Komen’s Continuing Saga: What Should It Do Now?

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November 8, 2012; Source: New York Times

On Thursday, the New York Times reported that a Komen Foundation spokeswoman has said that the Race for the Cure attracted 19 percent fewer participants through October than in the same period last year but, to date, corporate sponsors have not abandoned the organization. In fact, World Wrestling Entertainment has reportedly entered into a new marketing alliance with Komen.

Cause Marketing Forum President David Hessekiel believes that some sponsors will distance themselves discretely over time: “A lot of people are spreading their bets by working with several breast cancer charities.” He suggests that some may have multi-year agreements that would be difficult to terminate.

Levick Strategic Communications Executive Vice President Gene Grabowski says that it could take as long as four years for Komen to recover from their inappropriate foray into politics, which he says angered “both sides of the political spectrum.” “If it had been a run-of-the-mill scandal,” commented Grabowski, “something that was not involving politics, where you can remove one executive or human fallibility is easily grasped, then you can get out of situations a little bit easier.” Grabowski believes that Nancy Brinker should resign from the organization “for the good of the cause,” and likened the dynamics of the situation to those that sparked Lance Armstrong’s departure from LIVESTRONG.

At the very least, Grabowski says, Komen ought to find a new, known person as its primary spokesperson. “You need a new face,” Grabowski said. “Under these circumstances, it would be helpful to have an icon, someone who can give them cover.”

What do you think needs to happen for Komen to recover? Do you think it is possible?–Ruth McCambridge

  • Jamie Forbes

    Time and action are the two things that will help Komen recover from this scandal. Apologies and aknowledgements are important, but without more decisive change, it will take longer to regain the trust from those who were outraged and disenfranchised by the Planned Parenthood defunding announcement.

    Nancy Brinker should step down. With her continued leadership (which has built a powerhouse nonprofit that has done so much for breast cancer), it will be impossible to convince many former supporters that the organization thinks differently than it did when it made the decision to defund Planned Parenthood. The results speak for themselves: with nearly 20% fewer participants in recent Komen events since the Planned Parenthood announcement, it’s clear they have not regained the trust back from supporters.

  • J Gifford

    It is a unfortunate that the decision to defund Planned Parethood was made. They should have been looking at the programs it offers the community instead of being presssured by perception. As a United Way fundraiser I am constantly talking about programs not agencies, There is a BIG difference. A donor needs to be educated on what their money pays for and the fundraising organization needs to stand behind the program it funds not jump ship on the community.It will be a long time before a do another Komen race, I can give my money to someone eles.

  • dclaudew

    We have all wondered about the salary of Nancy Brinker and her son. This information is not easy to find. Komen issues dozens if not scores of Form 990 annually for its group. This is done perhaps to hide how much cash flows to each site’s owner and how much flows to Nancy and her son. I’ve looked at several Komen Form 990 and learned little. Anyone know where to find the executive salaries of Nancy, her son, and all the site owners?