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Two executives resign from Susan G. Komen for the Cure

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 21st, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Two top executives at Susan G. Komen for the Cure have announced their resignation. The breast cancer charity is reportedly struggling to raise money after its decision to defund Planned Parenthood, along with that policy's subsequent reversal.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Katrina McGhee, Komen's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, had announced several weeks ago she would be stepping down on May 4. CEO of Komen's New York City affiliate Dara Richardson-Heron announced her resignation earlier this week. Both cited "personal" reasons and declined to discuss the matter further.

Komen founder Nancy Brinker informed the staff about McGhee's resignation in an internal email. "For personal reasons, she feels it time to make a change," Brinker wrote. "We are thankful she has agreed to do some project work on an ongoing basis in order to stay engaged with Komen."

In her resignation letter, Richardson-Heron wrote that she had made the "personal decision to leave ... to pursue new career opportunities," but that it was "not an easy decision."

Komen has tried desperately to salvage its reputation since the public backlash over its earlier decision. In February, Komen said it would pull cancer screening grants from Planned Parenthood on account that some of their clinics performed abortions.

Komen decided to restore Planned Parenthood's eligibility for grants, but the public - on both sides of the abortion issue - had already soured on the charity for focusing on abortion politics rather than detecting and treating breast cancer.

Susan G. Komen Greater New York City postponed its annual fundraising gala because executives "were not certain about our ability to fundraise in the near term," spokesperson Vern Calhoun said.

One company insider reportedly told the Huffington Post that "employee morale is in the toilet." The move to defund Planned Parenthood was led by anti-abortion executive Karen Handel, then Komen's senior vice president for public policy -- who has since resigned.

"Brinker in complete meltdown," the source told journalists. "People want her to resign but she won't." Brinker has declined comment.

A number of Komen affiliates are reporting lower than usual revenues, including the Baton Rouge, La., Greater Fort Worth, Texas and Southern Arizona chapters. Participation in Race for the Cure, Komen's signature fundraising event, is down. Jaimie Leopold, the executive director of Komen Southern Arizona, told the Arizona Daily Star on Friday that its race had only raised $200,000 of its $700,000 goal so far.

"If 30 percent of the grants we want to give out won't be funded, I think that's a crisis, especially given the recession," Leopold said.

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