I hadn’t heard these numbers:
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation committed one of the great PR faux pas of the decade in January 2012, when it summarily cut off funding to Planned Parenthood in what appeared to be a bow to anti-abortion crusaders.
Now, with its release of its latest financial statements, the cost of that decision can be measured: It’s more than $77 million, or fully 22% of the foundation’s income. That’s how much less the Dallas-based foundation collected in contributions, sponsorships and entry fees for its sponsored races in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013, compared with the previous year.
The affair led to more public scrutiny of the foundation’s own record. It transpired, for instance, that while the foundation depicted itself as devoted chiefly to research for a breast cancer cure, it spent only about 20% of its donations on research; the biggest expenditure category was public education, at more than 50%. Critics questioned whether “education” really should be such a heavy priority in a field where research issues remain important.
Since the controversy, the foundation has struggled to regain the nearly unquestioned public support it once had. Its founder, Nancy Brinker, a prominent figure in the Texas GOP who says she founded the organization after her sister Susan Komen succumbed to breast cancer, has stepped down as CEO.