$6 Million in Hair Missing: Donated Hair Unaccounted For

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
May 15, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

$6 million in hair missing: Nonprofit Locks of Love, which makes hairpieces for needy kids with medical issues that lead to hair loss, produced many fewer hairpieces than it should have.

First, 80 percent of the hair that the nonprofit receives can’t be used because of reasons including it’s too short, too gray, or too wet.

But the 20 percent that can be used should of produced 2,080 hairpieces every year, according to an investigation by Nonprofit Investor. Instead, for the year examined, 2011, only 317 hairpieces were made. Locks of Love disclosed $572,997 worth of hair on its 2011 income tax return.

That makes $6 million in hair missing and unaccounted for, since each wig is worth between $3,500 and $6,000 in retail value. 

Locks of Love didn’t directly answer what had happened to the hair. 

In a statement from President Madonna Coffman obtained by Business Insider, the organization said: “To our knowledge we are the only organization that provides a vacuum fitted, custom prosthesis, as opposed to ‘wig’” that can be mass produced and inventoried until needed. False claims based on inaccuracies, fabrications or assumptions will not interfere with our commitment to these families.”

The organization told Nonprofit Investor that it “does not count, catalogue nor maintain lists of hair donations. It also does not count the unused hair, which it sells.

“It is unclear to NPI how it is possible for Locks of Love to sell more than half a million dollars worth of hair without knowing the quantity of hair sold,” Nonprofit Investor said in its report.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.