And As My Parting Gift, I’m Leaking This Letter to the Public and Sticking You With the Blame

Our guest columnist is Karen Handel, who until this morning was the senior vice president for public policy for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

February 7, 2012

The Honorable Nancy Brinker
CEO, Susan G. Komen for the Cure
5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 250
Dallas, Texas 75244

Dear Ambassador Brinker:

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has been the recognized leader for more 30 years in the fight against breast cancer here in the US – and increasingly around the world.

As you know, I have always kept Komen’s mission and the women we serve as my highest priority – as they have been for the entire organization, the Komen Affiliates, our many supporters and donors, and the entire community of breast cancer survivors. I have carried out my responsibilities faithfully and in line with the Board’s objectives and the direction provided by you and Liz.

We can all agree that this is a challenging and deeply unsettling situation for all involved in the fight against breast cancer. However, Komen’s decision to change its granting strategy and exit the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood and its grants was fully vetted by every appropriate level within the organization. At the November Board meeting, the Board received a detailed review of the new model and related criteria. As you will recall, the Board specifically discussed various issues, including the need to protect our mission by ensuring we were not distracted or negatively affected by any other organization’s real or perceived challenges. No objections were made to moving forward.

I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve. However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization. Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone’s political beliefs or ideology. Rather, both were based on Komen’s mission and how to better serve women, as well as a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy. I believe that Komen, like any other nonprofit organization, has the right and the responsibility to set criteria and highest standards for how and to whom it grants.

What was a thoughtful and thoroughly reviewed decision – one that would have indeed enabled Komen to deliver even greater community impact – has unfortunately been turned into something about politics. This is entirely untrue. This development should sadden us all greatly.

Just as Komen’s best interests and the fight against breast cancer have always been foremost in every aspect of my work, so too are these my priorities in coming to the decision to resign effective immediately. While I appreciate your raising a possible severance package, I respectfully decline. It is my most sincere hope that Komen is allowed to now refocus its attention and energies on its mission.

Karen Handel resigns from Komen for the Cure [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

Prop 8 smacked down. Homophobes crying

How can she decide to retire immediately when they’ve already discussed a severance package? Damn, she’s dumb, because she outed herself. She was given the “resign and keep some semblance of dignity or be fired” choice. Damn, she’s dumb.

I remember when those soup cans came out. The cans appeared as if the color had faded on old out of date tins. The kind of can goods that end up at the Food pantry for the poor. Great emblem Komen, you showed your true colors this month.

@texrednface: Similar reaction, but not so specific. I just remember them looking… odd. I thought maybe they were low sodium.

@nojo: I have wondered about the poor schlub who had to count the pink ribbon yoplait yogurt tops that had been licked and sent in. yeeeew.
AdAge had an article on the soup cans in 2006. As interesting is a current article on the PR Crisis and comments

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