Sponsors oftentimes find themselves caught in political entanglements where they are forced to make a decision to stay the course or make a change. Longtime sponsor darling and advocate for breast cancer research Susan G. Komen for the Cure has recently found themselves in the middle of a heated political media frenzy over their initial decision to reallocate funding away from Planned Parenthood.
We know the political side of the story but now let’s talk about this from a sponsorship standpoint. As an advocate for women’s health and finding a cure for breast cancer, the Komen foundation generates millions of dollars each year through numerous fundraisers and charitable donors. The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure fundraiser attracts national sponsors such as Yoplait, Bank of America and Ford Motor Company among others who generously donate for the cause. These companies also represent Komen’s Million Dollar Council Elite in which each company individually donates a minimum of one million dollars annually to the foundation along with companies including American Airlines, New Balance, Caterpillar and others.
The move by Komen to defund Planned Parenthood has been condemned by many as a blow to women who cannot afford or do not have access to alternative health services. This money is entrusted to Komen with the confidence it will be appropriately allocated to work towards a cure for breast cancer. Dress it how you like – more stringent grant policies on Komen’s end or the outsourcing of mammograms and other women’s health services on the part of Planned Parenthood – Komen decided they could no longer afford to support an organization which could not guarantee funds given would be used solely toward intended health services. Ultimately, heavy political pressure was enough to persuade Susan G. Komen for the Cure to change its position and accept grant applications from Planned Parenthood. Now the Komen foundation is under the media microscope once again as critics argue, how can Komen take money from sponsors under investigation, when they say they won’t give to organizations under investigation.
Many long-time supporters of Susan G. Komen for the Cure have parted ways with the non-profit as a result of these seemingly hypocritical policies. Komen created a double standard when they accepted support from sponsors such as Bank of America who has been the target of several federal investigations recently yet claimed their organization could not accept grant applications from organizations under investigation. Many have taken to social media to express their frustration with the foundation which has left Susan G. Komen for the Cure with an undeniably tarnished image.
We witnessed similar political backlash in December when Lowe’s opted to remove its television ads from timeslots which centered around the TLC show All American Muslim. Now the question remains as to what will be the long-term effects of this political frenzy on the Komen foundation?