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The Financial Past And Future Of Komen And Planned Parenthood

Susan G. Komen's defunding (and then re-funding) of Planned Parenthood continues to reverberate, with financial impact on both organizations. Here's a look at where they stood before the debacle, and where they might be going.

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Here's what Komen's numbers looked like over the past five years. In green are donations, in red are expenditures on program services, which included research, public health education, screening, and treatment. I've excluded overhead costs like fundraising and administration from this graph.

Source: Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

You'll notice that Komen was spending a pretty big chunk of the money they took in on breast cancer prevention and treatment — good on them. However, it's important to note that the biggest category of program services (costing $181,092,283 in 2011) was public health education — all those pink ribbons and ads, which are arguably the least effective part of Komen's anti-cancer strategy. Regardless of how it was spending its money, Komen was good at pulling it in — donations rose consistently over the past five years.

Komen founder Nancy Brinker.
HANDOUT / Reuters

Komen founder Nancy Brinker.

Here are Planned Parenthood's numbers for 2007-2010 — looks like they haven't put up their 2011 data yet. Revenues (in green) are a combination of private donations, health center income, government support, and a smattering of smaller sources.

Source: Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood appears to spend the lion's share of their program services budget on medical services — $699.2 million in 2010. Note that revenues there were rising too — until 2009, when they started to drop. The biggest contributor was a drop in private donations, from $308.2 million in 2009 to $223.8 million in 2010. The anti-abortion site Life News attributed this decline to the scandal surrounding Lila Rose's hidden-camera videos of Planned Parenthood employees apparently willing to ignore statutory rape. Their language is overblown ("accepting funds specifically for the purpose of aborting black babies"), but they might be right.

So Komen is up, and Planned Parenthood is down — I'm betting those trends are about to reverse. Says the Washington Post,

Komen is asking staff members at headquarters to review budgets for the fiscal year beginning April 1 because of anticipated drops in revenue, according to a source familiar with the process who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. [...] Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun declined to comment on the internal budget process. But she added: “It goes without saying that you can’t budget for things you don’t know are going to happen.”

And one marketing consultant told, “There is no question they have lost some donors for good." Things could get even worse if Komen's jet-setting founder Nancy Brinker answers calls to resign (although then the charity could get rid of her fat expense account).

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood looks poised for a big year, at least in terms of private donations — following the Komen scandal, they raised $3 million in four days, much of it from brand-new donors. Whether those donors will continue to give is unclear as yet — and as always, Planned Parenthood faces the threat of conservative lawmakers trying to take away its government funding. But at least where individual people's wallets are concerned, there's every reason to expect an upswing at PP this year.

As you can see above, Komen did perform valuable services for women, so a drop in its funding isn't necessarily an unalloyed good. In 2010, they spent $66,998,591 on screening and treatment. But that year, Planned Parenthood affiliates performed 747,607 breast exams — as a breast health charity, they're no slouch either.

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