Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Giving to Susan G. Komen for the Cure

I’ll be watching you Susan G. Komen for the Cure and you’d better behave!
by Charlie Leck

Nancy Brinker took home $417,000 2010 in 2010. I’m sure she’s a nice lady and maybe she deserves the money; but lately I’m having my doubts. Should the CEO of a charitable organization committed to raising funds for cancer research be making that much money? I really don’t know! You decide!

Ms. Brinker is the sister of Susan G. Komen and she founded Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Since we have some girls who’ve been participating in some of the Komen walks and races, we’ve been writing out generous checks to the Komen organization lately. After the last couple of weeks I’ve been caused to wonder if I should continue doing that.

Ms. Binker also flies first-class when she travels. That’s probably not important, but add it into all the other stuff that’s going on and it causes me to wonder.

Last week, Ms. Binker directed her non-profit to cut off funds that it had been supplying to Planned Parenthood (PP). Oh, my! What a furor that caused! They changed directions when thousands of their donors threatened to stop being donors. So now, PP is eligible for grants again. That’s not saying they’ll get any. We’ll have to watch.

I’ve been a supporter of PP for years – long before there was a Susan G. Komen organization.

And, that’s only the beginning of the story. Yesterday, Karen Handel resigned from Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Ms. Handel, a Republican conservative, was a candidate for governor in Georgia and made the recommendation at Komen to cut off funds to PP. The rationale for parting with PP was that the organization was under investigation in Congress. PP is a lightning rod for conservatives because it, among its many services, provides legal abortions. Conservatives in Congress wanted to make sure public funds were not being used to support or sponsor abortions. It’s apparent that the Komen organization was not getting contributions among very conservative Catholics because of their ties to PP.

The decision about PP, however, caused great concern among moderates and liberals and they have been strong supporters of Komen in the past. The organization faced a great conundrum and that forced the decision to cut ties with the lady from Georgia.

A lot of this has bothered me, but it’s only the beginning of the troubles I see in the Komen organization. Ms. Binker’s salary and travel style is another problem I have. Before I give more money to the organization, I’ll need to see some streamlining of their organization and some changes in salary scales.

In fairness, a Washington Post article points out that the top executives at the Boy Scouts, the United Way, and Easter Seals all make more than Ms. Binker. Does that make it okay? Or, are these other organizations also paying way too much?

There are fifty executives at Komen making over 100,000 dollars each. Over? How much over?

Here’s Komen’s 2009 tax return. It shows several executives earning above 200,000 dollars and as high as 450,000 dollars. Maybe that’s okay. I don’t know. Just makes me shaky about giving the organization more money. It makes one wonder just how much actually goes to cancer research.

It’s worth it, I think, to take a close look at Susan G. Kommen – the non-profit!

In an article on AlterNet, Sarah Seltzer says: “Komen is not the true champion of women’s health many thought it was…”

To start with, Komen has a “strong connection to Republican politics.” I’m not sure what that means, but I plan to find out. Handel (now gone) is a strong tea party gal. However, the ties to Republican extremists does not stop there.

Komen has for years led strong lobbying efforts against common-sense health care bills. Wait a minute here! I’m advocating stronger health care bills like crazy and giving money to the Susan G. Komen Fund at the same time. This doesn’t make sense.

And, mind you, we are only now seeing the tip of the iceberg. Lots of nosey sons-of-a-guns are taking much closer looks at the Susan G. Komen organization. I’m very interested to see what they find.

It all makes me sad. I’ve been proud of the girls and their efforts to raise money for Komen in these runs and these three-day walks in which they’ve been involved.

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1 comment:

  1. I'm with you. Very disappointed at the turn of events. Breast cancer has hit our family and getting a cure is important to me. I'll be looking at alternatives.