When the Susan G. Komen Foundation decided in February to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, it put that organization's ability to provide breast cancer screening programs for women in jeopardy — and was met with a backlash that still affects Komen affiliates today.
The national organization quickly reversed its stance on the issue and Karen Handel, Komen's former vice president for public policy whose conservative politics purportedly spurred the controversy, resigned just days later.
Despite that about-face, and despite the fact that, according to Komen for the Cure Houston board president Betsy Kamin, local affiliates were not given any forewarning before the initial announcement, the Planned Parenthood rift had a tangible affect on the nonprofit's bottom line.
The Planned Parenthood rift had a tangible affect on the nonprofit's bottom line.
Komen Houston garnered more than 25,000 participants for its annual Race for the Cure on Oct. 6, but still only reached 50 percent of its $3 million goal, imperiling grant funding for organizations in Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty and Montgomery counties that offer breast cancer research, education and screening, plus diagnosis and treatment services.
To fill the $1 million gap, the local chapter has announced the "Raise the Ribbon" campaign, a month-long fundraising effort that will bring in dollars to provide those grants.
Komen Houston encourages Houstonians to take part in the campaign with a "Color for the Cure" challenge, where participants promise "to dye their hair pink or to wear a funky pink outfit" if family and friends help them meet a fundraising goal by Dec. 1.