I’m really torn about the news that Susan G. Komen for the Cure is spending a lot of time and money hunting down any organization who uses the phrase “For the Cure” to raise money and/or awareness for breast cancer research. Because Cupcakes for a Cure is such big competition in the same goal to beat breast cancer.
In fact, even though Komen is aggressively laying claim to the “For the Cure” (and related “the cure”) branding, it turns out they could do more to spread their wealth around to fund research to cure breast cancer. According to this breakdown, Komen only doled out 17% of the more than $331 million raised in 2009.
As someone who has not only donated, organized teams to run their races, and otherwise cheerleader for the organization, I am deeply disappointed at this news. I get that Komen has a brand and they have the right to protect it. But when does brand protection become a frivolous waste of donated dollars? And what of the primary goal? Are Kites for the Cure really taking away from the cause or merely another (small) avenue toward the same goal?
I really hope that Komen can aim some of their efforts and some institutional self examination. Maybe they need to remember why they are in this. Maybe they need to refocus their own efforts back toward the prize: a cure.
And we consumers and donors need to keep our eyes open, too. We have to watch out for pink washing in product marketing and stay make sure that the organizations we support stay focused and vigilant.