Quicklink: What would it take to trust Komen again?

Crunchy analysis from Mother Jones.  Komen’s anti-choice VP may have resigned, but the board itself is still stacked with problems, mainly because a huge grant-making operation is still being run as if it is a small family foundation.

Dig deep enough into Komen’s financial statements, and you’ll find that of the 24 percent they spend on research, only 15 percent goes to explore how to prevent the disease.

New energy might, for example, persuade the board that it’s time to change the balance between money spent on treatment (7%), screening (15%), research (24%), and “education” (34%). Two decades ago, it was of utmost importance to get women to get over the fear and the shame and into the doctor’s office, to go public with scars and wigs and hot flashes. But mission accomplished, Komen. Now it’s time to put more weight into stopping the disease before it starts. Dig deep enough into Komen’s financial statements, and you’ll find that of the 24 percent they spend on research, only 15 percent goes to explore how to prevent the disease. Pharmaceutical companies probably do a pretty good job of finding new and better chemo drugs; a nonprofit should put more of its clout into research without a near-term financial payoff.

New insight might also help the board to grok that if they want to maintain a fig leaf of impartiality in the abortion debate and they bring on Jane Abraham—head of the Susan B. Anthony List; the most powerful pro-life funding group around—to their “advocacy alliance” board, they’d better enlist someone like Stephanie Schriock of pro-choice group Emily’s List as a countermeasure. And a board more savvy to opinions outside of Highland Park might persuade Brinker she should sit back on her Neiman Marcus/Chili’s fortune and not pay herself $417,000 a year plus board-approved first-class travel from the donations of jogging bald ladies and their family members.

Also pulling out this short quote from the opening of the article as a very useful definition of pinkwashing for future reference:

“pinkwashing,” i.e. corporations donating a miniscule fraction of money earned from peddling stuff adorned with Komen’s pink ribbon to cancer research, or holding a run (after which less than half of the proceeds go to “the cause,” pre-overhead) rather than, say, providing decent health care to workers or keeping toxins out of water supply.

Image credit: Index thumbnail of pink cut-out dolls stuck into a lawn (author unknown) found on this fascinating 2010 post from Heart Sisters blog: What women with heart disease can learn from “pinkwashing” this month



Categories: culture wars, ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism

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