Why did Komen for the Cure give Nancy Brinker a 64 percent raise?

“Why did Komen for the Cure give Nancy Brinker a 64 percent raise?” By Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon.com.

Komen, already under fire for shrinking contributions for breast cancer research, paid its CEO $684,000 last year.

In 2012, the breast cancer organization ignited a firestorm by announcing it was pulling its funding for breast cancer screenings and services for Planned Parenthood – and then had to hastily and ineptly apologize, then backpedal. It watched as its conspicuously conservative vice president for public policy Karen Handel resigned in the wake of the scandal. It saw registrations for its events decline in Marylandin Texas and all over. It squirmed at increasing questions over why an organization that features the words “the cure” so heavily in its promotion, that boasts how its “research investment has changed the breast cancer landscape,” devotes a minuscule and declining portion of its dollars to actually finding one.

Turns out that in 2011, it spent just 15 percent of its donations on research — nearly half of what it did just a few years prior. And, significantly, its founder, Nancy Brinker, the woman whose vow to the sister she lost to cancer has served as the organization’s poignant, relatable narrative, stepped down as its CEO. In August, Brinker announced she was taking on a new role, as chairwoman of the executive committee. (She is, however, still listed as its CEO and founder on the Komen site. Komen says it’s still looking for her replacement.) In short, the whole series of fiascoes was so appalling that Deanna Zandt, author of “Share This! How You Will Change the World With Social Networking,” called the Komen fiasco a teachable “example of what not to do.”

Yet after more than a year of bad publicity and declining participation, Brinker herself seems to be doing just fine. As Cheryl Hall pointed out this weekend in the Dallas Morning News, Brinker made “$684,717 in fiscal 2012, a 64 percent jump from her $417,000 salary from April 2010 to March 2011.”

 

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