Komen volunteers, affiliates debate impact of Brinker resignation

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on August 9, 2012 at 5:37 PM

DALLAS - Nancy Brinker, the founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, announced Wednesday she'll step down as the charity's CEO. Brinker broke the news to Komen affiliates across the country on a conference call Wednesday, including the affiliate in Fort Worth.

But she never mentioned the Planned Parenthood controversy. That didn't stop the public perception that her resignation is the latest fallout from it.

Roxanne Martinez is a breast cancer survivor and a Komen volunteer. Last year, a Komen grant helped pay for her chemotherapy and other medications.

Now Martinez is concerned about how Brinker's resignation will effect the charity.

"I really hope that if people view it as a shakeup, that they do realize there are still fundraising dollars that are going to help their local communities and woman like myself," Martinez said.

Participation in Race for the Cure events fell sharply after Komen decided to cut funding to Planned Parenthood clinics.

Also falling? Its brand. It had been ranked No. 2 among non-profits in a Harris Interactive survey, but fell 54 spots.

That's what worries Fort Worth Komen Director Ann Greenhill. Public perception could impact donations, which fund research and mammograms.

"There's been some damage to our brand recently,” Greenhill said. “But I honestly feel like we're moving past that. I feel like we're getting beyond that. I think it will take a while to restore to get back to where we are."

Even though she resigned as CEO, Brinker will still be very involved with the charity. Her new role will focus on fund raising, as chair of the Komen Board Executive Committee.

"My instinct is no, we're not going to be impacted, because Nancy's moving into a different role,” Greenhill said. “I really don't think that's going to hurt us."

Komen volunteers say they're anxious to turn their focus back to the charity's mission: helping woman.

"I would like to see it turn around,” Martinez said. “I would like to see the public begin to have confidence in Komen again, and I think that will actually happen."

The question now is, will the public who donates regain that confidence?

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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