Saturday, February 04, 2012

Parting Thoughts On Komen ...

News about Komen's "reversal" hit yesterday just as I was about to walk out the door.

I read the statement. And I thought it was very artfully written. I thought the language was meant to quell the current outrage but leaves the door open to deny Planned Parenthood funding in the future. And then I thought, "Komen wouldn't be that stupid, would it?"

Maybe it would. Will. Time'll tell.

I'm stunned at how badly the organization has played this. From "quietly" ending funding to Planned Parenthood in December – Did it really think this story would not come out eventually? – to telling multiple versions of the "truth" as to why the decision was made – It was because of the Congressional investigation! But this isn't a political decision! No, it wasn't that at all! We want to fund more direct care! See? This is not a political decision! Whoops! You weren't supposed to find out that Ari Fleischer was a consultant! – to "reversing course," if indeed that's what it's done.

Way to go, Komen. Now you've managed to piss off everyone. No small feat, that.

This week has been a sad, emotional education. Friends and family have expressed their condolences, as it were, over my loss of something that I believed in. And I appreciate their kind words. They're sweet. And I respond with reassurance that while this is unfortunate, I met some of the most amazing people in the world through Komen, and I've done something I did not think I could do. And those are good things. Those are great things.

And meanwhile, I've educated myself about the organization in ways I should have educated myself before. And I've come to appreciate that the best use of my charitable dollars – what few there are these days, but someday there will be more – is to contribute them directly to causes in which I believe. I know that no organization is perfect. But from this day forward, I will be more diligent in gathering information about charities and contribute to those groups, not to organizations that raise funds and then disperse them. (I still believe in the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Kiva.)

I feel as though I should apologize to everyone who has contributed to my fundraising for Komen over the years. I feel as though I should have known better, learned more. But then I think that surely some of those dollars went on to help someone, and there is solace in that.

As for Komen, I'll be interested to see what becomes of it. Whether or not the organization has fundamentally changed, people's perceptions of it certainly have. I presume the races and walks will continue. I wish the participants well.

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