Susan G. Komen for the Cure
|Founded||1982 in Dallas, Texas|
|Founder(s)||Nancy Goodman Brinker|
|Headquarters||5005 LBJ Fwy., Ste. 250
Dallas, TX 75244
901 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
|Key people||Nancy Goodman Brinker (Founder & CEO)
Alexine Clement Jackson (Chairman)
Elizabeth "Liz" Thompson (President)
Dr. Eric P. Winer (Chief Scientific Adviser)
Susan G. Komen for the Cure, formerly known as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, often referred to as simply Komen, is the most widely known, largest and best-funded breast cancer organization in the United States.
Since its inception in 1982, Komen has spent (through 2010) nearly $1.5 billion for breast cancer research, education, advocacy, health services and social support programs in the U.S., and through partnerships in more than 50 countries. Today, Komen has more than 100,000 volunteers working in a network of 124 affiliates worldwide. As of January 11, 2013, Komen is listed on Charity Navigator with their highest rating of four stars. According to the Harris Interactive 2010 EquiTrend annual brand equity poll, Komen is one of the most trusted non-profit organizations in America. However, the organization has been criticized for its use of donor funds, as well as its choice of sponsor affiliations and its role in commercial cause marketing, and its use of misleading statistics in advertising.
Susan Goodman, later Susan Goodman Komen, was born in 1943 in Peoria, Illinois. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33. She died of the disease at age 36 in 1980. Komen's younger sister, Nancy Goodman Brinker, who believed that Susan's outcome might have been better if patients knew more about cancer and its treatment, promised her sister that she would do everything she could to end breast cancer. To fulfill that promise, Brinker founded the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in Komen's memory in 1982.
In 2008, the 25th anniversary of the organization, the name was changed to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and trademarked a new logo in support of its promise "to end breast cancer forever." The new logo is a pink ribbon that resembles a runner in motion and is meant to reflect the importance of Komen's signature Race for the Cure event, which is currently the world's largest fund raising event for breast cancer education and research. The logo symbolically associates the organization with the values of the pink ribbon culture: fear of breast cancer, hope, and the charitable goodness of people and businesses who publicly support the breast cancer movement.
In December 2009 Brinker was appointed CEO of the organization.
Komen advocates for breast self-awareness as a primary method for fighting breast cancer. Komen supports universal screening mammography and breast self-examinations, as well as ever-increasing levels of government spending on diagnosing and treating breast cancer. They promote early detection as the primary tool for preventing breast cancer deaths.
Their response to scientific evidence that the indiscriminate nature of screening mammography for all middle-aged and older women, regardless of each woman's individual risk of developing breast cancer, results in overtreatment of some women whose cancer would regress on its own or would grow so slowly that it would never harm them—for every one woman whose life is saved by screening mammography, between two and ten women will receive completely unnecessary and toxic treatment for a harmless growth, 250 to 500 women will be wrongly told that they might have breast cancer (false positives), and 125 to 250 will have biopsies performed—is to "keep hammering away at our basic message, which is, early detection saves lives".
By contrast, organizations like the National Breast Cancer Coalition follow a medical consumerism model, in which individual women are educated by their physicians about their options and encouraged to make individualized, evidence-based decisions about their health care. Other organizations advocate more research into the environmental causes of breast cancer and cancer prevention.
Use of funds 
In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, ending March 31, 2010, Komen reported approximately US $400 million in earnings. Of this, $365 million (91.3 percent) came from contributions from the public, including donations, sponsorships, race entry fees, and contributed goods and services. Approximately $35 million (8.8 percent) came from interest and dividends and gains on investments.
That same fiscal year, Komen reported approximately US $360 million in expenses. $283.2 million of this went towards program services: $75.4 million (20.9 percent of total expenditure) went to research, $140.8 million (39.1 percent) went to public health education, $46.9 million (13 percent) went to health screening services, and $20.1 million (5.6 percent) went to treatment services. The other $76.8 million went to supporting services, including $36.1 million (10 percent of total expenditure) toward fund-raising costs and $40.6 million (11.3 percent) toward general and administrative costs.
Grants and awards 
Since its foundation in 1982, Komen has provided funding for basic, clinical, and translational breast cancer research and for innovative projects in the areas of breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment. The organization has awarded more than 1,000 breast cancer research grants totaling more than $180 million. Komen adheres to a peer-review process that is recognized by the US National Cancer Institute.
Komen awards three-year postdoctoral fellowships to individuals working under the guidance of experienced cancer researchers in order to recruit and retain young scientists in the field of breast cancer research. In addition to funding research, Komen and its affiliates fund non-duplicative, community-based breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment projects for the medically under-served.
Since 1992, Komen has also annually awarded work in the field of cancer research with the Komen Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction.
In recent years, Komen has cut by nearly half the proportion of fund-raising dollars it spends on research grants, according to a 2012 Reuters analysis. In 2011, the foundation spent $63 million (15 percent) of its donations on research grants and awards. In 2012, WWE formed a partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to promote breast cancer awareness. As part of the campaign, WWE adorned their sets with pink ribbons, put a pink middle rope on the ring, filmed numerous PSAs, and sold special John Cena "Rise Above Cancer" merchandise. All of these efforts culminated in a donation from WWE of $1 Million, which was presented to Susan G. Komen representatives in an in-ring ceremony during the October 29, 2012 episode of Raw.
Global activities 
Around 458,000 people worldwide die from breast cancer every year. Komen for the Cure states that its aim is to "reduce the burden of breast cancer on a global level". Believing that no single approach to breast health will prove effective around the world, Komen works with local communities and organizations to develop programs for particular groups or cultures.
In 2006, Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced their involvement with the US-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research, a Middle East Partnership Initiative program that unites leading breast cancer advocates in the U.S. and the Middle East with the goal increasing early detection of breast cancer and reduce mortality through improved awareness, increased clinical resources, and research.
Today, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is active in over 50 countries with its largest affiliates in Italy and Germany.
On October 28, 2010, Jerusalem, Israel held its first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Over 5,000 Christian, Muslim and Jewish people walked and ran to show solidarity in what was described as a historic event. The main goal of the race was to raise awareness of breast cancer and establish the organization as a permanent fixture in Israel. Prior to the Race the Old City walls of Jerusalem were illuminated pink by Komen founder Nancy G. Brinker, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and the Prime Minister's wife Sara Netanyahu.
Cause marketing 
The Organization raises over $35 million a year from over 60 cause marketing partnerships. These include prominent campaigns, such as those with Yoplait, which runs the Save Lids to Save Lives program, and a partnership with American Airlines.
Cause marketing allows Komen to associate the breast cancer brand with its organization. by promoting the "fear, hope and goodness" associated with the breast cancer brand, Komen is able to promote itself, breast cancer awareness, its sponsoring corporations, and conscientious consumption.
The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is the world's largest fundraising event for breast cancer. It consists of a series of 5K runs and fitness walks to raise money for breast cancer, to raise awareness of the disease, to celebrate those who have survived breast cancer, and memorialize those who have not.
The first race was run in Dallas, Texas in 1983, with 800 participants. The 25th Anniversary of the Race was celebrated in 2008. In 2009, it was renamed as Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. In 2010, there were about 130 races worldwide. Additionally in 2010, over 1.6 million people participated in the race, which utilized over 100,000 volunteers.
The primary source of revenue for the event is donations collected by the participants in the race. Three-quarters of the net proceeds from the event are used locally to pay for community outreach programs, breast health education, and breast cancer screening and treatment projects run by the Komen affiliate. The remaining quarter is sent to the central organization.
Komen's other nationwide events include:
- Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure — a 60-mile walk for women and men: participants walk 60 miles (96.6 km) in three days to help raise millions of dollars for breast cancer research and patient support programs
- Susan G. Komen Marathon for the Cure — a grassroots fundraising program offering fitness enthusiasts the chance to join in the fight against breast cancer by running or walking a full (26.2 mi) or half (13.1 mi) marathon.
- Susan G. Komen Passionately Pink for the Cure — a year-round fundraising and education program allowing participants to choose any date, invite friends, wear pink, have fun and raise money for the cause.
- Susan G. Komen Bowl for the Cure — a year-round fund-raising and breast cancer awareness initiative founded in 2000 and sponsored by USBC and The Bowling Foundation.
Mobile fundraising 
Controversy and criticism 
Pinkwashing in cause marketing 
Komen is a key entity in the controversy over "pinkwashing"—the use of breast cancer and the pink ribbon by corporate marketers, especially to promote products that might be unhealthy—in return for a donation to the cause. Komen benefits greatly from these corporate partnerships, receiving over $55 million a year from two hundred and sixteen corporate sponsors. However, critics say many of these promotions are deceptive to consumers and benefit the companies more than the charity.
Since their Save Lids to Save Lives campaign began in 1998, Yoplait has donated more than $25 million to Komen. In 2010 their annual maximum commitment was raised to $1.6 million. In return, a major sponsor such as Yoplait obtains an exclusive contract; no other yogurt manufacturer (such as Dreyer's, who enquired in 2000) has the opportunity to use the branding.
In 2002, credit card operator American Express launched a "Charge for a Cure" campaign which claimed that "in the search for a cure, every dollar counts." The amount donated per qualifying transaction, regardless of purchase amount, was one penny.
In May 2009, handgun maker Smith and Wesson announced a donation to the Massachusetts affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure of proceeds collected from the sale of the M&P9 JG, "a full-size pistol engraved with the ‘Awareness Ribbon’ on the slide and packaged with two pink grip inserts". The funds donated are to benefit breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment.
In April 2010, Komen paired with fast food restaurant chain KFC to offer "Buckets for the Cure," a promotion in which fried and grilled chicken was sold in pink branded buckets. The collaboration garnered criticism from media outlets including The Colbert Report and Bitch magazine, and raised concerns about the promotion of unhealthy eating habits and obesity. KFC contributed over $4.2 million to Komen, the largest single contribution in the organization's history. The partnership with KFC, which has since ended, allowed Komen "to reach many millions of women that they had been unable to reach before," said Brinker.
In April 2011 Komen introduced its own-brand $60 perfume "Promise Me", complete with promotional appearances by Komen CEO Nancy Brinker on the Home Shopping Network, only to encounter opposition due to coumarin, oxybenzone, toluene and galaxolide as potentially harmful ingredients. Komen stated its intention to have the product reformulated but has refused to withdraw existing stocks of the "Promise Me" product from distribution.
To critics of cause marketing the use of a potentially deadly disease as a marketing vehicle detracts from the original message; in the words of one member of the IV League, a group of terminal (Stage IV) breast cancer patients interviewed in the Léa Pool documentary Pink Ribbons, Inc., "It's like they're using our disease to profit and that's not OK."
Legal battles over trademarking 
In 2007, the organization changed its name to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and trademarked the running ribbon as part of its new branding strategy. Komen has come under fire for legal action against other non-profits or organizations using the phrase "for the cure" within their names. An August 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal detailed a case in which the organization Uniting Against Lung Cancer was told in a letter from Komen that they should no longer use the name "Kites for the Cure" for their annual fundraising event. Komen also wrote to the organization to warn them "against any use of pink in conjunction with 'cure.'" More than 100 small charities have received legal opposition from Komen regarding various uses of the words "for the cure" in their names. Among the offending charitable organizations and events were "Par for the Cure," "Surfing for a Cure," "Cupcakes for a Cure" and "Mush for the Cure".
Komen says that the organization protects its trademarks as a matter of financial stewardship and that they want to prevent confusion among donors. According to former Komen general counsel Jonathan Blum, a mixup could result in a donation being inadvertently sent to another charity.
Others suggest that the trademark issue is more about dominating the pink ribbon market.
The slogan itself implies to donors that the majority of Komen's funds go to research, specifically research to find a means to cure (and not merely treat or detect) the disease.[according to whom?] By Komen's own figures, however, 21% of the total budget goes to research. In the words of one critic, "A organization that is actively pursuing other small charities over the use of the term 'for the cure' does not spend the majority of their own funds towards research for a cure."
Relationship with Planned Parenthood 
Beginning in 2007, Komen granted money to pay for 170,000 clinical breast exams and 6,400 mammogram referrals at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and affiliates. Komen had said its affiliates provide funds for screening, education and treatment programs in dozens of communities in which Planned Parenthood is the only place that poor, uninsured or under-insured women can receive these services. This partnership garnered criticism from pro-life advocates because some Planned Parenthood health centers perform abortions.
On January 31, 2012, Komen stopped funding Planned Parenthood, citing a congressional investigation by Rep. Cliff Stearns and a newly created internal rule about not funding organizations under any federal, state or local investigation. While the move was applauded by conservative religious and pro-life groups, it was denounced by several editorials, liberal advocacy groups, and politicians.
In the 24 hours after the news broke, Planned Parenthood received more than $400,000 from 6,000 donors, followed by pledges of a $250,000 matching grant from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a $250,000 gift from a foundation run by the CEO of Bonanza Oil Co. in Dallas to replace the lost funding.
Four days later, Komen's Board of Directors reversed the decision and announced that it would amend the policy to "make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political". Several top-level staff members resigned from Komen during the controversy. In August, Brinker announced she would leave her CEO role. The number of participants at various Komen fundraising events dropped 15-30% in 2012, compared to the previous year.It is unclear whether this was because of the initial decision to defund Planned Parenthood or the reversal. Karen Handel, the Republican Brinker protégé whose opposition to abortion was at the center of the Planned Parenthood controversy, resigned and has published a book on the controversy titled Planned Bullyhood.
Embryonic stem cell research 
|This section requires expansion. (February 2012)|
Potentially affected are millions of dollars funding cancer research at institutions such as Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the U.S. National Cancer Institute, which also conduct research using embryonic stem cells.
Komen has not clarified its current position on embryonic stem cell research, which it supported in 2006.
See also 
- Gayle A. Sulik (2010). Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women's Health. USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 146–150. ISBN 0-19-974045-3. OCLC 535493589.
- Mcdonald, Karen (2010-01-20). "U.S. House honors Nancy Brinker - Peoria, IL". pjstar.com. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
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- "The NonProfit Times - The Leading Business Publication For Nonprofit Management". Nptimes.com. 2010-03-04. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
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- How the Susan G. Komen Foundation Lost Its Way
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- Breast Cancer: Komen Oversells Mammograms, Doctors Say (ABC News)
- BMJ OpEd Says Komen Ads False
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- "Understanding Breast Cancer | Breast Self-Awareness". Susan G. Komen for the Cure. 2012-10-22. Retrieved 2012-10-26.
- Sulik, 2010. pages 52–53.
- Sulik, 2010. page 131.
- Welch, H. Gilbert; Woloshin, Steve; Schwartz, Lisa A. (2011). Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health. Beacon Press. p. 149. ISBN 0-8070-2200-4.
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- Weiss, Jeffrey (2011-10-06). "Dallas-based Komen for the Cure in a stink over perfume". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2011-03-08.
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- Sulik, Gayle (2010-12-20). "The Battle "For the Cure": The Phrase, That Is". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
- Marks, Clifford M. (2010-08-05). "Charity Brawl: Nonprofits Aren't So Generous When a Name's at Stake". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- Bassett, Laura (2010-12-07). "Susan G. Komen Foundation Elbows Out Charities Over Use Of The Word 'Cure'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
- Babin, Janet (August 5, 2010). "Susan G. Komen fights for trademark". North Carolina Public Radio. Marketplace.
- Sulik, 2010. pages 146-150.
- Leopold, Ellen (2001-10-07). "Shopping for the Cure". The American Prospect. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
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- Komen for Cure, Planned Parenthood sparks fly (CBS News, February 2, 2012)
- Komen’s House of Cards
- Jeffrey Goldberg (February 2, 2012). "Top Susan G. Komen Official Resigned Over Planned Parenthood Cave-In". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
- Reactions heated on Planned Parenthood-Komen rift (AP)
- Editorials on Komen vs. Planned Parenthood
- Marcotte, Amanda, "Susan B. Komen's Act of Cowardice." Slate, January 31, 2012
- Komen for the Cure sells out women, again (Salon, Feb 1, 2012)
- Susan G. Komen Loses Support After Planned Parenthood Decision
- Breaking: Two dozen Senators call on Komen to reverse Planned Parenthood decision (Washington Post, 02/02/2012)
- NYC mayor gives Planned Parenthood $250K matching grant (CNN), February 02, 2012)
- Planned Parenthood Replaces Komen Grant With Online Push (BusinessWeek), February 02, 2012)
- Statement from Susan G. Komen Board of Directors and Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker (February 3, 2012)
- Top official quits, some affiliates upset as Komen cancer fund cuts Planned Parenthood grants (Chicago Tribune, February 1, 2012)
- "Komen Official Quits". ABC News (US). Retrieved 2012-10-26.
- "Komen Foundation VP resigns, blasts Planned Parenthood - CNN.com". CNN. 2012-02-08.
- Reuters (August 8, 2012). Susan G. Komen Founder Nancy Brinker To Leave CEO Role.
- Hensley, Scott (2012-06-01). "Planned Parenthood Controversy Hangs Over Komen's Fundraising Races : Shots - Health News". NPR. Retrieved 2012-10-26.
- Lisa DeJong (Sept 2012). "Komen Race for the Cure sees drop in participants in Cleveland". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2012-10-26.
- The Madeleine Brand Show (2012-02-03). "Post-Planned Parenthood, stem cell research may be Komen's next controversy | The Madeleine Brand Show". 89.3 KPCC FM. Retrieved 2012-10-26. Text " February 3rd, 2012, 9:13am " ignored (help)
- Komen's Position on Stem Cells Remains Unclear
- Cancer Stem Cell Research Shows Promise (Komen's frontline newsletter, Fall 2006)
Further reading 
- King, Samantha (2006). Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy. University Of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-4898-0