There is not much I can say more about the Susan G. Komen Foundation debacle that hasn’t already been said. They stepped in it and were unprepared for the push back and fall out. But at the core of this mess is that Komen lost sight of what they were all about. And that was why there was such an outcry. In the Twitter and Facebook age, that outcry was immediate and fast, causing a public relations firestorm so hot that Komen had to reverse its decision about withdrawing funds from breast screenings at Planned Parenthood, so as not to be consumed by it. Yesterday, the architect of this misguided strategy, Karen Handel, resigned.
Unfortunately for them, the fire is still smoldering. The Komen Foundation now finds itself in serious repair mode and has allegedly hired high priced PR help to assist them. They have a lot of work to do to rebuild their reputation. They have a lot of explaining to do with the donors and supporters, like me, who once held them in high regard.
Reputations aren’t created, they are earned. Komen was successful, in part, because donors, large and small, trusted them; trusted that their interest was in women’s health not politics. Organizations like Komen were respected because they took the high road. That trust and goodwill has evaporated after so many years of excellent work.