Pink: for the cure or for the profit?

Donating for the cure may not actually cure anything

I have very little money, and that which I do have I like to make sure goes to the correct places. When it comes to philanthropy I’m all for helping out my fellow man, woman and even abused animals, but I’d like to make sure what I’m donating is actually going to make a difference.

Let’s look at the biggest cancer fundraising company to date: The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. How much of that pink stuff actually makes a difference? Pouring over their financial statements a few things can be concluded. The foundation makes a lot of money. Their total net assets for 2010 (the most recent statements) were $245,448,321. Out of that, less than half actually goes to cancer research or finding a cure. In 2010, $140,773,507 went to public health education. What is public health education? Making people aware of the foundation and making people aware of breast cancer. How is that done, with a whole lot of pink stuff.

Race for the Cure procured a miniscule $34,034,689 in comparison. The actual research funding is $75,407,069. What’s worse is that treatments only garnered $20,137,769. Treatments meaning the Foundation physically intervening and paying for a patient’s medical bills and expenses. In total, only $124,281,660 was actually spent on trying to cure, screen or treat cancer. That means all that pink stuff isn’t actually going to cure cancer; it’s going to make more pink stuff. The Komen Foundation even states that only 34 percent goes to education. They claim that 84 percent of their income is spent on their mission.

So, the question is; what is their mission? To cure cancer, or to produce a world of pink baubles for people to buy? If we take these numbers and break them into a one dollar bill, here’s the breakdown: 34 cents would go to making more pink merchandise and advertisements, 24 cents to research, 15 cents to screening, 12 cents would go to administration, 8 cents would go to fundraising and 7 cents to treatment.

This of course is just a view of their financial statements. It doesn’t include the tax write-off companies use to put the Susan G. Komen logo on their products.

Breast cancer and cancer in general is something that has personally affected me on several occasions. I’ve lost two Aunts, a Grandma and an Uncle and two close friends. My father is a survivor, and my Aunt is currently battling cancer right now. Having any help whatsoever is a blessing, but to think that the money being donated is apportioned to making a bunch of pink stuff is to me, very disturbing.

When you donate your money, make it an educated donation. Research the company instead of just throwing money at something and feeling good about it.

The Paint Big Rapids Pink campaign had nothing to do with the Komen Foundation, and kept all proceeds local. Local families that struggle will benefit from this. There are plenty of local organizations that will take the donation and apportion it to actually making a difference in a local community. Don’t just buy pink because it’s pretty. Think about what you’re buying first.