Blog Post

Komen just can't shake its Planned Parenthood scandal

June 6, 2013

    Hanna Jaquith, Daily Briefing

    The controversy surrounding Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure's decision to renege—and then re-instate—funding for Planned Parenthood programs has been out of the news for months, but it may still be on the minds of the breast cancer charity's biggest supporters.

    On Tuesday, Komen canceled charity walks in seven cities that failed to meet fundraising goals, Reuters reports. The three-day, 60-mile events are top revenue sources for the breast cancer charity that made pink ribbons ubiquitous. The long walks tend to draw the most dedicated supporters, many of whom also support Planned Parenthood, sources familiar with Komen's fundraising operations told the Washington Post.

    Spokesperson Andrea Rader pointed to economic uncertainty and competition from other charities as a factor in the decision, which "was not made lightly," according to a statement on the charity's Facebook page. The statement added, "Many participants have reported that enthusiasm for the series remains very high, but it is more difficult for people to donate at levels they had in the past."

    The Post notes that Komen's annual Race for the Cure in Washington, D.C., has lost participants in recent years: About 21,000 attended the race in 2013, down from 27,000 last year and 40,000 in 2011. Fundraising also spiraled over the past four years: The D.C. race raised $1.5 million this year, down from $2 million last year and $5 million in 2011.

    But Avon's numbers suggest that Komen's decline may be about more than just the economy. The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer will take place in the same eight cities as the organization's 2013 events, according to an Avon spokesperson. The company fundraised $4.5 million for this year's race, compared with $5 million the year before.

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