Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In Good Taste, Lance Armstong. What About Susan G. Komen?

by Gary Snyder

Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France cycling winner stripped of his titles on cheating allegations, has cut his last official tie to the cancer charity Livestrong by resigning from its board. Armstrong, who stepped down as the group’s chairman on Oct. 17, was the target of a report released by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in October that alleged he was part of the largest sports cheating ring in cycling history.

“Lance decided to resign from the board of the foundation to spare it any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding his cycling career", said an agency spokesperson.

Armstrong’s action is admirable. This, however, is in contradistinction to what is happening at Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Founder and current leader of the Komen foundation, Nancy Brinker, continues to hold on to her last and omnipresent vestiges of power.  While Armstrong saw that a bad name was interfering with the mission of Livestrong, he graciously stepped down. 

At a salary approaching $450,000-plus, Nancy Brinker sits atop her perch at Komen as agency declines precipitously. Calls for her resignation come far and wide. Her presence continues to be a lightening rod to donors and sponsors. Although internal results have been questioned, external sources suggest that participation at events is down as much as 40% at various venues.

Under Brinker's iron clad direction, staff and board turnover have reached nearly 100%. That includes Brinker's closely held, hand picked board. Both at the national and regional levels, senior staff has either been terminated with severance totaling over $1 million or have vacated because of the decision-making at the national level. In the midst of the Planned Parenthood controversy, local offices were directed to forward all complaints to the national office. By any standard, the national office’s response was an abysmal failure. Many strong bonds with donors were destroyed. 

The beat continues for Brinker to step down. Maybe with some reflection as to the commendable action by Lance Armstrong, she will reconsider her damaging presence.   

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, Newsweek.com, 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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