Does Armstrong's Disgrace Spell Doom for Livestrong?

As far as raising money for cancer research and awareness goes, the Livestrong Foundation is a pretty big fish; the organization has given $470 million to cancer education and research since its inception in 1997. With Livestrong's namesake taking a colossal fall from his once beyond-reproach perch, one would think that his Foundation would take an equally massive tumble. Well, one would be wrong — so far anyway.

Before Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France medals and banned from the sport that had catapulted him to celebrity status, the Livestrong Foundation received an average of $3,000 a day in online donations. On the day the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) made the announcement that it was stripping Armstrong of his medals, the Foundation received $80,000 in donations. It may have been a tough day for Armstrong, but it was a banner day for his Foundation.

Armstrong has raucously denied doping allegations and has blatantly refused to accept the USADA's punishment. This may be a form of denial for Lance, but there is no denying that his supporters are at least continuing their commitment to the fight against cancer through Livestrong. Not only do individual donors continue to stand behind Armstrong, but his sponsors like Nike and Oakley have announced that they still believe in the cyclist and will continue to support his cancer cause. Of course, nothing was said about his endorsement deals. We all know what happened to Tiger Woods endorsements, and it's not like he was accused of doping to enhance his golf game. 

Experts say there is just no telling how Armstrong's fall from grace is going to affect the Foundation in the long-term, and they caution donors to judge the charity, not the man. Livestrong continues to have a stellar reputation among charitable foundations. It donates 82% of its revenue to funding for cancer research and treatment programs. Heck, Livestrong has earned a reported $500 million one dollar at a time with those annoying bright yellow rubber bracelets. If it can do that, surely it can figure out how to weather this storm. 

On the downside, Lance Armstrong had negotiated a million dollar deal with the World Triathlon Corporation to compete in upcoming events prior to the USADA's lifetime ban. The million dollars was to be paid out to the Livestrong Foundation. So far, the Foundation has received $250,000; but since the lifetime ban includes triathlons, there's no word so far as to whether Livestrong will see the remaining $750,000.