Who's on first at the Susan G. Komen Foundation? No one, at the moment; after its Planned Parenthood funding debacle, founder Nancy Brinker announced she was resigning her position as CEO in August and the foundation's president Liz Thompson's plans to leave the building in September. So what effect do these sweeping resignations have on the Komen Foundation? Not a very positive one, I'm afraid.
Rumor has it that Thompson is leaving because Brinker is staying on as chair of the Komen Board Executive Committee. The resignation of the CEO and president come after vice president for public policy Karen Handel and a number of state officials left the foundation.
To get you up to speed, Komen announced its plan to cut funding to Planned Parenthood in early 2012, stating that it does not fund organizations under investigation. The public cried bull, citing the move as politically motivated. The public outcry was not unfounded, as Komen funds other groups and organizations in similar situations. These groups include Yale, which is under investigation for sexual misconduct, Harvard, for alleged discrimination against Asian-Americans, and Massachusetts General Hospital, for HIPAA violations. Komen decided to reverse its decision to pull its Planned Parenthood funding, but the damage was already done. The once-small chinks in Komen's armor have turned into chunks of its façade falling off completely.
As with any dogfight, there are winners and there are losers — and the loser in this ongoing battle is the fight against breast cancer. After the Komen's Planned Parenthood scandal, the round-robin leadership, and the backlash over the Foundation's finances, fundraising has been, as some have put it…lackluster.
Over the 30 years the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has been in existence, it has raised over $1.3 billion toward breast cancer research, breast screenings and financial aid for low income and uninsured women. It sure would be a shame if all of the great strides Komen has made to go up in a puff of (alleged) political smoke.