The Huffington Post has surveyed corporate donors on whether they plan to keep supporting Susan G. Komen for the Cure despite the controversy over its relationship with Planned Parenthood. Of the 35 companies that responded to the survey, nearly all said they would continue the relationship, though some expressed concern that the charity had taken a political stand.
In other Komen news, Reuters analyzed the charity’s financial statements and found that the charity spends about half as much proportionally on research into the causes and treatment of breast cancer as it did four years ago.
The foundation has increased its spending on science in absolute dollar terms, but at a far lower rate than the growth in its revenue, the news service found.
In the year ending March 31, Komen spent $63-million on research, about 15 percent of its overall expenditure, down from 17 percent each of the previous two years and 29 percent in fiscal 2008. The charity reported that 43 percent of its 2011 revenues went to education efforts.
The firestorm over Komen’s financial relationship with Planned Parenthood has increased scrutiny of how the cancer charity spends the hundreds of millions of dollars it raises annually. Critics in the science and activist communities have long argued that Komen focuses on advocacy and awareness at the expense of research.
The foundation receives a high rating from independent groups such as Charity Navigator for its financial performance. In a statement to Reuters, Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun said the charity spends 83 percent of its money on mission programs and is “the only organization doing breast cancer on all these fronts—in research, global work, advocacy, and community work.”
A science and medicine correspondent for Forbes asserts that training more of its resources on developing cancer drugs would help Komen heal its bruised image. While Komen has poured tens of millions of dollars into research, its “impact has not been as big as it might have been,” Matthew Herber says.
Nancy Brinker, Komen’s founder, offered her first detailed comments since the foundation reinstated Planned Parenthood grants in a letter to Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn.
Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy article on the controversy’s fundraising impact on both orgnizations.