Nancy Brinker, founder, President, and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure (which I'm now required to characterize as "embattled") announced yesterday that after years at the helm of the breast cancer charity, she'd be stepping down from her role to focus more on "revenue creation." Two other board members resigned on the same day, and it's not clear who will replace Brinker as she works to convince more people to give her money for the cure.
The charity's had a disastrous year — at the very end of January, Komen announced that it would be cutting off its grants to Planned Parenthood, angering women's groups, politicians, and fueling a long-whispered theory that the organization cared more about its own image than it did about actual women's health. And in the days after the announcement, it was discovered that, thanks to some highly-placed Komen officials with ideologically extreme agendas, the grant cutoff wasn't procedural, but political. The charity couldn't get its story straight — it first claimed that Planned Parenthood grants had been discontinued because the family planning organization was under Congressional investigation, but when several people pointed out that Planned Parenthood gave money to plenty of organizations and institutions that were under investigation, Nancy Brinker took it upon herself to defend Komen's actions in a series of media appearances that only made her look like Lady Who Lunched who didn't need to fully explain herself to the millions of American women who didn't want to see women's health further politicized.
Planned Parenthood's funds were eventually restored by the charity, but not before several curiously political Komen stances and questionable practices were brought to light — why had the charity supported embryonic stem cell research in 2006, and disavowed it in 2011? Why did Nancy Brinker, wealthy thanks to a profitable divorce, still earn almost half a million dollars a year and live a lavish, charity-funded lifestyle? How beholden to right-wing political pressure was the organization? And why the hell were they partnering with the dictator of Uzbekistan's socialite pop singer daughter, whose fashion line uses child slave labor? And why did the perfume the charity sold contain carcinogens? And why did the organization refuse to condemn cancer-causing chemicals used by companies that gave them lots of money? And why did they spend so much time suing other, smaller charities?