Mother’s Day is coming… It made us think…

8 May

This is one of those week’s where you find yourself  thinking about “Mom”.  I mean… Sunday IS quickly approaching.

But for us, this week, It took an “odd turn”. We started thinking about a lot of other people’s MOMS.

Here at RR we support a lot of causes. One of them that is near  and  dear to our hearts is “Breast Cancer”.

We’ve personally lost family members to this terrible disease. Moms, wives, daughters. It’s a river of sadness that never stops flowing. We’ve shed tears over this and that is an understatement.

One of my best friends has a double mastectomy she received because of breast cancer. She has always been an incredibly beautiful woman. She was the textbook “California Beach Girl”. She had “curves for miles” and she was a pleasure to behold.

(Okay, I admit it. Men are more visual than women. We know it, YOU know it, so get over it.) :)

Despite her hardships, she is STILL the most beautiful girl in the room, everywhere she goes.  She may not have “the big  t-shirt” anymore, but she’s still a knock-out. She’s paid her price to stay alive and she’s an inspiration to us all. We adore her.  She reminds us that “beauty” isn’t just based on media hype for “this or that” figure. It’s not just “skin-deep”.  She’s a lioness who wears her scars well and she  keeps moving forward with confidence, helping others by deed and “by example”.

As a result of her impact on our lives, we’ve been involved with groups that focus on helping those afflicted with this disease as much as we possibly can. Many of these organizations are struggling as the economy tightens the purse strings of those with charities in mind.

Working for a “Cure for Breast Cancer” is noble. We’re all for those who push to aid those in need, especially in this cause. When you think of breast cancer, most of us think “pink”. The Susan G. Komen Foundation is a front-runner in making breast cancer visible to the masses.

With walk-a-thons, public events and fund-raisers, The Susan G. Komen Foundation makes a lot of positive noise.

But, like many other charitable organizations, they see their coffers dwindling.

So, like many other families that start thinking about what they have and where they can send it to do the most good… we took a look at what the Komen folks do. We wished that we hadn’t. Truly. We’re sorry that we looked. If you look at the numbers, now we feel like we (and more importantly Breast Cancer victims) are being duped.

2012 may have been a very bad year for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, but you’d never know it by looking at the tax returns for it’s leader. 2012 was a very good year for its CEO, Nancy Brinker. I’m talking about “over the top” good.

Nancy Brinker

Last year, Brinker said, “We are doing everything in our power to ensure that women have access to quality cancer care and the support that they need.” It’s a worthy, necessary goal. In our opinion, Brinker (at the very least) misspoke.

After so much disaster and hardship, it seems the woman who’s benefited most from Komen’s Breast Cancer charity is… um…  Nancy Brinker.

Many of us have read that in 2012, the breast cancer organization ignited a firestorm by announcing it was pulling its funding for breast cancer screenings and services for Planned Parenthood.

As you can imagine, this raised some eyebrows and some ire. Those screenings and services are one of the front-lines of Breast Cancer defense for American women. Komen hastily and ineptly apologized, then backpedaled.

We witnessed Karen Handel, Komen’s “Vice President for Public Policy” resign in the wake of the scandal. The people responded by quietly “defunding” Komen.  They saw registrations for its events decline in places like Maryland and Texas and just about everywhere else.

Komen got put in the “hot seat”.  People found it ironic that an organization that features the words “the cure” so heavily in its promotion and mission, an organization that boasts how its “research investment has changed the breast cancer landscape,” devotes such a minuscule and declining portion of its dollars to actually finding one.

Turns out that in 2011, Komen spent 15 percent of its donations on “finding the cure” – research — not even half of what it did just a few years prior. That’s 15 cents out of every dollar that you donated to them, folks.

And what about Komen’s founder, Nancy Brinker? You remember her, that woman whose vow to the sister she lost to cancer has served as the organization’s poignant, relatable narrative… Well, she stepped down as Komen’s CEO.

Did she “quit” or “give up”? No. She just invented a new role for herself in the organization. While she’s still listed on the records as the CEO of Komen, last August she took on a new role as “chairwoman of the executive committee”.

In short, the whole series of trainwrecks perpetrated by Komen was so offensive and appalling that Deanna Zandt, author of “Share This! How You Will Change the World With Social Networking,” called the Komen fiasco a teachable “example of what not to do.”

Leadership. It’s about leadership. You captain your ship and chart your course, steering clear of obstacles or you end up on the rocks… or do you?

It’s 2013. After more than a year of bad publicity and declining participation in Komen activities and events, Brinker herself seems to be doing just fine.

As Cheryl Hall pointed out this weekend in the Dallas Morning News, Brinker made “$684,717 in fiscal 2012, a 64 percent jump from her $417,000 salary from April 2010 to March 2011.

”That’s a whole lot of green for all that pink.”

Hall notes that’s about twice what the organization’s chief financial officer, Mark Nadolny, or former president Liz Thompson were making.

And as Peggy Orenstein points out on her blog Monday, it’s considerably more than the average nonprofit CEO salary of $132,739. We’re talking about five times the average, folks, for a CEO who has placed her ship firmly on the beach. And, the tide is going out, further grounding her vessel.

Of course, rewarding CEOs even as they’re bombing out is a way of life in America.

Appearently, where Nancy Brinker is concerned, they’re using an entire wing of “Stealth Bombers” to deliver her (in our view) unearned cash.

We ask those at The Susan G. Komen Foundation to think long and hard about how they operate. In our opinion, they’re giving themselves a black eye and doing a huge disservice to the “Breast Cancer” community.

Until they do this, we’re going to focus on “local” missions, helping those close to us, DIRECTLY, instead of giving aid to those who pocket most of the funds for themselves. We’d humbly ask you to do the same…

We may just be “small voices” that get lost in the crowd, but if enough of us do this, we can create a chorus that will drown out these “charitable failures”.

Please listen to your hearts and act accordingly.

I want to thank “our special Breast Cancer Survior who gives us so much, every day” and Mary Elizabeth Williams over at www.salon.com for compelling us to run this.

Stay tuned…

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