Thursday, August 9, 2012

Another Ruse @ Susan G. Komen

by Gary Snyder

The latest change at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure is at least the fourth time there has been a shake up. To the charity's dismay, the public has seen through the various iterations of this artifice. As a result, financial and emotional commitment has atrophied.

Even with this latest reorganization, all remains the same. The agency's lightening rod, Nancy Brinker, remains in place and continues to call the shots as she has done from her multitude of positions as CEO, Board chair, chief financial officer or simply in management. Affiliates have called for her resignation. Disdain for the organization continues while all of her functionaries are moved around or out. The Komen brand image has plummeted. Turnout at pink-ribbon fundraising events is substantially down, some by as much as 40%.

But the fading pulse of the organization remains in place and keeps her tight reign. Brinker has has fired staff en masse. Virtually all of the staff in prominent positions has left, either voluntarily or otherwise. Many board members have vacated their roles as well as loads of family and friends. Some positions have been vacant for three years. Terminations have cost the agency many hundreds of thousands of donors' dollars in severance.

This is an organization in total disarray. Where is the leadership? The agency's public exposure has been devastating.

The foundation has failed to publicly address its many systemic problems. The organization’s defense of conflicts of interest (the board was stacked with family and close confidantes), poor business practices (Brinker’s use of charity funds for her own personal use; boosters buying Brinker’s endorsement; paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in severance; huge travel expenses, office, and consulting fees), her leadership (the use of intimidation and firing those that did not follow her directives precisely) are plaguing issues.

The Komen Foundation may also be vacating it central mission by canceling of one of its most important events...its annual “Lobby Day”. This use to be a push for cancer research and early detection and treatment for underserved women.

The organization's bunker mentality has not served it well which is too bad. Susan G. Komen had a brand like no other...truly pristine, but it seemingly has its own reality now.

Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics,, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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