Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Komen Conundrum

The Susan G. Komen foundation is in a conundrum. They support women breast cancer support, research, treatments and care. To do that they have to provide research money to organizations, like Planned Parenthood of America (PPA) and institutions researching advanced and alternative cures, like stem-cell research. Those efforts are supported by the many people and groups who provide funds to the foundation.

But the politics is where the foundation is having problems. Some of the financial and vocal benefactors, like the Catholic Church and the religious conservatives, don't like the foundation supporting the efforts of those organizations and institutions the foundation supports, like PPA.

This is why religious, conservatives in the leadership decided to withdraw funding to PPA for 2013 and beyond, and I wouldn't be surprised if they subtely threatened institutions doing "controversial' research too. We know in the backlash PPA brought in over $3 Million compared to the $770K the foundation promised and withdrew.

As we know now the foundation stepped back a little by not denying the grant to PPA next year, but then not promising money either, a political misstep disguised as a sidestep. And now one senior, vocal anti-abortion proponent resigned over the issue. But several more like her are still there, and that's the conundrum.

The foundation wants to help women with breast cancer prevention, screening, treatment and cure, through its events. But we now know it is embedded with senior leadership people who hate women's right to choice for the reproductive healthcare. That has nothing to do with breast cancer under their own mission.

No one is arguing the foundation has the right to change their mind with who gets their money, but no one also can aruge that women have the right not to give to the foundation or participate in their events. The question is if the foundation can focus on what's important to them, effectively jettisoning their interest to wander into other issues, including removing people with political agendas for those issues.

That's their conundrum, to survive they have to focus on their mission and argue against their political critics and not their financial critics. It's about the money, don't piss off the donors. If they don't I think the head of NOW is right, the foundation will be much smaller and less important in 3-5 years.

1 comment:

  1. I have to add to the mix that Komen was objectionable in other ways before this - it's just that the subject matter made them more or less immune to public criticism. I mean, who could possibly be against curing breast cancer?

    Well, perhaps the Susan G. Komen foundation, for one, an organization that, despite the slogan "for the cure", the Foundation spends relatively little of the money on research into curing anything (20%). In fact, the majority of funds they raise go to other things. About 39% goes to 'education' - which appears to be mostly materials promoting the Susan G Komen Foundation, administrative costs(read: massive executive salaries) are 11.3% while treatment is only 5 percent of their budget.

    Komen also spends money suing other charities. Not good. They really needed a comeuppance, I think. And while nobody has a higher profile than Komen, there are plenty of other charities that do ACTUAL good things, rather than just promoting themselves.