|March 26, 2016|
Susan G. Komen for the Cure , formerly known as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation , often referred to as simply Komen , is an organization supporting breast cancer research. Since its inception in 1982, Komen has invested over $1.5 billion for research, education and health services, making it the largest breast cancer charity in the world. Today, Komen has more than 100,000 volunteers working in a network of 125 affiliates worldwide.
Susan Goodman Komen was born in Peoria , Illinois, and was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33. She died three years later, in 1980. Komen's younger sister, Nancy Goodman Brinker , who felt that Susan's outcome might have been better if patients knew more about cancer and its treatment, and remembering a promise to her sister that she would find a way to speed up breast cancer research, founded the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in Komen's memory in 1982.
In 2007, the 25th anniversary of the organization, it changed its name to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, created a new logo, and adopted the explicit mission "to end breast cancer forever".
On December 2, 2009 Brinker was appointed CEO of the organization.
Since 1982, Komen has provided funding for basic, clinical, and translational breast cancer research and for innovative projects in the areas of breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment. In addition, Komen awards three-year postdoctoral fellowships to individuals working under the guidance of experienced cancer researchers in order to recruit and retain young scientists in the field of breast cancer research.
In addition to funding research, Komen and its affiliates fund non-duplicative, community-based breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment projects for the medically under-served.
Since 1992, Komen has also annually awarded work in the field of cancer research with the Komen Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction.
Komen received Charity Navigator's highest rating, four stars. According to results of the Harris Interactive 2010 EquiTrend annual brand equity poll, Komen is one of the most trusted nonprofit organizations in America.
Komen has dedicated nearly $1 billion to creating awareness and finding a cure for breast cancer, making it the nation's largest private funding source for breast health and breast cancer.
Since 1982, Komen has awarded more than 1,000 breast cancer research grants totaling more than $180 million. Komen adheres to a peer-review process that is recognized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
, research grants are available for basic, clinical, and translational research; postdoctoral fellowships; and breast cancer disparities research.
According to the United Nations World Health Organization, more than 500,000 people worldwide die from breast cancer every year, and breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide. Komen for the Cure states that its aim is to "reduce the burden of breast cancer on a global level". Believing that no single approach to breast health will prove effective around the world, Komen works with local communities and organizations to develop programs for particular groups or cultures.
In 2006, Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced their involvement with the US-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research, a Middle East Partnership Initiative program that unites leading breast cancer advocates in the U.S. and the Middle East with the goal increasing early detection of breast cancer and reduce mortality through improved awareness, increased clinical resources, and research.
Today, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is active in over 50 countries with its largest affiliates in Italy and Germany.
On October 28th, 2010 the first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure was held in Jerusalem, Israel. Over 5,000 Christian, Muslim and Jewish people walked and ran to show solidarity in what was described as a historic event. The main goal of the race was to raise awareness of breast cancer and establish the organization as a permanent fixture in Israel. Prior to the Race the Old City walls of Jerusalem where illuminated pink by Komen founder Nancy G. Brinker, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and the Prime Minister's wife Sara Netanyahu.
The Organization raises over $35 million a year from over 60 cause marketing partnerships from Yoplait, which runs the Save Lids to Save Lives program, to a partnership with American Airlines.
On March 10, 2009, the organization announced that the Susan G. Komen National Race for the Cure would be renamed as Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure.
In October 2008, Susan G. Komen for the Cure launched a mobile donating campaign, enabling supporters to donate money by texting .
Grants to Planned Parenthood
Several Susan G. Komen Affiliates give grants to Planned Parenthood and other similar clinics. This thought has garnered criticism from some pro-life advocates because of Planned Parenthood's role as an abortion provider. However, Komen Affiliates do provide funds to pay for screening, education and treatment programs in dozens of communities in which they claim that Planned Parenthood is the only place that poor, uninsured or under-insured women can receive these services.
Pinkwashing in cause marketing
Komen has also been caught up in the controversy over " pinkwashing" — the use of breast cancer and the pink ribbon by corporate marketers, in which companies promote their products with claims to donate a percentage of proceeds to the cause. Komen benefits greatly from these corporate partnerships, receiving over $55 million
Organizations such as Breast Cancer Action, an advocacy group, have pointed out that such promotions are often financially ineffective. For instance, in 2005, Yoplait donated ten cents to Komen for each lid mailed in by consumers at a time when postage for this action cost 37 cents, raising questions about the fund-raising effort's effectiveness.
In April 2010, Komen received national attention when it paired with fast food restaurant chain KFC to offer "Buckets for the Cure," a promotion in which fried and grilled chicken was sold in pink branded buckets. The collaboration garnered criticism from media outlets including Bitch magazine KFC contributed over $4.2 million to Komen, the largest single contribution in the organization's history. The partnership with KFC, which has since ended, allowed Komen "to reach many millions of women that they had been unable to reach before," said Brinker.
Legal battles over trademarking
Komen has come under fire for its legal action against other nonprofits or organizations using the phrase "for the cure" within their names. An August 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal detailed a case in which the organization Uniting Against Lung Cancer was told in a letter from Komen that they should no longer use the name "Kites for the Cure" for their annual fundraising event. Komen also wrote to the organization to warn them "against any use of pink in conjunction with 'cure.'" Komen says that the foundation protects its trademarks as a matter of financial stewardship and that the group wants to avoid confusion. A mix-up could mean a sizable donation landing on another charity's books.
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