Not All Stakeholders Are Equal

Not All Stakeholders Are Equal

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

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 Maryland, in Texas and all over the damn place. 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.” That’s a whole lot of green for all that pink. Hall notes that’s about twice what the organization’s chief financial officer, Mark Nadolny, or former president Liz Thompson were making. And as Peggy Orenstein points out on her blog Monday, it’s considerably more than the average nonprofit CEO salary of $132,739.

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

Giving Brinker a raise is probably not in the best interest of contributors or cancer patients. Theoretically, these are the key stakeholders for Komen for the Cure.

Really? Are they the key stakeholders? Why does the money not indicate that?

Because if there is anything we can be sure of, it is this, “How people use money tells us a lot about what they are trying to do.”

Is the organization using the bulk of its contributions to find a cure? How much of the organization is literally philanthropic?

I’ll let you work through that.

However, I will note that this an example of the free market in action – private money solving serious health problems afflicting millions. It is possible that some of you don’t see the efficiency in this model of free enterprise. I don’t either.

James Pilant

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