Follow the Money: Susan G. Komen

Pink is now one of the traditional colors of fall, having joined the shades of reds, oranges and yellows. The lion’s share of the credit is due to Susan G. Komen’s brilliant branding of Breast Cancer Awareness Month during October. From small lapel pins and ribbons to uniforms and equipment on the football field, the color pink has become synonymous with Komen’s and others’ efforts to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research, a worthy and important cause which affects 232,000 women every year.


Komen’s stated goals and marketing abilities are admirable, and it has struck a chord with men and women across the country since breast cancer has affected so many. However good the cause, Komen’s activities beyond the pink campaign doesn’t reflect the values and conscience of the conservatives who make up a good portion of their donor and volunteer base.

An in-depth examination of Komen shows disbursements and support for causes that should concern many conservatives, particularly its long-standing relationships with organizations that promote and perform abortions. In 2012, the organization faced a steady stream of criticism for their connections to Planned Parenthood. In response, Komen announced the cessation of funding grants to Planned Parenthood, and the wrath of abortion advocates such as NARAL was overwhelming. Unfortunately, Komen bowed to the pressure of the abortion provider just days later and continued to allow its affiliates to fund Planned Parenthood programs through grants.

Not as well known, but just as troubling of a connection is with the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), whose global parent organization has specifically urged world governments to “broaden legal ground for permitted and safe abortions.” Furthermore, the YWCA is also a member of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a gun control advocacy group that promotes an anti-2nd Amendment agenda.


Conservatives looking for alternatives to Komen would be surprised to learn that they are not the only actors involved with Planned Parenthood. The American Cancer Society, who, like Komen, has engaged in public initiatives with the NFL, has likewise funded programs for the left-wing giant.

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute both have remained neutral on public-policy issues, including abortion and the 2nd Amendment. Furthermore, BCRF and Dana-Farber received the highest ratings from Charity Navigator based on the percentage of donations that go directly towards the organizations’ missions. In other words, these charities are sending a greater percentage of each contribution directly towards finding a cure and less to administrative overhead and public relations campaigns. In fact, Dana-Farber has actually received research grants from Komen itself, showing that a direct donation to the institute would eliminate the inefficiency of the middle-man in this case.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy also released a report this week stating that the wealthy are giving a smaller share of their income to charity than the middle class. Their research showed that “[t]he 17 most generous states, as measured by share of income donated to charity, voted for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the 2012 election. Florida, at 18, was the most generous state to vote for Barack Obama.” A Washington Post article on the report also notes that Chronicle Editor Stacy Palmer attributes one factor in particular for this discrepancy: “church attendance.”


Pink is the color of October, but a closer look at groups like Komen should call into question if it is the color for conservatives. Research is showing that church attendance and conservatives are the increasing majority of donors to philanthropic organizations, but are Komen and the American Cancer Society listening to them? The answer seems to be no currently.

Chris Walker is the Executive Director of 2nd Vote, a conservative shopper app. To find out more, download the free app or visit



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