Nancy Brinker may have started the Susan G. Komen foundation for all the right reasons. And may have grown it quite well. But it’s time for her to go. And she should take Karen Handel with her. (Handel supposedly is largely responsible for pushing the move out of Planned Parenthood.) It may have taken 30 years to build this organization, (having started in 1982), and only a week to all but thoroughly tarnish it. And perhaps be the beginning of its complete undoing. Had they had a better story, they might have gotten away with this. They could have gotten in front of the problem saying something like, “We’ve shifted funding from several organizations we found to not be efficiently or effectively using funds,” or something similar. But no. They came up with an obscure rule that allowed them to single out a particular organization for political reasons.

This isn’t a PR crisis per se. It’s a real fundamental problem with their organization, which hasn’t changed. They may have caved and will support the grants to Planned Parenthood now, (or not; this is still unclear), but they’ve revealed their innards for what they are. While perhaps a critically important large charity that does amazing things, there are other places to donate to support the same cause. Whenever we donate $$$ in my family, we look immediately to Guidestar.com to check out the organization’s 1099 and CharityNavigator.org to see percent that’s used for actual programs, etc. Brinker alone supposedly makes about $500K. Though it’s hard to verify the sources that claim this as her salary isn’t currently listed. [Update: Brinker makes $411,254 base salary, and then with additional compensation is $417,712 according their 2010 990 tax filing as listed on their own site. Brinker makes almost twice the amount of the next highest paid person.] Though the former CEO was at about $465K and their top execs also are in the $200K ranges, etc. They pay $18MM in consulting services alone. Their admin expense is 11.8%. Their volunteers obviously make nothing. Now in fairness, plenty of other organizations operate similarly. But, as with all things there’s levels of disgust. For certain, it’s wholly appropriate to have skilled high level executives operating high dollar and high volume organizations. And I don’t personally see any problem with them getting the kind of solid six figure salaries they might command in private Enterprise. But the question you have to ask is, “Would these same people truly be able to command similar salaries in the private sector.” Or, “Just how effective have their programs been?” And lastly, perhaps most importantly, “How effective might they be going forward?” After all, now that we’ve come to learn they’re also against stem cell research, what if it comes to pass that stem cell research is the best, most effective and fastest way to get to a cure?

Alternative organizations¬† will likely benefit from this. Die hard supporters and extreme right wing folks may continue to support Komen. Everyone else? They’ll find alternatives. It will be interesting to see the impact on participation in their next running races over the year.