We have all heard about the reversal of the Komen Foundation’s pulling of funds from Planned Parenthood. Many cheered the news. Nancy Pelosi said, “When women speak out, women win.” But is it all so simple?
The actual words of Nancy Brinker, CEO of the Komen Foundation, do not, in fact, reverse anything. “We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants,” her official statement announced yesterday. The Foundation was already posed to honor the previously approved grants to Planned Parenthood in their cut-off statement earlier this week. This new statement’s intention seems to want to shift the focus away from their possible political chicanery and present themselves in a more above-board, bipartisan, apolitical, might I say, charitable way.
Brinker added, “We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue.” This seems more to the point. There still is no commitment to supporting Planned Parenthood in the future. There still is no commitment to prevent the cutting off of any of their funding. Planned Parenthood can still be denied funding in future grant requests. Now you see it. Now you don’t.
Last year, the Komen Foundation partnered with KFC to raise money toward breast cancer awareness. In actual fact, the amount of buckets sold had nothing to do with how much money KFC gave the Foundation (read the very small print at the very bottom of the image above, just below “en espanol”). But on its surface, people thought that by buying buckets of fried chicken (loaded with fat, fried in oil at high temperatures, filled with MSG and other suspect additives, and the chicken itself of dubious raising and processing techniques—all possible cancer producing causes in humans) would help the cause of eradicating breast cancer “FOREVER.” What kind of hypocrisy was that? A well thought out partnership, eh? Get cancer to end cancer. Makes a lot of sense.
Well, from a marketing and profit-making point of view it sure does. Keep the logo a hot commodity for sale to the highest bidders without a thought to the consequences of the decision. Preventing cancer? What was that mission again? And the ancillary pink products? Don’t forget those. Consumers feeling good, buying pink, without really understanding that any of the money ends up where the buyer thinks it does. Breast cancer is big business.
What this teaches all of us is that charity can be a shill game too and the most disturbing aspect is that it can profit from and prey on our deepest and most profound, sincerest and most heartfelt intentions. And to believe that charities are somehow exempt from the vicissitudes of politics is naive at best (see previous post). Stephen Colbert’s take on the partnerships between corporations and charities, including KFC and the Komen Foundation, is well worth the watch in the video below.
I know that I have learned my lesson about where to put my support and money for causes that are important to me–locally where I can see it work, sometimes even for people I know. I want to make sure my contributions keep the most deserving people, the people for whom my contributions are intended, in the pink.Vodpod videos no longer available.