Research, Early Detection, Survivor Support, Advocacy

A Message to Our Supporters

February 4, 2012 - 8:47am

Dear Komen Supporter,

As you can imagine, this has been a difficult week at our Affiliate in light of Komen Headquarters’ announcement of their change in grant policies for Affiliates. Most notably, there has been an outcry of concern regarding how this change in policy affects a long-time grant partner, Planned Parenthood.

It’s difficult to communicate all the details in the news media, and as a valued supporter of our local affiliate our hope is that this e-mail will provide even more context to the happenings of the last few days, our local affiliate point of view, actions and outcomes.

Late Thursday afternoon, our local Board of Directors sent a message to our entire eblast supporter list (85,000+), announcing our OPPOSITION to this change in guidelines because we believed it was overly restrictive and could put many grantees unnecessarily at risk of losing funding, thus restricting access to screening or care. Specifically, our point of view is that limiting organizations that are under investigation was not the right place to draw the line. This statement was also made clear to the senior leadership at Komen Headquarters. As of Friday, Komen Headquarters has announced a reversal in this overly restrictive policy.

To be clear, Komen is neither pro-choice nor pro-life. We are simply pro women’s health and making sure that the women in our community have access to care and resources related to breast health and breast cancer, especially those that live in the margins with limited means.

We know that some of you may have had questions from friends and have even wondered about how you might respond in light of this unfolding situation. A few things that we want to make sure you know are factual:

  • The grant policies developed by Komen Headquarters were standards for the Affiliates to follow in making community grant decisions. All Komen Affiliates serve their local communities by funding screening, education, outreach and survivor support services. Currently, there are a handful of Affiliates across the US who have been funding Planned Parenthood with restricted grants for the sole purpose of providing clinical breast exams to women who are uninsured or underinsured.

  • The Oregon and SW Washington Affiliate has never funded Planned Parenthood locally. Planned Parenthood in Oregon has never applied to us for grant funding.

  • Our Affiliate’s screening programs are administered through collaboration with the state of Oregon and the state of Washington. On an annual basis, we are able to help fund 8,000 mammograms for uninsured and underinsured women in Oregon alone.

  • The amount that our Affiliate funded the state of Oregon to provide full breast screenings (a clinical breast exam and mammogram) in our current fiscal year is $575,000; in SW Washington that figure is $100,000 for the same time period. By comparison, the cumulative total of Planned Parenthood funding by Affiliates across the US in the current year is $680,000. We only use this number as a basis of comparison to show the depth of impact that our local screening program provides on in our community. By withdrawing or redirecting any support of Komen, donors are hurting the very people in our community who we must help.

  • For the past 20 years, the Oregon and SW Washington Affiliate has invested over $20 million into our local community with the explicit purpose of providing resources, support, education, and screening to our community.

Komen Oregon would like to express our sincere gratitude to all who called, emailed and posted about Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s community grant policy change. We are thankful to all who have passionately voiced their concerns about the importance of preserving access to breast cancer screening and treatment for women in need.

Komen Oregon is pleased that the national policy change regarding community grant eligibility has been reversed. We apologize for the distraction and regret the recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives. Komen Oregon’s commitment to our mission is and will always be, unwavering.
We appreciate your support.

Sincerely,

The Oregon & SW Washington Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure