her natural color since I was 11. It was VERY important for me to do this at least once before I start greying.

freedomchild82
freedomchild82

@crystalrob Did you donate to get a certificate that you could show off that you donated and to make yourself feel good or did you donate to help others? If you donated to help others... a certificate should not even be needed. True charity is when you do it expecting nothing in return.

TyGre
TyGre

It was nice to read a little girl wanted to help another child.

I bet it was sold to anyone.

I have been told every time I have my long hair cut how

Much that hair is worth because I how long it is I don't let the salon send it in I keep it and mail it myself certified mail.

I am making sure not another person I know sends them no more hair.

Shame shame - God KNIWS who you are to sale a child hair, shame shame

TyGre
TyGre

Amen - Christopher

TyGre
TyGre

Freedomchild82 - you make me sick.

What makes a dumb a** say such a comment like that when a child is donating for another child you're one sick SOB.

I bet you have never helped a child in any way.

You need to apologize to that eight-year-old little girl.

She was a ANGEL IN MY EYES.

She ROCKS - GOD BLESS HER

PattyMulcahy-Jones
PattyMulcahy-Jones

@crystalrob You could have just gone online and printed out the certificate if it meant that much to you. I believe just teaching your daughter that helping others is a selfless thing and the certificate is not as important as knowing she helped someone. If you were concerned about if LOL got the hair then you should have mailed it yourself. I understand about not having gas money and you thinking of selling the hair. I am sure in a few years once her hair has grown back out you can do just that.

AmyPfeffer
AmyPfeffer

Finally! It's about time our media turned its attention on the tonsorial-industrial complex! We've labored under their tyranny for too long! My hair is my own and I refuse to be bullied into surrendering it to the greedy so-called charities with their constant pestering and hectoring. They become fat on the tresses I worked hard to grow and its time we all stood up to them! NO HAIR FOR FAT CATS!

memphistime39
memphistime39

Finally, this will be exposed as the ginormous SCAM that it is.  People want to donate hair because it's free to grow and give away.    Maybe it's time to dig a little deeper and give real donations to real charities.  

kittylover.jessica
kittylover.jessica

"Real donations to real charities", huh?  Because if LoL is a scam, then ALL the companies that use hair to make wigs for children or people with cancer who need them must be as well, right?  I am assuming since you made the comment about people wanting to give hair because it's free, you are referring to monetary donations when you say "real" donations.  Some people do not have the financial means to do this, and desperately want to give back, anyhow...and their donations, whether or not the company turns out to be a scam (which they did NOT know at the time), are no less "real" than others.  I think we should be encouraging charity in general, not giving away money to feel good about yourself.

TyGre
TyGre

@Memphistime39

Are you joking please?

When you have a family or friend with a child with Cancer. You would lay down to give them all your blood if need be.

By the Way my blood type is AB negative

so as I said I would lay down to give my blood for a child what I have done and keep doing.

I am a grandparent advocate and been doing it for 15 years for free.

Would never take a penny from any grandparent and for sure never from a child.

Wow

JenniferAtack
JenniferAtack

They didn't lose anything.  They throw it out.  You also should investigate their monetary donations and how they are used.