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Komen’s Grant-Making Policy Gambit Fails

WHO: Lewis Faulk, assistant professor in American University’s department of public administration and policy, is an expert on foundation grant-making, competition in the nonprofit sector, and nonprofit management.

WHAT: Available for print, radio, and television interviews

WHERE: In-studio, via telephone, or at American University

WHEN:
February 3 – ongoing
 
The Susan G. Komen Foundation finds itself in crisis communication mode explaining its decision to cut off $680,000 in funding to Planned Parenthood branches and then ultimately reversing itself after days of scrutiny from donors, politicians, and opinion leaders.  American University nonprofit expert Lewis Faulk is available to comment on the following issues:

•    Komen’s case for originally choosing to cut funding to Planned Parenthood;
•    Whether Komen’s decision was purely politically motivated;
•    Komen’s just announced reversal of its policy toward Planned Parenthood; and,
•    The impact on Planned Parenthood and Komen going forward.

Faulk points out that the Komen Foundation is not a typical foundation funded by one source.  Instead it’s funded by annual donations from many individuals, companies and others.  Faulk says “Komen acts more like a charity that contracts out its services to other nonprofits rather than provide services directly themselves.”  Faulk gives credence to Komen’s CEO Nancy G. Brinker’s statement that the decision was made more for efficiency purposes.  “Efficiency is likely a very important consideration based on the way Komen serves its mission through grants,” said Faulk.  Komen announced today its decision to revise the controversial policy barring Planned Parenthood from grant consideration from Komen or its affiliates. Faulk responds, “While this is a good move from a public relations perspective, it doesn’t indicate that Komen will continue funding Planned Parenthood branches. Komen may still decline further funding based on their new efficiency strategy.”

Faulk also points out had the impact of the loss of funding taken place it would have had a very specific program level effect for some Planned Parenthood branches.  For example in 2010, Planned Parenthood of Nassau County had a $6 million operating budget for an array of programs. It received $78,000 in funding from Komen for its cancer screening program for uninsured women.  “Its cancer screening program would likely have faced a hit from Komen’s decision,” said Faulk, “but nonprofit organizations experience similar setbacks all the time when particular funding sources decline or are cut.”

“In the ensuing media backlash. Komen now finds itself having to explain its decision in a way to preserve donors and maintain its mission impact, akin to the Red Cross on its use of donor funds for 9/11 and more recently NPR’s decision to terminate Juan Williams’s contract,” explained Faulk. “Its announcement today appears to be a step in that direction.”

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.

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