Susan G. Komen Foundation
Wherever you look lately you see somebody collecting money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Whether it’s Yoplait, American Airlines, Dell, ReMax, Ford, KFC, Pottery Barn or Payless someone has something pink so they can donate to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I used to think this was great so when I started selling myPink Paddles and wanted to donate money to the Komen Foundation I was a bit disappointed when they told me I could give them my money but I couldn’t use their name.
I wanted people to know where the money was going to be donated to make it more legitimate but I couldn’t do that with the Komen Foundation unless I agreed to donating some exhorbiant amount of money. Since I couldn’t guarantee that amount of money I turned to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and they were more than happy to allow me to give my money to them and even let me use their name.
It only made sense when we started Mush for a Cure to give the National Breast Cancer Foundation our money. It wasn’t much money in 2007, I think around $3000. But in 2007 we raised $13,000.00, 2008 we donated $25,000.00 and in 2009 we gave $30,000 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. We were thrilled and proud of our mushers who did such an excellent job at getting pledges to participate in the Mush for a Cure. The National Breast Cancer Foundation was also happy to get a large donation but unfortunately it was too much.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation wasn’t happy. In fact they are prepared to enter into a lawsuit with us regarding the name Mush for a Cure. They believe they are the only ones entitled to use any word in front of the words "for a cure" or "for the cure." They aren’t concerned with little fundraisers in small towns that don’t receive any media but when the dollar amounts get bigger they become very interested. They are worried we will make them look bad because if we’re using the term, "for a cure" then we must be giving to them and affiliated with them. So, I asked if we could use the name Mush for a Cure if we gave our money to them and their answer was, "No."
I wonder who would make who look bad? Their CEO was paid $531,924.00 in 2009. Their payroll was $22,090,760.00 plus over 1.8 million dollars in professional fundraising fees. There are first class travel expenses, housing allowances and many more expenses that probably add to the salary. They have 289 employees but the salaries aren’t split evenly across the board since 23 of them are paid more than $100,000 a year. You can check it out online if you want to see over 80 pages of public tax details and the fact over $500,000.00 is spent annually on legal fees. Plus an additional 18 million that could be used in lawsuits depending upon their classification of "other" expenses and contracted labor.
The whole reason I am writing this blog is because when I was shopping in Duluth on Saturday I wouldn’t purchase anything that was giving money to the Komen Foundation. I’m making buying decisions because of the Komen Foundation endorsement but I don’t think they are the decisions retailers would want me to be making. I’m not sure it is a good thing for these businesses to be aligning themselves with the Komen Foundation. I sure look at them differently now than I did before they were willing to spend money on a lawsuit to prevent us from using "for a cure" or "for the cure". And if Yoplait is going to go against me in court then I’m going to eat Dannon yogurt from now on because they support the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
And by the way, does anyone have a suggestion for a name for the Mush for a Cure event? Our budget doesn’t contain a line item for legal, first class travel or salaries…