Former Komen CEO Celebrated Disastrous Year With $684,717 Salary

Illustration for article titled Former Komen CEO Celebrated Disastrous Year With $684,717 Salary

It's been a bad year for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. As one of the best-funded cancer organizations in the U.S., and the most recognizable face of the fight against breast cancer, the non-profit came under fire after it unceremoniously pulled its support from Planned Parenthood last year, sloppily handled the expected fallout, and then nervously apologized, re-pledging support for Planned Parenthood. After it was revealed that the Planned Parenthood pull was orchestrated by Komen's anti-choice Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Karen Handel, Handel defensively resigned, and proceeded to launch an ant-Planned Parenthood book called Planned Bullyhood. Shit hit the fan over at Komen headquarters, and people definitely took notice.

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So after a year of bad PR, with plunges in donations and event participation, you'd think the former CEO of Komen, Nancy Brinker, would take one for the team and keep her modest $417,000 yearly salary, which is, by the way, well above the average non-profit CEO salary of $132,739 and the $120,000 salary of her predecessor. But instead of taking a salary cut, or at least keeping her salary from 2011, Brinker received a lovely 64 percent increase for 2012. The Dallas Morning News reported that Brinker made $684,717 in FY 2012 compared to $417,000 in FY 2011.

Brinker is no stranger to a life of opulence. While she was employed full-time at the State Department under the Bush administration, she billed Komen $133,507 in expenses like "speech-writing" and "office personnel work." Her personal wealth, acquired from her 2003 divorce from millionaire Norman Brinker, could attribute to her fondness for Brinker's lavish requests. (She insists on being called "Ambassador Brinker" by her employees.)

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Brinker's unexplained pay raise comes at the heels of the most disastrous year in the Komen's history, especially after the non-profit is under scrutiny for its division of funds. In 2011, only 15 percent of its donations were for research grants, down from 17 percent in 2009 and 2010, and 29 percent in 2008. The 2011 financial statements reveal that Komen spent 43 percent of its donations on education, 18 percent on fund-raising and administration, 15 percent on research awards and grants, 12 percent on screenings and 5 percent on treatment, according to Reuters.

For a charitable organization like Komen to remain reputable, donors' trust is crucial. Komen's philanthropic mission, the reason the organization has become the behemoth of charity that it is now, has been lost in dubious moves and less than altruistic financials. Wonder how Brinker will politely explain this one away.

[Salon]

Image via Getty Images

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DISCUSSION

gingergetthepopcorn
Ginger, get the popcorn!

Okay, the "Ambassador" dig isn't really fair—it's not uncommon for people to retain the title after they've left the post, since it's a lifelong title. It's a bit hoity-toity to be all "call me Ambassador Brinker," but it's not unheard of, and certainly isn't unreasonable.

That said, does anyone really take Komen seriously anymore? With the number of articles lambasting the "pink-washing" of the issue, plus the PP fuck-up and weirdly political leadership, plus the fact that very little of their money goes to actually preventing or treating breast cancer, I'd be surprised if they really ever recover from the last year or two. I mean, they seem to have impressive ties to political hotshots, and I guess if they want to pivot to the right to cater to a particular group of people who care about women in a particular way, then they might. But I think a lot of mainstream America and mainstream women's health advocates are done with them.