Denver Affiliate to National Komen for a Cure: Oh, Put a Sock in It

You can’t roll your eyes much louder than this without pulling a muscle. As the national Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation pulled Planned Parenthood’s grant funding this week, its Denver affiliate went rogue, announcing that Planned Parenthood will receive a grant for the upcoming grant cycle, through March of 2013.

According to a Facebook post by the Denver affiliate, Komen has granted its Denver branch a special exemption permitting Denver-area Planned Parenthood health centers to receive funding. Komen grants to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains are used to detect breast cancer and educate patients about breast health.

Full text and more info after the jump:

Here’s Komen’s Denver affiliate’s full-length Facebook announcement. I’ve added paragraphs for easy reading, but you can view the original (and give Denver’s Komen a “like” for supporting women’s health) on Facebook.

Recently, Susan G. Komen for the Cure® has been criticized for changes in its’ grants program criteria that has resulted in Planned Parenthood no longer being eligible to receive Komen community grant funds.

The Denver Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® has been granted an exception for the Affiliate to fund Planned Parenthood for the grant cycle April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013 pending the Grant Review Committee and Board of Directors approval of their grant application.

The Affiliate closely monitors all grantees to guarantee the awarded funds are used as intended and NOT used outside the scope of our promise to end breast cancer. The monitoring includes 6-month, 9-month and final reports; site visit; and quarterly coalition meetings.

This year the Colorado’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program, the Women’s Wellness Connection Program (WWC), suffered a budget reduction and nearly 5,500 women will not be able to access services through this life-saving program and 85 cancers may go undiagnosed. The community is looking to Komen Denver Affiliate to provide the services the state can no longer fund.

In 2010, the Affiliate grant awarded to Planned Parenthood was responsible for finding 19% of the breast cancers discovered through Komen dollars. Also, they provided breast health/cancer education to 2,264 women, 601 clinical breast examinations and referred and paid for 57 mammograms. 125 women were referred for additional diagnostics.

Now more than ever Komen Denver Metropolitan Affiliate has a responsibility to support the underserved community and we will continue to help ensure that all women have access to quality breast health care.”

And, as long as we’re quoting things, let’s go ahead and quote Komen for a Cure’s spankin’ new Vice President, former pro-life gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel:

“I will be a pro-life governor who will work tirelessly to promote a culture of life in Georgia…. I believe that each and every unborn child has inherent dignity, that every abortion is a tragedy, and that government has a role, along with the faith community, in encouraging women to choose life in even the most difficult of circumstances…. since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.”

But, of course, the defunding of Planned Parenthood by Komen for a Cure has nothing to do with politics, right, spokeswoman Leslie Aun?

A spokeswoman for the Komen foundation, Leslie Aun, told The Associated Press that the main factor in the decision was a new rule adopted by Komen that prohibits grants to organizations being investigated by local, state or federal authorities. Ms. Aun told The A.P. that Planned Parenthood was therefore disqualified from financing because of an inquiry being conducted by Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, who is looking at how Planned Parenthood spends and reports its money.

Okay, then.

I hereby call on any pro-choice Senator or Congressional representative to place Susan G. Komen for a Cure under investigation, and see if they continue spending money on their own work. If any politically motivated “investigation” can bar an organization from providing free and low-cost mammograms with critical Komen foundation dollars, let’s see how serious they really are about following that “new rule,” shall we?

In the meantime, I’ll be sending a thank-you note to Denver’s Komen affiliate for its courage. Please join me:

Komen Denver

1835 Franklin Street

Denver, CO 80218


About ProgressiveCowgirl

Colorado native, young professional, progressive cowgirl. 4-term FPE (aka masochist).

30 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. nancycronk says:

    If anyone thinks cancer research is not political, they have never read The China Study.

    • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

      But let’s not let it spread to the provision of mammography and other cancer detection methods to low-income women. I think everyone can agree that early detection of breast cancer is a good thing.

  2. JeffcoBlue says:

    But isn’t Honey Badger taken in Colorado? I want to look at Honey Badger and think Gessler, not good guys!

    Just saying.

  3. UglyAmerican says:

    Last time around Komen was intimidated by anti-choice protestors at their events and withdrew funding for PP. Gutless then, worse than gutless now.

    I’m very impressed by Komen Denver fighting back – wonder how long that lasts?

  4. Pita says:

    Thanks PC for posting.  

  5. ModerateGal says:

    Funding decisions for the 2012-2013 grant period have not yet been determined. The Denver Affiliate received an exception for Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood for the upcoming grant cycle, but they still have to get through the Community Review Panel and approval by the Affiliate’s Board of Directors. See the bolded (by me) section below.

    The Denver Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the CureВ® has been granted an exception for the Affiliate to fund Planned Parenthood for the grant cycle April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013 pending the Grant Review Committee and Board of Directors approval of their grant application.

  6. Progressive Promoter says:

    When I saw the news on Facebook last night, I was so pissed I immediately clicked on to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains to donate. I encourage others to do the same to ensure low-income women get the mammograms and other cancer screening they need.

    What a PR disaster for the national Komen organization. Bet this hurts them big-time.  

  7. dwyer says:

    The Obama’s administration decision to require Catholic institutions to provide health insurance to their employees that includes free coverage for contraceptives and the morning after pill has the institutional church up in arms.  The Bishops required that a letter be read in all the parishes in the WHOLE country condemning this rule and demanding that Catholics protest. Catholic doctrine forbids artificial contraception and so the Bishops argue that this violates their free practice of religion.

    I am not a catholic, but I this has been reported in various venues.

    Now, PLEASE, I do not want to debate the merits of the case; I want to point out the political implications of the situation.

  8. DaftPunk says:

    Continues its support because of the outstanding success PPRM has had.

    Of Denver Komen’s grant funds, PPRM receives %4 of the money, and made %19 of the cancer diagnoses.  

  9. BlueCat says:

    three different e-mail petitions and counting. And Komen has the nerve to accuse PP of politicizing the issue? Komen can stand for supporting women’s health or they can pander to the anti-women’s health right but they can’t pretend that shutting down PP doesn’t put women at higher risk for death from breast cancer, other cancers and all kinds of medical issues. They’re decision hurts women. Period.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      It is a fundamental breach of caring about women as it’s sole purpose.  If one branch refuses to go along with the national leadership then they will overwhelm the local branch with anti-abortion women and carry out a purge but it will only weaken the organization in the long run to be corrupted by ideologues.  The days of a single organization that cares about detecting and treating breast cancer are over.

  10. I’m glad Denver Komen recognizes the immense benefits provided by RMPP, but it sounds like despite the waiver Denver Komen will still have to run the gauntlet in order to get their 19% return on 4% investment.

    I’ll just direct my money at Planned Parenthood instead; maybe the Denver org can tell the national org just how much they screwed up later this year.

  11. ajb says:

    One of Komen’s own affiliates withdrew its support as well. The Connecticut affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure said in a statement on Wednesday that it “shares” people’s frustration over the decision and that it will continue funding Planned Parenthood of New England.

    And check out the forums at

    People are not happy with Komen and are supporting PP.

  12. ModerateGal says:

    I understand the desire to punish Komen and send dough to PPRM instead of the Denver Affiliate, but withdrawing support from the Denver Affiliate will hurt other organizations that receive funding from the Denver Affiliate. While this might turn into a fundraising boon for PPRM, decreased funding to the Denver Affiliate will impact other organizations. Services will be cut and underserved breast cancer patients in the Affiliate’s service area, which includes 19 counties, will suffer. Check out the Denver Affiliate’s list of grantees. Decreased funds will directly impact these organizations and reduce other valuable services provided to Colorado breast cancer patients.

    • ajb says:

      It’s a Komen against affordable-care-for-women issue driven by narrow-minded, ideologically blinded leadership. Komen’s leadership has abandoned their mandate to fight breast cancer so they can fight in the pro/anti-abortion culture war. They no longer deserve our support.

    • Aristotle says:

      At least some of the money given to the Denver affiliate will go to the national org. And it’s probably possible to give directly to these groups as well, isn’t it?

      While this episode has really blown up the national Komen group’s politics for all to see, I understand that there has been grumbling about them for quite some time now. Everything from pushing other blatant social-conservative agenda to suing mom and pop businesses that dare use the word “cure” or the color pink, to partnering with ethically-challenged businesses, to NOT pushing for environmental and FDA regulations that might, you know, cut back on the carcinogens present in everything.

      There comes a point when you have to question how much bad you have to take with the good. And I don’t say this lightly. My mother is a breast cancer survivor, and so is a friend from my old neighborhood. Breast cancer has touched my life and it’s very likely that Komen’s work made their treatments and recovery plans possible.

      But past successes don’t excuse current abuses, and putting the lives of millions of poor women at risk is unacceptable. The Denver affiliate will not be able to maintain autonomy on this matter peacefully unless the national organization reverses its decision. And if it does, there’s all that other baggage to consider.

      I hate for there to be collateral damage to the other good organizations who receive Komen funding, but continuing to support an organization that’s so clearly lost its way for the sake of these groups, especially when there are alternatives, simply isn’t an acceptable option any more.

      • ModerateGal says:

        At least some of the money given to the Denver affiliate will go to the national org. And it’s probably possible to give directly to these groups as well, isn’t it?

        Yes and yes.

        People wanting to help underserved cancer patients (men and women), but not wanting to go through Komen can donate directly to other organizations. There’s a plethora of organizations providing direct services to cancer patients in need of critical services while they fight cancer.

        • Aristotle says:

          It’s good to know which groups they are and how to reach them.

          • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

            ACS funding helped a woman of my acquaintance get a mammogram recently.

            I did a quick Charity Navigator check, and found a breast cancer specific charity with a four star rating. However, their fundraising efficiency is quite poor.

            Slightly more efficient breast cancer charity…

            Not many Colorado cancer orgs — Ronald McDonald House Charities of Denver was the highest-rated.

            • ModerateGal says:

              organizations currently funded by the Denver Affiliate that may be caught in the crossfire if people choose to boycott the Denver Affiliate and support PPRM directly. Nothing against the organizations you linked to, just trying to keep focused on orgs that may experience, as Ari put it, collateral damage from this uproar.

              I am not familiar with mammo services provided in CO by ACS or either of the other organizations that you reference. ACS provides patient navigators, wigs, rides, research, but I’m not aware of them providing dollars directly for treatment or treatment support. Same for the other breast ca orgs you linked to. I’m not aware of either providing direct services in Colorado. Perhaps someone else can enlighten us.

              Lots of good, small cancer organizations in CO with feet on the ground providing direct services to CO cancer patients in need. When people support CO organizations, $$$ stays in CO and helps Coloradans.

              • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

                I clicked a link that had your comment above Ari’s as the top comment, and reading it that way, it looks like he was sarcastically thanking you for the link that wasn’t provided — when in fact he was actually thanking you for a link you did provide. I thought he was looking for an org to give to and getting nowhere.

                Any idea why the small groups aren’t in Charity Navigator, BTW?

                • ModerateGal says:

                  As far as why they aren’t in Charity Navigator, I have no idea. I don’t think Charity Navigator is the one and only definitive source for researching nonprofit organizations. I’m not certain, but maybe organizations have to apply to be listed on Charity Navigator.

                  For Colorado organizations, try looking them up in the CO SOS’s database. Nonprofits are required to file an annual charitable solicitations report with the SOS. People can also research CO NPOs through Each org on is required to maintain specific info, including financial info, on their profile pages. That written, organizations are not required to be on People can also research nonprofits through

                  Hopefully this info is helpful.

                  • Local Komen organizations throughout the country are turning on their national parent.  If the national board isn’t quick, they’re either all going to be out on their collective asses, or they’re going to find themselves without an organization as the locals re-affiliate to some new national group.

                    The local orgs aren’t on CN probably because they’re too closely related to the parent org to be considered independent.  See the fact that even with this “exemption”, Denver Komen will apparently need to clear its budget with the national org.

  13. Fidel's dirt nap says:

    and that other donations to them in the past 24 hours have skyrocketed, to around $ 400 K total.

  14. DaftPunk says:

    Top Susan G. Komen Official Resigned Over Planned Parenthood Cave-In

    But three sources with direct knowledge of the Komen decision-making process told me that the rule was adopted in order to create an excuse to cut-off Planned Parenthood. (Komen gives out grants to roughly 2,000 organizations, and the new “no-investigations” rule applies to only one so far.) The decision to create a rule that would cut funding to Planned Parenthood, according to these sources, was driven by the organization’s new senior vice-president for public policy, Karen Handel, a former gubernatorial candidate from Georgia who is staunchly anti-abortion and who has said that since she is “pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.” (The Komen grants to Planned Parenthood did not pay for abortion or contraception services, only cancer detection, according to all parties involved.) I’ve tried to reach Handel for comment, and will update this post if I speak with her.

    The decision, made in December, caused an uproar inside Komen. Three sources told me that the organization’s top public health official, Mollie Williams, resigned in protest immediately following the Komen board’s decision to cut off Planned Parenthood. Williams, who served as the managing director of community health programs, was responsible for directing the distribution of $93 million in annual grants. Williams declined to comment when I reached her yesterday on whether she had resigned her position in protest, and she declined to speak about any other aspects of the controversy.

    But John Hammarley, who until recently served as Komen’s senior communications adviser and who was charged with managing the public relations aspects of Komen’s Planned Parenthood grant, said that Williams believed she could not honorably serve in her position once Komen had caved to pressure from the anti-abortion right. “Mollie is one of the most highly respected and ethical people inside the organization, and she felt she couldn’t continue under these conditions,” Hammarley said. “The Komen board of directors are very politically savvy folks, and I think over time they thought if they gave in to the very aggressive propaganda machine of the anti-abortion groups, that the issue would go away. It seemed very short-sighted to me.”

  15. ModerateGal says:

    Denver Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

    When the Denver Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure first learned of National’s decision to change their granting strategy, which effectively disqualified Planned Parenthood as a grantee, we immediately requested and were granted an exemption to this policy for the upcoming year. We believe our local Affiliate should have the right to determine what is best for our community and will continue to fight for this right. However, we need your help. Please email Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker and Komen President, Elizabeth Thompson, at to express your opinion and then forward this request to your network. Komen Denver is committed to our community and more importantly to the women who need our help.

    The bolding is mine.

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