KomenWatch is a public service website (www.komenwatch.org) dedicated to sharing information and generating critical discussion about Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the largest breast cancer fundraiser in the world, and whose stated mission is to “end breast cancer forever” and work “for the cure.”
Link to Press Release
What Does KomenWatch Do?
KomenWatch gathers and digests relevant articles and information about breast cancer and Komen’s role in breast cancer advocacy dating back to the early 1990s. We scour news sources and social media, medical journals, other breast cancer organizations, activist communities, and information from everyday citizens for insight into the inner workings of the foundation. We provide this information in one convenient archive. Our website is easily searchable, includes links to sources, has straightforward categorization, and provides editorial analyses where relevant. It highlights key people, quotes, and moments in Komen’s history as well as confidential allegations about tactics the foundation uses to maintain its prominent status and other rumors rarely reported by mainstream media.
Why Do We Watch Komen?
Because Komen has garnered significant public attention and revenue—largely due to political affiliations and corporate relationships—it sets the stage and holds the purse for breast cancer related activities, awareness messages, fundraising strategies, research, and public policy. Although Komen is only one of over 1400 organizations working on breast cancer issues in the United States, its high profile and considerable budget sets it apart from the rest of the breast cancer movement. As such, the organization must be held to the highest standards of excellence, leadership, accountability, transparency, and outcomes. KomenWatch shares the intricacies of Komen’s approach to breast cancer.
Why Does Vigilance Matter?
Since it’s founding in 1982 Komen has contributed positively to the breast cancer cause. As part of a diverse and vibrant advocacy movement, Komen helped to heighten the visibility of breast cancer as a women’s health issue, elevate the importance of survivorship, raise money to fund education and outreach programs and to provide seed money for select research projects, bring attention to underserved populations, and transform the pink ribbon into a common logo. However, the actions that made Komen successful in the past now undermine its ability to achieve its ultimate mission.
At KomenWatch, we are deeply concerned that Komen’s funding relationships, program allocations, awareness messages, educational materials, and general organizational conduct are no longer in accordance with the spirit of its nonprofit status, nor are they aligned to its basic mission of ending breast cancer forever. Numerous sources over the years have pointed out that:
- Komen partners with companies that have conflicts of interest, undermining the organization’s credibility and potential to achieve its mission.
- Komen’s program allocations are tipped heavily away from research and toward activities that are not likely to eradicate the disease.
- Komen’s branding practices and trademark conflicts with other organizations do not promote goodwill or collaboration among other organizations, even those that share its mission.
- Though Komen repeatedly boasts about its high ratings on Charity Navigator, such ratings say nothing about the quality of Komen’s programs, the services it provides, nor whether the foundation’s overhead costs embedded within its program budgets are reasonable. The organization may not be as effective or fiscally efficient as it appears on the surface.
- Komen’s education and awareness activities are geared toward publicity, fund-raising, and the dissemination of information about breast cancer that does not adequately attend to scientific controversies and bodies of scientific evidence.
- Komen’s current organizational structure and approach to breast cancer eradication is at odds with its own mission, and with individuals and organizations that are working to eradicate breast cancer while improving public health and support for the diagnosed.
- Komen’s operations appear to be more similar to that of a “for-profit corporation” than of a “non-profit charitable organization.”
As a leader within the breast cancer movement, Komen must answer to the public and to the breast cancer movement at large. Because we want to see the eradication of breast cancer, KomenWatch is committed to keeping our eyes and ears open.
If you would like to tell us about your direct experiences with the Komen organization, positive or negative, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.