Certainly the Susan G. Komen Foundation has apologized today, but it appears it is a nonapology apology, as we usually see in the political arena, especially from those on the right wing.  They’re sorry they got caught, but they promised to continue to fund the Planned Parenthood grant they already promised to fund, and as they are contractually obligated.  Indeed (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) Komen claims they will allow Planned Parenthood the chance to apply for future grants.  Gosh!  Crisis over! 

Let’s make sure we have this straight.  Komen, the organization that has succeeded in fetishizing the color pink to such an extent that it reaps benefits from the sales of pink guns and pink shotgun shells (THAT’S healthy!), has betrayed corporate sponsors and donors by making a politically-based decision to defund Planned Parenthood under the cover of claiming they merely meant to defund organizations “under investigation.”  So, did they defund Penn State?  Evidently the investigations at Penn State aren’t politically motivated enough for Komen to go after that grant. 

What has betraying those sponsors and donors wrought?  The Susan G. Komen brand is dragging in the mud, and the reason for that is entirely on the shoulders of those at the Susan G. Komen Foundation who made the decisions to cause this crisis.  The pink ribbon is very dirty now.  Who is hurt?  Certainly the women Komen could have helped, whether through screenings or cancer research, are harmed by the decisions of the executives and board of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  Those who donated to Komen, whether through corporate sponsorship or through participating in a “Race for the Cure,” (this expensive litigation by Komen does NOTHING towards a “cure.“)are also harmed, because they will never know now whether the funds they donated will be subject to political maneuverings.  That’s the real problem here. 

So, what’s the “Cure” that will save the Susan G. Komen Foundation?  Get rid of the incompetents.  It seems obvious now, based on this investigative piece in The Atlantic, that the President of the Susan B. Komen Foundation, Elizabeth Thompson, and the Vice President, Karen Handel, are directly responsible for this crisis and for the severe damage to the Susan G. Komen brand.  That’s serious incompetence. 

People donate to an nonprofit organization because of trust that the organization will do good, not based on political reasons, but based on the best science out there.  Elizabeth Thompson and Karen Handel have damaged the Komen brand to such an extent it is hard to grasp whether Komen will ever recover the trust that they will follow such a standard of nonpartisanship.  They have created more harm than ever has been created within the Komen organization, and demonstrably, more harm than has hit any major nonprofit in the United States.  I can only recall one controversy as large to hit a major nonprofit in the US in my lifetime, and that was when the American Red Cross suffered distrust over their stewardship of the blood supply back in the 1990’s.  How did the Red Cross handle that crisis?  They cleaned house at the top.  That’s what the Susan G. Komen Foundation needs to do.  Elizabeth Thompson and Karen Handel need to go, as they were intimately involved in directing this decision, which is threatening to completely destroy the Komen brand.  And Nancy Brinker, who is listening to her PR folks waaaaaay too much, needs to stand up and assure the donors to the Komen Foundation that politics will never get in the way of fighting breast cancer ever again.  Ever again.  Cancer does not work along political lines, and neither should fighting cancer.

Fat chance any of that will happen.  So redirect your dollars, folks.  The American Cancer Society does good work, as does Planned Parenthood, in protecting women’s lives, and there’s not any political agenda within either of those groups besides the protection of women’s lives.

17 Responses to The “Cure” for the Susan G. Komen Foundation

  1. Lisa Mux says:

    “People donate to an nonprofit organization because of trust that the organization will do good, not based on political reasons, but based on the best science out there. ”


  2. Steven Reynolds says:

    Thanks Lisa, your comments mean a lot to me. I used to work in nonprofits, and I know this field. Indeed, I met the person who was put in charge of American Red Cross after their disastrous problem with the blood supply back in the 90’s. She was a highly political name — Elizabeth Dole — but didn’t impose that politics on the organization.

  3. Kay Gardner says:

    Steven, you have really nailed it here. So much is going to come to light in the days to come about what this Corporation has and has not done with its millions of pink dollars. I’m hoping THIS is what we see on the Nightly News Tonight, and not the “YAY YAY” mindless cheerleading we’ve seen thus far. You’ve pushed the envelope, and done it concisely and convincingly. Excellent job. As one who has had the disease, I never have cared much for ‘pink’, especially when only 20% goes to ‘research’ and that means Big Pharma. Thank you !

    • Steven Reynolds says:

      I don’t have much problems with dollars going to big Pharma, Kay. I just want those dollars to go wherever based on the best available science, whether that be toward prevention or research towards a cure. I suspect Komen is topheavy with management. Why else would management have the time to think about politics rather than how best to allocate money for a cure? That blame goes to the Board as well as to Thompson.

  4. Steven Reynolds says:

    My family has have been involved with Women’s Way in the past. We have given substantial time and money to the organization. We are now in Wisconsin and no longer affiliated, but I will note their response to this issue:


  5. Steven Reynolds says:

    It seems clear that Komen was thinking of defunding Planned Parenthood since at least November, if one reads between the lines about their hiring of Ari Fleischer, long-time critic of Planned Parenthood, as a consultant to hire their last VP of External Relations. http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/02/03/418797/exclusive-ari-fleischer-komen-planned-parenthood/

    I suspect there is a link between the Rep. in Florida who is “investigating” Planned Parenthood and the Komen organization. It’d be interesting to find that out.

  6. Woodeye says:

    Foundation management “We can’t morally justify trying to save the lives of women afflicted with cancer and then pay Planned Parenthood to kill babies”
    Liberal donors “How dare you tell us we can’t kill babies, we’ll stop donating to you altogether”
    Foundation management “OK, sorry, go kill the unborn”
    Liberals ” alright time to write another story about those evil conservatives, hey is there a pre-abortion test we can run to determine if the baby leans right or left?”

  7. Steven Reynolds says:


    Foundation Management: Let’s defund Planned Parenthood so as to appease the extreme right wing whackjobs, but let’s make sure our donors don’t find out.

    All Donors: We’ve always expected you to be honest about where money is going, and you have now shown blatant dishonesty. Bye, bye donations.

    Foundation: Let’s pretend to back down without doing so one little bit and see if the media and donors are fooled.

    Donors: We’re not fooled, not if you’ve got Ari Fleischer clearly helping you to work this entire strategy. No honesty, no money.

    • Woodeye says:

      Donor: I can’t defend killing babies so I should start name calling, you harelip liar

      Foundation: You are going to accuse me of dishonesty?
      What is Planned Parenthood being investigated for?

      Donor: just because they illegally used federal funds to kill babies doesn’t make them dishonest

      Foundation: sorry, I forgot that all liberals are hypocrits

  8. Steven Reynolds says:

    Will someone admit to doing a “Bisbee” with coffee? That’s named after Karen Bisbee in my third grade class, who was famous for shooting milk out her nose when suddenly enticed to laugh.

  9. Kim says:

    From what I understand Planned P-hood wasn’t using the money for mammograms that Komen intended it for, shouldn’t they have the right to stop funding without all the “political” rhetoric?
    The way this has been politicized, a good organization has probably lost supporters from both sides.
    its a shame, but I’ll continue to donate

    • gnarlytrombone says:

      wasn’t using the money for mammograms that Komen intended it for

      It’s really sickening when a organization purportedly devoted to women’s health spreads misinformation like this.

      According to Komen’s own literature, mammography is not recommended for women under 40, and clinical breast exams are the best screening procedure for that age group. As Planned Parenthood overwhelmingly serves women under 40, purchasing mammography equipment for every clinic would therefore be a criminally stupid use of funds, right? It’s also no different from initial screenings at any other a typical medical clinic, with referrals for mammography as needed.

      But in it’s desperation, Komen has now disseminated the idea that breast cancer screening is incomplete without mammography. That is completely effing irresponsible and reprehensible.

      BTW, here’s what Komen said of Planned Parenthood in June of last year:

      During the past five years, Komen Affiliate grants to Planned Parenthood have funded 139,000 clinical breast exams and nearly 5,000 mammograms, enabling the detection of 177 breast cancers. … As long as there is a need for health care for vulnerable populations, Komen will fund the facilities that can best meet those needs.

  10. Robin Eublind says:

    It’s not so much that Komen Foundation management has betrayed the trust of donors, but they have instead exposed themselves as the rabidly partisan entity that they truly are.
    Paying out over one million donor dollars per year to litigate their claim to a word and a color. Did they trademark the color blue for prostate cancer as well?
    Seems like the Komen Foundation will have to put their pink ribbons through a couple of ‘spin’ cycles to try to regain lost ground. But keep in mind that there is no perpetual stream of money to be made in “the cure”.

  11. marblex says:

    This is how the right wing co-opts everything that is good and turns it to shit.

  12. Kim says:

    You people are incredible, you crucify an organization that does great work fighting a terrible disease because they dare to call out an organization they fund for not utilizing the funds in the manner it was intended.
    You all want to Komen liars and dishonest for even thinking about renegging on an offer to provide funds, yet you bend over backwards making excuses for Planned Parenthood despite their obvious dishonesty.

    • Steven Reynolds says:

      Kim, Komen didn’t call out Planned Parenthood for anything but being the victim of a political witch hunt. If you can document dishonesty by Planned Parenthood, coming from anything but an unbiased source, feel free.

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