Susan G. Komen (17.8%) for the Cure

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.

Pregnancy Aid Center, A Clinic for Women and Newborns in Maryland


3 thoughts on “Susan G. Komen (17.8%) for the Cure

  1. How does promoting early screenings for breast cancer not constitute a legitmate expense? It’s a well known fact that the earlier any form of cancer is detected, the more likely it is that it will be beaten. Or, to put it another way, the more likely that the cancer patient in question will be cured.

    Criticize the Administrative overhead stuff, perhaps. That’s a problem that many big charities seem to have. But, for me at least, the actual number of legitimate “for the cure” expenses is 67.3%, not 17.8.

  2. Doug’s right that the legit number is more 2/3, rather than 17.8%. Debbie’s still right that giving local is better & Komen sucks. Both left out Komen’s history of trolling smaller charities (even those not related to breast cancer) that have “for the Cure” listed in the name of either the charity or an event they sponsor and threatening legal action (Komen trademarked the phrase.) Komen spends upwards of a million bucks a year bullying other charities, not to mention however much the smaller charities then have to waste defending themselves.

  3. I’m sure that Nancy Brinker and LaSalle Leffall, Jr. both see that all but that 9.7% in General Administration costs are helping them towards their goal of “Ending Breast Cancer Forever.” I doubt we’ll ever get them to see it otherwise. A shame. Especially when you see (in their annual report) that $42 million of their research went to “disparity research” and not to “finding a cure for breast cancer” research.

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