Komen Fundraiser: Brinker Should Quit, Corporations Still OK

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 8, 2012   |   6:02PM   |   Washington, DC

A top Komen fundraiser says Nancy Brinker should step down from the breast cancer charity following a week-long battle over whether or not it should be funding the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

As the London Guardian reports:

Eve Ellis, a former board member of affiliate group Komen New York City, said she does not believe Brinker’s claims that the cuts were not politically motivated and, as a result, no longer trusts Komen as an organisation. A passionate supporter and board member of six years standing who has raised $250,000 for Komen NYC, Ellis has cut all ties to the group.

She describes Komen’s moves to try to restore public confidence – including a U-turn on the funding cut and the resignation of vice-president, Karen Handel, on Tuesday – as “not enough”.

In a letter sent to family and friends on Monday, before Handel’s resignation, Ellis called for Handel, Brinker and all nine board members to go, so that “I and the millions of people who have walked and talked for Komen can trust again.”

Speaking to the Guardian on Wednesday, Ellis, a philanthropy and wealth advisor, said of Handel’s leaving: “Even in her resignation, she says that is wasn’t just her decision. Others have said it was. It doesn’t matter. It was approved by the board. Whether it came from the CEO or the board or a certain employee, they all were complicit.”

Ellis goes on: “A clean house would enable Komen to carry on its much-needed, admirable work without the baggage of being the organisation that had actually deliberated on and subsequently made the heartless decision to defund Planned Parenthood and to endanger the heath of thousands of women. When we have a clean house, we should get answers to how this happened, and a clear refocus that Komen stands for all women’s health.”

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post indicates leading corporate sponsors of Komen are sticking with the organization.

The Huffington Post attempted to reach out to all of Komen’s 196 corporate partners. Thirty-five of them responded, with seven declining to comment on the matter. While a few companies said they were reviewing their partnership with Komen in light of the controversy, nearly all said they were going to stick with the foundation. Still, many expressed concern that the apolitical organization they signed up to sponsor was no longer so.

Companies may not be drawing back from Komen in part because, while a significant amount of public pressure targeted the charity over the past week, there seems to have been less pressure on its corporate partners.

While Brinker has steadfastly defended Komen, its vice-president Karen Handel stepped down and criticized Planned Parenthood for attacking the breast cancer group over its decision-making.

Handel, a top Komen official who was said to be instrumental in putting in place the changes in Komen policy that essentially resulted in cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, resigned her position.

Komen initially decided in December to revise its grant-making process to funds grants to agencies that provide direct health services for women — which would eliminate Planned Parenthood since it does not do mammograms. After Planned Parenthood, Democratic members of Congress and the media pounced on Komen for its decision, Komen clarified that Planned Parenthood would still be allowed to submit grant requests but they may or may not be funded.


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