Sarah Ashley – Buffalo NY
For a brief history of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month click here.
Lot$ and lot$ of Pink
This month there is pink everywhere. Pink office supplies, pink ribbons on shampoo, pink apparel, pink cellphone covers… Anything you can think of can be purchased with the reassurance that you are supporting breast cancer awareness. Companies like Procter & Gamble, Nike, Microsoft and even Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co have come out with products geared to those wanting to support breast cancer research and awareness. (And Mike’s does it while sexualizing breast cancer, an article for another day) When you purchase specific pink items, these companies will donate a minuscule amount to an organization- more often than not the Susan B Komen Foundation.
Komen for the… entrepreneur?
The Susan B Komen Foundation has become a very well-known organization and most Americans associate it with breast cancer. However, while this foundation may have been started to fight breast cancer through research and education, it is now hard to tell if it is a for-profit or a foundation. The Komen Foundation has done an amazing job with branding and marketing themselves. Most people can identify what cause this groups is affiliated with and their logo. Komen has created a vast online store selling all sorts of merchandise but nowhere does it tell you anything about how much of that money is going to their mission.
On top of having a very for-profit feel through the marketing and branding of such a large amount of merchandise, there has been serious controversy around the founder and CEO of the Komen Foundation, Nancy Brinker. Brinker has received a lot of attention when it was made publicly aware that she receives a salary of $684,000 a year. This was cause for alarm considering this far exceeds the salaries of other CEOs, like that of the Red Cross which grosses $3.4 billion a year and pays the same amount in salary to their CEO. Where as the Komen Foundation pulls in about $340 million per year.
While The Susan B. Komen Foundation is not the only group that may be viewed to be profiting from breast cancer awareness, it is alarming and requires the most attention considering it is a foundation – meaning it must adhere to higher standards transparency and ethics which corporations are not expected to follow.
Want a better way to support this cause?
Alright enough with the bad news! Let’s discuss a few alternatives to this pink product mania!
National Breast Cancer Foundation: NBCF helps individuals with early detection and providing mammograms to those in need. This organization provides support to individuals that have been diagnosed. They also distribute information in a variety of languages to ensure it’s accessible to all those that need it. To find out more about National Breast Cancer Foundation and the work they do visit: nationalbreastcancer.org
Volunteer! The National Breast Cancer Foundation has volunteer opportunities and some may be in your area. Another volunteer opportunity may involve a local support group, hospital or small non-profit in your area. This may take some looking around but the reward for volunteering within your community is worth the effort!
Hold your own event! Whether it be a walk or bake sale to raise money for a charity of your choice or a film viewing to educate and start a dialogue with peers about the importance of screening for breast cancer. Get creative!