Our Daily Dread: A great cause, a great idea … but are the Dodgers setting the bar too low on ThinkCure?

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The Dodgers announced the other day that the recent “ThinkCure” telethon on radio, TV and the Internet raised $240,776. That “shatters” (according to the press release) the first-year mark of $166,485 in its efforts to raise money for cancer research at City of Hope and Childrens Hospital L.A.

Team execs had set the goal of raising $200,000 for this year’s event — a modest 20 percent increase by any matrix used in these difficult money times. That said, it was promoted heavily on their flagship radio station, another FM radio station, two TV stations and a couple of websites that involved auction items up for grabs.

Yet, included in the money raised last weekend was a $25,000 donation by Dodger pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, $25,000 from commissioner Bud Selig on behalf of Major League Baseball, and $1,000 each from former Dodgers Don Newcombe and Eric Karros.

Which suggests that, from everything coming in from the fans’ side, the number was closer to $188,000.

Again, a nobel effort. But in the grand cause of things, does that really sound like something that could be easily generated from a team that attracts more than 3 1/2 million fans to the stadium each season? If you do the math there, what does that average out to — less than a couple of dimes each person in the bucket?

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What if the Dodgers had asked everyone who showed up to last Wednesday night’s home game, when they gave out Matt Kemp bobbleheads, to simply donate $5 a pop.

That would have raised more than $250,000 right there.

Manny Ramirez could shake $200,000 out of his sliding shorts.

According to the team, ThinkCure has generated $2.5 million since 2007. But most of that came from $1 million raised (from the sale of more than 115,000 tickets) when the Dodgers played the Red Sox in an exhibition game at the Coliseum in March, 2008; the McCourt family then matched that to make it to $2 million. The other $500,000 has come mostly from the first two fundraisers.

Granted, $240,000 in donations for any cause these days is nothing to return in these economic times. It’s a 44 percent increase from last year — which looks great after having lower expectations.

Maybe these Dodger fans aren’t plugged into the concept yet. Maybe they don’t think auctions are things they are things they’re used to participating in — people who’ve never tried one can find it intimidating, even if folks are more eBay savvy now. Those are the folks who are used to raising money through car washes and bake sales.

Maybe the problem is there isn’t enough real publicity reaching the fans on this to make it a “must-participate” event yet?

But considering all the publicity it had, what can it be compared to?

Since the McCourt family wants ThinkCure to be for the Dodgers what The Jimmy Fund (linked here) has been for the Boston Red Sox, let’s examine that.

Launched in 1948, The Jimmy Fund has raised more than $500 million over the last 60 years for new cancer treatment. The Red Sox came on board in 1953, with the help of Ted Williams acting as the focal point of raising money.

There is a radio/TV fundraiser component that the Red Sox have use with The Jimmy Fund since 2002. From that, it has raised more than $15 million (linked here)/ The 36-hour event that began Thursday and ends today will likely match the $4.8 million that it brought in from 2008.

This year’s goal: $5 million.

Not $200,000, but $5 million.

Yes, it has about a six-decade head start. Everyone on the East Coast and beyond knows about the Jimmy Fund. There’s a statue outside Fenway Park honoring it. But you don’t raise $5 million without some muscle and star power behind the cause, either.

The Jimmy Fund also has gone far beyond the radio/TV telethon aspect. It has a fund-raising walk, a bike race, an ice cream eating event, a golf tournament, and, maybe the coolest thing, a John Hancock-sponsored event where fans get a chance to hit a ball over the Green Monster at Fenway Park.

The Dodgers haven’t done any of those things yet. In two years, they’ve done only the fund raisers through media saturation. There is plenty of time ahead to implement more to the efforts. A slow launch is probably what the team’s goal is to this point. Still, having been involved in fund raisers on a local level over the last few years, a $200,000 goal really isn’t that difficult to achieve if you put your resources (and Hollywood) behind it.

So, again, to try to put things into perspective, $240,000 is it’s a nice chunk of funding that will help in many ways with the two charities involved. But with some context, there seems to be a lot of chest thumping over an amount that is hardly all that groundbreaking.

Everyone who benefits from the grants written from this amount are thankful. But don’t you think there should have been more to this — not just from donations, but from former big-name Dodgers stepping forward, like Karros and Newcomb.

We wish the ThinkCure luck in its future endeavors for a very worthy cause. We will continue to donate as well. It’s just that it seems they’re selling themselves short.

UPDATE:
Friday, the L.A. Kings announced that their Kings Care Foundation will make a donation of $500,000 to the Blood Donor Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

LA Kings BloodMobilewill serve as a blood drive supply truck to increase the much needed collection of life-saving blood for the most seriously ill and injured children at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

The Kings support of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles dates back nearly a decade. Every season, the team makes a holiday visit to the hospital and last year the Kings also participated in the MyFM Radiothon at CHLA, answering phone calls and taking donations during the radiothon while also contributing $10,000 to the cause.

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