But what remains an issue with Komen (aside from the group’s newfound willingness to take political stances on women’s issues, a topic for another day) is where those programming dollars are spent. The group in 2010 spent $140 million, or roughly 40 percent of its total donations, on awareness education efforts.
This is a lot better than spending that money on lavish galas, but it might be a surprise to those who donate to Komen after reading their well-publicized stories of patient treatments funded. (They might also be shocked to know Komen spent hundred of thousands on lawyers to prevent other charities from using the trademarked phrase “for the cure.” Again, for another day.)
We would argue this was a noble cause 30 years ago, but today, what with pink football helmets all October, the battle for awareness is won. As a people, we are about as aware as we’re going to get.
So let all charities take notice and consider a shift toward eradication of this disease and all forms of cancers. To use Komen as an example again, the group in 2010 spent just over one-third the amount of money on patient care (including on subsidizing mammograms and clinical exams) as it did on awareness efforts. At this point in the fight, where was the money better spent? Education will always be a part of the fight, but we have come to a turning point in the war.
And to those who wish to do good on their own, take Schneiderman’s efforts to heart and do your part to know where your donations are going before opening your wallet. A good place to start is a resource like charitynavigator.org, where you’ll find breakdowns and ratings on well-known charities. Make your dollars count, because it really is a matter of life and death.