Amidst all the discussion this week about Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s decision to no longer fund breast cancer screening and other breast-health services through grants to Planned Parenthood, the fact that the organization itself is wasteful and misleading has been lost as both the pro-life and pro-choice camps try to score points.
In 2010, the last year for which Susan G. Komen for the Cure released an annual report, total gross revenue (all dollar values have been rounded to the nearest million; all percents to the nearest tenth) was $421 million. They chose to spend those funds as follows:
- Direct benefits to donors and sponsors – $20 million (4.8%)
- Research – $75 million (17.8%)
- Education – $141 million (33.5%)
- Screening – $47 million (11.2%)
- Treatment – $20 million (4.8%)
- General administration – $41 million (9.7%)
- Fundraising costs – $36 million (8.5%)
- Change in net assets – $41 million (9.7%)
Or, stated a bit differently:
- Running Susan G. Komen for the Cure – $97 million (23.0%)
- Putting more money in Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s coffers – $41 million (9.7%)
- Telling people about breast cancer – $141 million (33.5%)
- Looking for breast cancer using proven methods – $47 million (11.2%)
- Treating breast cancer using existing methods – $20 million (4.8%)
- ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR “THE CURE” – $75 million (17.8%)
Regardless of whether you lauded Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s decision and saw it as a win for the pro-life movement, immediately donating to show your support:
On a Thursday conference call Nancy Brinker, the founder and CEO of the Komen Foundation, told reporters that the organization is “singularly focused” on combating breast cancer, and that the politics of the decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood has been distracting from their mission.
Nevertheless, since cutting ties, Brinker announced that Komen’s donations have gone up in the last two days — by 100 percent.
“Our donations are up 100 percent in the past two days. With all of the emotion around these issues — which we understand, we get emotional too, we do this every single day of our lives,” Brinker said, explaining that they do not make decisions to be popular, they make them to fight cancer.
Or whether you come from the opposite camp and have made a donation to Planned Parenthood simply to make a statement against Susan G. Komen for the Cure:
By Wednesday afternoon, Planned Parenthood had received more than $400,000 in donations from 6,000 people, plus an additional $250,000 gift to their newly launched Breast Health Emergency Fund from Dallas philanthropist Lee Fikes and his wife, Amy, The Washington Post reported. The women’s health organization usually receives 100 to 200 donations per day.
“People respond powerfully when they see politics interfering with women’s health,” Planned Parenthood spokesman Tait Sye told the Washington Post. “That’s why we’ve seen a tremendous outpouring of support.”
On Thursday afternoon, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that he would personally match, dollar for dollar, the next $250,000 raised by Planned Parenthood, the New York Times reported.
“Politics have no place in health care,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Breast cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way.”
The important thing to remember is that every charity is susceptible to the kind of “oversight” currently occurring at Susan G. Komen for the Cure. If you truly believe in saving children from abortion, then making a political statement by donating to a behemoth like Komen serves no purpose. As I have written before, it makes more sense to find a local charity that aligns with your beliefs, especially one that has low operating costs. The same is true for those who believe in providing health care for uninsured women. And, for the record, those two things need not be mutually exclusive. For example, I just came across the following organization in my area with low operating costs (4.4%) that provides cancer screenings and does not perform abortions. I would like to suggest that both sides make donations to such organizations rather than to Planned Parenthood or Susan G. Komen for the Cure if the issue truly is women’s health.