Perspectives: Corporation PINK, a ‘Race for the Profit’

Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News

OPINION – Breast Cancer Awareness Month has descended upon Southern Utah and the entire county seems to be adorned in pink; from the sea of pink clothing to the pink DIXIE letters that glow on the hillside. Maybe the text of this article should be in pink as well. The community support is incredible and I applaud anyone who engages in helping, in any capacity, those in need.

But I have to ask, is it just good public relations or is it really helping the cause?

The Susan G. Komen Foundation is a well-known worldwide charity that has demonstrated the most effective marketing campaign in the history of philanthropy. It started with a simple message and a pink ribbon in 1982, and endeavored to accomplish great things. They have done amazing things to spread awareness and education.

Major corporations, though, are jumping on the pink bandwagon in droves to peddle their wares and the foundation has supported this “corporatization” of their cause. From pretzels to automobiles, companies are cashing in on our good-hearted intentions to help. Companies are quickly realizing that slapping a pink ribbon on a product can not only increase profits but also encourage a more appealing reputation in the market place.

Yoplait yogurt, a product of General Mills, is a perfect example. For each yogurt lid sent back to the company, Yoplait gives just 10 cents to the foundation. If the average person consumed three yogurts a day for four months (the duration of the campaign) and sent in all of those lids, about $36.00 would actually go to the foundation and only a small portion of that would go to research. Yoplait on the other hand, is reigning in the profits from total sales.

Most people would be shocked to find out that in 2011, the Susan G. Komen Foundation took in almost half a billion dollars and less than 20 percent actually went to research for a cure. An additional 20-30 percent of their revenue went to education and awareness and the remaining amount went to salaries, stamps, marketing and fundraising efforts, to name a few. In fact, they spent more money on fundraising efforts than what they actually gave to research. Founder and former CEO Nancy J. Brinker reportedly received a paycheck of well over $500,000 annually and other key employees receive well over $200,000 in salaries as well.

Are these high salaries necessary?

Is the “Race for a Cure” really a “Race for Profit” now that any company can attach itself to the organization if they give a “portion” of their profits to the cause, even if it is merely a penny?

Consumers may buy a “pink” product and think they are doing more good than they are actually doing to help those in need. The companies benefit but it seems the victims of breast cancer are being short-changed. Would people give more to research if they knew their purchase of most “pink” products did little to find a cure?

Throwing more dollars at the problem may not ever result in a cure. We have no way of knowing. But, can we do more?

Foundations like Susan G. Komen need to reduce their over-inflated salaries, their high marketing budgets and their administration costs so that they can spend more on research.

Writing a check to a research company would ensure that 100 percent of funds given would go to research. Sending money to a local breast cancer charity would certainly enable transparency of funds and help our local citizenry. Instead of waiting for the meager 10 cents to work its way down the corporation “profit conveyor belt,” it may be better to help a family directly to offset their medical bills.

We can also give our time and talents to organizations to help reduce administration costs if giving money isn’t an option.

There are wonderful, local organizations that give all or most of the money to the cause they represent. Attending local walks, events and fundraisers to help our local residents would ensure that your donations were going to aid the families in need.

We can start with being aware of the disease, but we also need to be aware of how charitable donations are allocated.

To the many warrior women who are valiantly fighting against breast cancer, we hope for a cure and encourage all to give as much as they can to help in the cause. I hope that the sea of “pink” support that has blanketed our city can lift your spirits and donations will reach the entities that can benefit you the most.

 

Kate Dalley is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are hers and not necessarily representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

 

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11 Comments

  • Danette Sullivan October 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I can’t believe I just read that! I have been wondering for weeks if I was the ONLY one who felt this way. I go to the football or volleyball or soccer games all month wondering about all the pink everyone is wearing. I wonder if all those sports team would send their $85-100 for each pair of cleats or helmets x 85 players on a team to the “find a cure for cancer fund” instead of the shoe or shirt makers pocketbooks how much more of a difference we would all be making.
    Thank you, Kate, for your thoughts on this.

  • ken October 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    “Foundations like Susan G. Komen need to reduce their over-inflated salaries, their high marketing budgets and their administration costs so that they can spend more on research.”

    You think? What a farce, they spend 20 cents on the dollar. Amazing that people don’t seem to grasp the sham that this foundation has become.

  • Murat October 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    The enabling technologies for the eradication of all cancers will be genetic engineering and/or nanotechnology. Highly specialized lines of research into particular aspects of various cancers generally encounter dead ends when it comes to discovering new treatments. The most viable path is to develop an intimate understanding of the genetic code coupled with a sophisticated model that can accurately predict expressed changes derived from genetic manipulation. Cancer takes place at the cellular level, and the basis for cellular behavior is the DNA code. Master that, and all cancers, and all disease, can be things of the past. Although this article stays in kiddie pool territory, it was relevant and generally on the mark.

  • andrea rader October 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Hi, this is Andrea Rader at Komen headquarters and just wanted to clarify a number in this story and in some of these.comments. Our mission spend was 83 cents of every dollar last year (84-cents average over the past five years) and includes research, education, and funding to almost 2,000 community health organizations, paying for things like insurance co-pays, medical supplies, living expenses, groceries, even surgeries, primarily.for low-income and uninsured women. We’ve spent more than $2 billion in mission since we opened in 1982, with $750 million of that invested in research – more than any other non profit. We operate nationally and partner in 30 countries worldwide. I hope this infornation is helpful and invite readers to see our infornation on komen.org.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic October 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      Thank you, Ms. Rader – we appreciate your considerate contribution to this discussion.

      Readers, please note Ms. Dalley included a link to the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s 2010-2011 Annual Report, which includes detail on the Komen Foundation’s financial and mission statements and achievements, beyond the scope of this column and Ms. Rader’s comment addition.

      For your convenience, here again is the link to the pdf of that report:
      http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/Content/AboutUs/Financial/FY11%20report%20FINAL%20100812.pdf

      Please also note Ms. Dalley’s response to Ms. Rader by separate comments below.

      St. George News | STGnews.com
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor-in-Chief

  • Roy J October 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    @Murat: the basis for all organic behavior takes place at a cellular level, if you want to be sooper-dooper
    technical about it. I’m surprised you didn’t make the case for inorganic behavior as well, since DNA is composed of macromolecules which are, guess what, composed of molecules, which are, (you guessed it) composed of atoms that aren’t (gasp!) “alive”….know where I got that? Wikipedia. So easy a pseudo-intellectual with a library card could do it. Keep bangin’ away at that confederacy of people dumber than you, dunce.

    • Murat October 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm

      Sounds like I really get under your skin! Glad you’re enjoying the show!

  • Kate Dalley October 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    In response to Andrea Rader, the problem is two-fold. You cite in your response that the Susan G. Komen foundation has raised $2 billion in 30 years and have spent 750 million on research. That is the problem. Not even half of the money you have raised has gone to research. The other problem is that the foundation is letting companies jump on the bandwagon of PINK to sell products and although it can bring awareness, it gives people the false sense that they are doing more for the cause than they actually are by purchasing those products. The companies profit the most. Another huge problem. Salaries for foundation employees should also not be as high as they are.

  • Kate Dalley October 19, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Also, Andrea, the Susan G. Komen Foundation financials, as I linked above, sites that 685 million (not 750 million as you referenced above) was given to research grants and programs since 1982. I realize that your foundation has done more for awareness of breast cancer than any other charitable foundation, but how much more could have been done had more of the funds had gone to research? Last year it gave only 17 percent according to the financials and over all 30 years it has averaged only around 25 percent.

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