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Posts Tagged ‘Susan G. Komen For The Cure’

CEO’s Salary Reignites Komen Controversy

The breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen has yet to recover from the PR disaster that was its 2012 decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood. Though the resulting controversy and backlash inspired the organization to quickly reverse its decision, Komen is still reeling from dramatically decreased donations and event participation.

The foundation announced last week that it would be cancelling seven of its three-day walks in 2014 — half of its annual multi-day events. Though the organization attributes the cancellations to economic uncertainty and competition from other charities, the sugar-coated explanation is a euphemism for plummeting support.

In light of the troubled year the foundation has faced, the public hadn’t exactly expected Nancy Brinker — who is still Komen’s CEO despite announcements made ten months ago that she would be stepping down from her post — to receive a raise in 2012. However, the organization’s latest IRS filing shows that Brinker made $684,717 in fiscal 2012, a 64 percent jump from her $417,000 salary from April 2010 to March 2011.

If that didn’t look bad enough, the filing also says Brinker devoted 55 hours to the cause each week, which translates to an hourly rate of $239.40, roughly twice the salary of Komen’s chief financial officer Mark Nadolny or former president Liz Thompson, who left Komen as a result of the Planned Parenthood controversy.

Though the organization maintains that the pay raise was set in motion back in 2010, well before the trouble started, that fact has done little to assuage the already-incensed public.



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NFL’s Breast Cancer Campaign Is Not Particularly Charitable

Last week we joined a group of voices in questioning whether Breast Cancer Awareness Month and its primary sponsor, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, have lost a bit of focus in recent years.

Aside from the political squabbles that arose over the conflict between Komen and Planned Parenthood, many observers argue that what started as a movement to benefit the millions who struggle with breast cancer every year has descended into a celebration of consumerism marked by the official (and unofficial) promotion of products and services ranging from underwear to alcoholic beverages to streaming adult video (the website, which features exactly the kind of content you’d expect, plans to donate one penny to Komen for every 30 views of one of its…breast-themed videos).

The question at the middle of this debate: How much of the money donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and associated charities goes directly toward real-world cancer research–and how much of it goes back into subsidizing the PR efforts of Susan G. Komen and its many related for-profit partners and properties?

A report filed last week by Business Insider concerned one of Breast Cancer Awareness Month’s most prominent promoters: the NFL. While the article isn’t quite damning, it does provide ammunition for those who argue that the NFL and other companies involved in the “pink” campaign may not be as generous as they seem.

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Has Breast Cancer Awareness Month Lost Its Focus?

We all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and here at PRNewser we’ve written quite a bit about prime sponsor Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s recent PR upheavals.

Today we bring you an interesting, apolitical angle from blogger and breast cancer survivor Lisa Bonchek Adams. She believes that the Komen group lost its focus some time ago—and that the value of Breast Cancer Awareness Month has declined in turn.

Instead of focusing so intently on finding a “cure” rather than effective treatment, not to mention selling “everything from Kentucky Fried Chicken to alcoholic beverages to its own perfume while simultaneously trying to prevent anyone else from using the phrase ‘For the Cure’”, Adams believes that Komen and its many supporters should focus on the emotional side of the disease. More attention should be paid to the post-op experience that every breast cancer survivor goes through in addition to the damage it inflicts on affected families and the ongoing struggles of those, like Adams, who endure metastatic breast cancer diagnoses.

Many commentators continue to decry Komen’s focus on consumerism and profit, which seems to have intensified with time. Our favorite statement may be this 2011 “Wag of the Finger” clip in which Stephen Colbert shames the group for spending more than $1 million in donor funds (!) to sue other charities for using the phrase “for the cure”:

What do we think? Political affiliations aside, has Breast Cancer Awareness Month turned into a big sell-a-thon? Have Susan G. Komen for the Cure and its many, many sponsors begun to miss the point?

Komen for the Cure VP Karen Handel Resigns

Just a day after we reported on weekend efforts by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to move away from last weekend’s uproar over its decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, an SGK exec that many say was behind the decision has resigned.

Karen Handel (left) has stepped down from her post as VP for public policy. According to Handel’s resignation letter (obtained by the Associated Press), the organization was on board with the decision at first. She calls the backlash a “gross mischaracterization of the strategy… and her involvement in it” and says that SGK saw the need to distance itself from a controversial association with Planned Parenthood.

Many had called for Handel to leave her post. Recommendations from comms experts and others have also called on SGK to speak with one clear and unified voice. Unfortunately, this news doesn’t achieve that.

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Komen for the Cure Starts On the Path to Recovery

Susan G. Komen for the Cure (SGK) founder and CEO Nancy Brinker and the organization’s president Elizabeth Thompson held a conference call on Saturday with affiliates to work on a path out of the PR mess the group got into last week when it announced it would cut funding to Planned Parenthood. After lots of mixed messages and backlash, the organization has backed off of its plans, but the job of rebuilding the trust and goodwill of supporters is just beginning.

Ogilvy PR VP Brendan Daly confirmed with The Washington Post that he was brought in last week to help. Former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer is also lending his crisis comms expertise where necessary. Still, the WaPo article brings up issues that the organization could have with corporate partners and others going forward.

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Susan G. Komen Backs Off Planned Parenthood Cuts

Once again, we have an example where social media and public backlash have reversed an organization’s decision.

For the past three days, Susan G. Komen for the Cure (SGK) has been battered by criticism from the public and members of government who objected to the group’s decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. The money had been used for breast exams. This morning, SGK announced that it was going to take a closer look at the policy that led to the cuts and apologized for its earlier decision. Planned Parenthood can apply for grants once again.

“Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process,” the statement says. “It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women.” We tried to read the statement on the SGK website, but got a big error message that says simply “Server is too busy.”

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Susan G. Komen, Women Across the Country Hurt By New Policy

Not the story you thought you’d ever read about Susan G. Komen for the Cure, one of the most noted and respected nonprofits out there. But the other day, it was announced that the organization is cutting funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates, which could leave many women without access to breast exams. Last year, Susan G. Komen (SGK) provided $680,000 in grants to Planned Parenthood groups.

Coverage of issue indicates that SGK made the policy change under pressure from anti-abortion groups and members of Congress. Yesterday, the organization’s founder and CEO, Nancy G. Brinker made the video above to explain why the money has been cut.

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Roll Call: Ogilvy, The Daily Caller, Komen for the Cure, and More

Ogilvy PR has added three to its New York office. Parris Bowe joins as SVP in the consumer marketing practice reporting to Alyssa Garnick, EVP of the practice. Bowe has previously worked for Lippe Taylor and Edelman. David Hanon joins as VP of that consumer marketing practice as well. He was most recently at Waggener Edstrom for more than a decade where he worked with tech consumer clients including Microsoft. And Ryan Aynes has joined the 360⁰ Digital Influence Group as a VP. He was previously director of social media at the JAR Group.

Rep. Darrell Issa‘s (R-CA) former spokesperson Kurt Bardella has landed at Tucker Carlson‘s The Daily Caller. He was fired by the Congressman after an investigation was launched into whether he shared emails with reporters. Bardella starts his new job today as director of communications, The Huffington Post writes.

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Susan G. Komen For The Cure Selects Morris + King

Susan G. Komen For The Cure, the nonprofit dedicated to breast cancer research and awareness, has selected Morris + King Company for creative and strategic counsel, media relations, comms support, and other PR services. The organization’s global campaign will tap into the healthcare, public policy, lifestyle, events, and scientific research areas.

According to PRWeek, this is the organization’s first national AOR since 2008 when it stopped working with Weber Shandwick  partially for financial reasons.

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