Your opinion: A (Pink) Bone to Pick with the Susan G. Komen Foundation
I was taken aback when I read that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure was canceling their three-day walk for breast cancer in Colorado because, according to their PR agency, “it just didn’t meet financial goals.”
Nevermind the thousands of dollars Denverites have raised in what has became one of our city’s most highly-attended and beloved charity events.
Well, the fundraising giant’s public relations staff will be working overtime over their latest controversy: They are threatening legal actions around any other event and charities that use any variation of “for the cure” in their name.
Isn’t it just swell to think of donor’s funds going to such a “worthwhile” cause?
According to a Huffington Post article:
So far, Komen has identified and filed legal trademark oppositions against more than a hundred of these Mom and Pop charities, including Kites for a Cure, Par for The Cure, Surfing for a Cure and Cupcakes for a Cure–and many of the organizations are too small and underfunded to hold their ground.
“It happened to my family,” said Roxanne Donovan, whose sister runs Kites for a Cure, a family kite-flying event that raises money for lung cancer research. “They came after us ferociously with a big law firm. They said they own ‘cure’ in a name and we had to stop using it, even though we were raising money for an entirely different cause.”
Donovan’s sister, Mary Ann Tighe, said the Komen foundation sent her a letter asking her to stop using the phrase “for a cure” in their title and to never use the color pink in conjunction with their fundraising. What bothered her most about the whole ordeal, she said, was that Komen forced her to spend money and time on legal fees and proceedings instead of raising funds for cancer.
So let me get this straight. Not only is the Susan G. Komen Foundation threatening legal action for using “for the cure,” but we’re not allowed to wear pink in association with fundraising?
Good thing I avoid pink because it clashes with my strawberry-blond hair.
I understand the importance of branding and trademark protection. Big corporations like Nintendo and Disney spend millions of dollars of dollars in the process. But doesn’t it seem like a charitable fundraising foundation shouldn’t be bullying other smaller, lesser-known charities that are just trying to make a difference for their unrelated causes?
According to Komen’s general counsel Jonathon Blum, the legal fees comprise “a very small part” of Komen’s budget but their financial statements say otherwise: Such costs add up to almost a million dollars a year in donor funds.
Susan G. Komen has indisputably raised a tremendous amount of money and has led the fight against breast cancer but it’s reports like this that make me feel like they’re getting too big for their britches. I have many dear friends who have had breast cancer and want to fight it as much as the next person.
But it won’t be through the Susan G. Komen Foundation.