City Paper is not for tourists
Remember the flap over the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s choice to pull funding from Planned Parenthood earlier this year? In January, Komen announced it would no longer give grants to organizations under federal investigation; at the time, House Republicans were investigating Planned Parenthood for providing legal abortions, which meant no grants for Planned Parenthood. That was swiftly followed by a huge backlash (and lots of private donations to PP). Eventually the right-leaning architect of the policy stepped down from her post, Komen apologized for getting involved in a political issue, the group backtracked, and eventually reinstated funding.
A few months later, Komen is doing just fine. It’s preparing for its 2012 Race For The Cure on June 2 here in D.C., and to help, WTOP announced it would be highlighting Komen as its May “Charity of the Month.” The program, which WTOP’s Robin Newton says has been going on for more than five years, adds up to about $30,000 in free advertising for the selected charity, on both WTOP and WFED, which it also owns. “It’s pretty much to bring awareness to the organization,” Newton says.
So did the Planned Parenthood thing have any bearing on the decision? Apparently not. “They were chosen last year—we work on it almost a year out,” Newton tells us, noting that ‘TOP is already planning 2013’s charities of the month. “[The Planned Parenthood issue] was not something that had come up. We didn’t want to take it away from them.”
Breast cancer awareness raises about $6 billion a year in donations and (sometimes questionable) merchandising. On Sunday, Avon Cosmetics raised $4 million for a breast cancer walk at the Monument. It’s pretty clear that donating to breast cancer causes is always a safe bet for people looking to support a charity—unless of course, it’s a scam.
So even if we set the Planned Parenthood debacle aside—though it’s certainly worth keeping in mind—Komen hardly needs the $30,000 in free advertising it’s getting from WTOP. The organization brings in more than $300 million a year thanks to race fees and public donations, it pays its CEO Nancy Brinker $417,000 a year, and it protects its “for the cure” branding so fiercely that it steps on smaller charities in the process.
While we’re all for charitable donations (and the tax write-offs that come with them), spreading the wealth around to less secure organizations might have more of an impact. Might be worth thinking about as WTOP plans the 2013 charity calendar.
Photo by Jason Pier via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License