Leah Johnson

From the Archives: Susan G. Komen Conundrum

Originally published in the Mooring Mast, Oct. 13th 2014 by Leah Larson

October is breast cancer awareness month and the Susan G. Komen foundation is practically synonymous with breast cancer awareness. It raises millions of dollars in the name of breast cancer research and awareness each year.

That is where it stops, however. While some of their funds do go toward research and awareness, the rest of the funds go toward notoriously suspicious endeavors.

CEO and foundation founder, Nancy Brinker, made almost $700,000 in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, nearly a 64 percent increase from the previous year.

“This pay package is way outside the norm,” Ken Berger from  Charity Navigator, said.

“It’s about a quarter of a million dollars more than what we see for charities of this size. This is more than the head of the Red Cross is making for an organization that is one-tenth the size of the Red Cross.”

Charity Navigator is a website that evaluates various charities to determine whether they spend their money in an ethical way or not. It ranks the Susan G. Komen Foundation 81 percent satisfactory.

However, multiple other breast cancer awareness charities receive much higher scores. The Rose, a similar organization based in Texas, has a score of 95 percent and Breast Cancer Connections has a 98.76 percent score.

The suspicious spending of the Komen foundation doesn’t stop there. The Komen foundation has a history of suing other disease-based charities based on their use of the phrase “For the Cure.”

In a report from the “Huffington Post,” The Komen foundation has been found filing legal trademarks against at least a hundred small charities including Cupcakes for a Cure, Kites for a Cure and Mush for a Cure.

This means in the past several years, the Komen foundation has spent thousands of dollars on legal fees to take out other charities that are dedicated to doing the exact same thing that they are— finding a cure for cancer. If the Komen foundation actually cared about curing cancer, they would not care about another nonprofit raising money for the same goal.

“What I find most appalling about the Susan G. Komen foundation is that they only give 15% of donated money to actual research for a cure,” said senior Kellie Blauvelt. “Even though their mission is “‘investing in science to find the cures.’”

Most recently, the Komen foundation partnered with Baker Hughes, a drilling bits company. This seems fairly ubiquitous at first. After all, it’s just a few drill bits painted pink. However, there are two major problems with this.

Firstly, this is done in the name of breast cancer awareness, but the bright pink drill bits aren’t going to raise awareness because they’re buried in the earth’s crust where no one can see them.

Secondly, these drill bits are commonly used in fracking. Fracking is a process for drilling for oil and gas. A federal study conducted last August by the US revealed that most fracking workers are exposed to large amounts of benzene, a carcinogen. Carcinogens cause cancer, which is something that the Susan G. Komen foundation is working to cure.

Not only does the Susan G. Komen foundation spend the money it gets to overpay its founder and CEO, it also does whatever it can to take out other cancer charities and sponsors corporations whose activities are proven to cause cancer.

So this year, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, take donations elsewhere. Give money to The Rose or to Breast Cancer Connections. Do something for the cure.

Visit http://bcconnections.org/ for Breast Cancer Connections or http://www.the-rose.org/ for The Rose to donate or find out more information on breast cancer, events and resources.


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