Susan Komen CEO’s Salary Slammed, Donations Down, Races Off

Image: Susan Komen CEO’s Salary Slammed, Donations Down, Races Off Nancy Brinker, Founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, holding a cancer mortality report.

Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013 08:07 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the largest and most widely known breast cancer organization in the United States, has seen a decline in donations and lower participation in its fundraising races in recent years.

Due to a lack of funding, the nonprofit has had to cancel races in seven cities and seen lower than usual participation rates in major municipalities across the country, including New York City, which saw a 41 percent drop in registration from last year, Fort Worth which saw a nearly 38 percent drop from 2011 and Seattle, which saw a 35 percent drop from 2011.

Race revenue is also down, with Washington D.C.'s Race for the Cure bringing in only $2.5 million this year, compared to $5 million two years ago, which Komen admits has negatively impacted the charity’s grant-making ability.

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The D.C. affiliate issued $3,726,276 in grants in 2012 compared with just $1,577,790 this year, NBC News reports.

In addition to the weak economy, which the nonprofit reportedly cited for its lower than usual numbers, Critics point to the Komen CEO and founder, Nancy Brinker, as a possible root cause for the organization's recent decline.

In addition to her considerable annual salary of $684,000, the fact that Brinker remains at the nonprofit's helm after announcing she would be stepping down last summer does not apparently sit well with some Komen supporters, NBC News reports.

Brinker announced her departure last August after a failed attempt in January 2012 to pull grants for breast cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood caused a backlash from pro-choice Komen donors.

Weeks after announcing they would be withdrawing funds from the abortion provider, Komen reversed course.

According to Komen, Brinker will remain CEO until the charity's board can decide on a replacement, which they expect to happen at some point this summer.

The $684,000 annual salary, which according to charity watchdogs is higher than most who head nonprofits of similar size to Komen, is due to a 64 percent raise in recent years according to tax documents, NBC News reports.

"This pay package is way outside the norm," said Ken Berger, president and CEO of Charity Navigator, which evaluates and rates charities. "It's about a quarter of a million dollars more than what we see for charities of this size . . . This is more than the head of the Red Cross is making for an organization that is one-tenth the size of the Red Cross."

According to Komen Foundation spokeswoman Andrea Rader, Brinker's raise occurred in 2010, prior to the Planned Parenthood controversy, and the CEO "did not receive a pay increase in 2011 and did not accept one in 2012, nor will she receive one in 2013."

"Our CEO pay reflects the comprehensive and global nature of our work," Rader told NBC News. "We fund research; we grant to thousands of community health and breast cancer patient support programs; we advocate for access to cancer care through our public policy programs, and we're active in breast cancer programs in 30 countries, with an emphasis on serving women in low- and middle-resources nations."

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A breast cancer survivor herself, Brinker launched the Komen Foundation in 1982 to honor her sister who died from breast cancer two years earlier.

Over the past 30 years, the charity has grown to include 138 races around the world with up to 1.7 million participates.

Since its inception, Komen has raised $2 billion for research and community programs since 1982, NBC reports.

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