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You may remember last February when it was learned that the iconic Susan B. Komen for the Cure was cutting off hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to Planned Parenthood, money meant to fund screening for breast cancer. Turns out that at the same time that rancid action was being taken, Komen founder and CEO Nancy Brinker was raking in an extra $273,000, a 64 percent raise from her 2011 salary of $417,000. Not bad considering the public shellacking Komen took over its scandalous move against Planned Parenthood.
That move, which had been prompted by Komen's senior vice president of policy Karen Handel, an extremist forced-birther, sparked an angry nationwide reaction that damaged the organization's brand and generated an outpouring of support for Planned Parenthood. That organization was then and continues to be under attack from right-wingers in Congress and many state legislatures seeking to defund it. That's not just a culture-war attack against women's reproductive health, it's class war as well since the non-profit Planned Parenthood serves women in the lower tiers of the economic pyramid.
Very soon after the scandal became public, Komen reversed itself on the grants, Handel resigned and, in the summer, it was announced that Brinker would step down as CEO but remain as chair of Komen's all-white executive board. In the ensuring furor, it was learned that in 2011, Komen had spent just 15 percent of the $685 million it raised on research into causes and treatment of cancer, half of the percentage it had dedicated to that purpose in 2008. Although large percentages of the donations it received continued to go for advocacy and awareness in 2011, some past supporters were shocked by the revelation of the drop in research grants.
Although Brinker officially stepped down as CEO last August, she is still listed in that post on the Komen website nine months later and no replacement has been announced.
Of course, rewarding CEOs even as they’re bombing out is a way of life in America. Brinker’s salary looks like small potatoes next to, say, the more than, $13 million Hewlett-Packard gave Léo Apotheker just to leave. And Komen told Jim Mitchell at the Dallas Morning News that those figures for Brinker reflect at 2010 salary increase, and that they’re “misleading because of differences between Komen’s fiscal year and the IRS’ calendar year.” Good to bear in mind, but still — that’s a stunning raise to give a person, especially within an organization that has faced scrutiny for its dubious choices in the name of women’s health for some years now. [...]
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. Yet even after so much disaster, it seems the woman who’s benefited most from Komen’s charity is still Nancy Brinker herself.
Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:37 AM PDT.