It’s Time For Susan G. Komen To Experience a Pink Transfer Day

Feb 6, 2012 by

It seems that one of the underlying reasons that Susan G. Komen Foundation decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood was because  pro-lifers were creating all kinds of mischief at local Race For The Cure Events.

Okay, that is probably a simplified version of the story. Obviously, there was more to the decision than the hassle of having to deal with a bunch of pro-life activists. The truth is, If the executives at Komen were not pro-lifers, the threats of the activists would have remained just that,threats.

Laura Bassett of The HuffingtonPost is reporting that Karen Handel, Komen’s Vice President of Public Policy, came up with the cocky-mamie plan to disqualify organizations “under investigation” from receiving grants. Like a really dumb criminal  who thinks his plan for murder is full proof, Handel actually believed that the public would believe that Komen’s “investigation” policy was non-political.

Have you heard about the guy who planned to dress up in a bear outfit and making his girlfriend’s death look like she was mauled by a large animal? Oh, yeah, that’s a true story.

What may have sounded like a sure fire strategy in the board room, did not pass the smell test once the public learned about it. So now,  what we are witnessing may be the beginnings of the end of the dominance of Susan G. Komen Foundation.

If social media can help topple dictators and create a Bank Transfer day where millions of dollars have been withdrawn from big banks and deposited into community banks and credit unions, it can certainly persuade people to support a Pink Transfer Day– a day (week, month or year) where charitable donations are withheld from Susan G. Komen and given to other organizations working to eradicate breast cancer.

For years, on Mother’s Day, my daughter and I walked in the annual Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure.  We loved being part of the sea of pink. It made us feel good. Proud. We loved raising money for an organization that was not only helping to find a cure for breast cancer, but was also raising awareness about the disease. We loved walking in support of our friends and family who are breast cancer survivors. Paulette,Janie, Suzanne, Molly. So grateful that just four names are on the list.

That was then. This is now. Like many, I have walked in my last Race For The Cure.  My commitment to support breast cancer research has not diminished. It’s just that I no longer want to fund that support through Susan G.Komen. And the best part, I don’t have to.

There are plenty of other great organizations that deserve my money including The National Breast Cancer Coalition and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  The truth is, supporting the Susan G. Komen Foundation was easy. It was visible. It allowed me to be part of a community that I believed in. I still believe in fighting breast cancer but I don’t have to walk for the cure to do my part.

I became disillusioned with the Susan G. Komen Foundation about a year ago, after reviewing Nancy G. Brinker’s book, Promise Me. About the time of the review, there was quite to kerfuffle over the organization’s aggressive tactics against any other non-profit that used the phrase ‘for the cure.’

Komen was beseeched with bad publicity. They were characterized as bullies. But that was child’s play, compared to the most recent backlash.

The has a great article on the history of the tension between Komen and Planned Parenthood. According to the article, in 2004, a woman’s health activist and former member of Komen’s Hispanic-Latino Advisory Committee Eve Sanchez Silver, began a campaign to pressure Komen to sever its ties with Planned Parenthood.

Silver and her supporters threatened to boycott businesses that supported Komen. And that made plenty of unpleasant calls to the local Komen affiliates. One former Komen employee John Hammarley said,

“The issue of Komen’s involvement with Planned Parenthood was the single ongoing issue that caused some controversy,” he said. “It was an irritation: How many calls have we gotten this month? How many people are upset?”

Eight years later, Silver evidently got what she wanted- at least for a a few weeks. Turns out Komen had been “quietly” letting individual Planned Parenthood offices know of their decision to stop funding their programs since the end of last year.  Now that Komen appears to have reversed its anti-Planned Parenthood stance, Silver and other pro-lifers are even more livid at Komen.

So now, everyone is upset with them. Pro-Lifers, for Komen caving so quickly, and everyone else because Komen’s actions are unconscionable.

If Silver’s goal was to hurt Planned Parenthood.. she still has some work cut out for herself. Since the news broke this week, Planned Parenthood has raised $3 million…$400,000 coming from online donations–significantly more than  the nearly $700,000 the organization received from Komen.

What is truly amazing about this story is that Komen actually believed that appeasing the pro-lifers like Eve Sanchez Silver would be a smarter decision than pissing off everyone else.

Meanwhile, Komen has hired Ari Fleischer, former White Press Secretary under George W. Bush, and Ogilve Mather to help them navigate their communication disaster. Good luck with that.

If Komen executives think this little firestorm will die down, they should probably think again. They should think aboutBank Transfer Day or the Occupy Wall Street Movement or the Arab Spring.  Activists are just getting worked up.

This story is so not over.

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Elana Centor Has Written 6 Articles For Us!

Elana’s vision of a world class enterprise providing social media training, coaching and consulting is the foundation of DWT’s conception and development. Her distinguished 30-year career as a marketing expert, journalist, author and social media pioneer gives DWT the authority to succeed.
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  1. I think (and this is purely my personal, knee-jerk opinion) that Brinker very likely started with the very best of intentions, way back. And, then, the organization took on a life of its own – bureaucracy, politics, the “need” to maintain status, and all the rest. The really sad thing is the people who are truly hurt by all the ya-yahhing, and it’s not Komen or PP’s board and executives.

    (I’ve always hated all the pink, cutsey-wutsey stuff.)

    Let’s focus on contributing DIRECTLY to organizations who directly support women and do the much need research. I really don’t need any pink products, t-shirts or teddy bears.

  2. It was time for this a year ago, well before the fiasco broke. Even before learning about this issue, I turned away from Susan G. They are too cliquey, in my opinion. They rely too much on tears and sad stories. Me, I’ve seen enough of the tears and sad stories – now I want some facts. Where is all that money going? And, why does our support have to be pink? Really? Let’s get with it and create something that really represents the issue – healthcare and research and science. The pink was all touchy-feely, because that’s how women are, I guess. I grew to hate it. I’m glad folks are moving on. They should – Susan G. has shown their true colors – underneath the pink is pure green.

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