Nancy Brinker is founder and CEO of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. She has done a lot of good for American women in her sister’s name.
However, in announcing her foundation will no longer issue grant money to Planned Parenthood, another organization that has done a lot of good for American women, Brinker has clearly caved to political pressure. Whether she was threatened with the loss of some sort of political advantage or favor or simply yielded to the wishes of Komen vice president Karen Handel and her own Republican leanings, we may never know.
What is obvious is that the decision is costing Komen dearly in lost reputation, and reputations don’t come cheap. As with individuals, it takes years to build a great reputation and only one bad decision to destroy it.
Rather than continuing to defend her ill-advised decision (it is her organization, after all), Brinker should fall on her sword, admit to making a bad mistake, and rescind the decision. At the same time, she should fire Handel. Organizations dedicated to women’s health should be pulling together to advance that goal, not undercutting one another in pursuit of a political agenda. And such organizations should not knowingly employ women like Handel, who in 2010 campaigned openly on an anti-abortion platform and frequently denounced Planned Parenthood. Brinker herself is a big Republican contributor, but if she values her organization’s reputation, she must choose health care for more women over partisan politics.
Planned Parenthood will survive this poorly disguised attack by its opponents. But if the Komen Foundation is to maintain its reputation, Brinker must reverse course and put as much distance as possible between herself and Handel.
Also on Pied Type:
AP confirms Handel’s role in Komen’s Planned Parenthood decision