Susan G. Komen chapter: ‘We are absolutely frustrated’ by the decision to defund Planned Parenthood
Ann Hogan is the board president for Susan G. Komen for the Cure Connecticut. When I gave her a call this afternoon, to discuss the new policy that will bar her group from contracting with Planned Parenthood, she had one word for her reaction: frustrated.
“We are funding [Planned Parenthood] and we are absolutely frustrated by this,” she says. And when I ask her to explain her frustration, she says it mostly has to do with people like me.
“The frustration is the time we’re spending right now on these types of calls,” she says. “I would love for you to call me in June. I would love for you to say Connecticut is doing an amazing job with Race for the Cure, and how can we get the word out. I’m a volunteer. This isn’t my job, this is my passion...so it’s frustrating we’re spending our time like this.”
Planned Parenthood’s supporters are frustrated, too: The organization tells me it has raised $400,000 from more than 6,000 online donors over the past 24 hours.
But the loss of Susan G. Komen will hurt. The Connecticut affiliate has funded Planned Parenthood of Southern New England for seven years now. Last year it awarded the organization a $38,000 contract to cover mammograms, clinical breast exams and education research in New Haven and Bridgeport. It was a relatively small grant, compared to the $1 million they allocated in 2011.
“We have a great partnership with Planned Parenthood, and our hope is that the investigation that has prohibited them from receiving Komen grants will be resolved quickly,” she says. Her chapter has also vented its frustration on its Facebook page.
Hogan says she hasn’t heard much blowback, yet, from her donors and supporters, and she’s spending most of today attempting to game out her damage control strategy.
“What I’m thinking about is the best way to communicate with our donors, our team captains [for Race for the Cure], all the folks who have been committed to us, to assure them that Komen of Connecticut is committed to the mission,” she says. “The big picture is we want to end breast cancer forever. In the meantime, we want to make sure women have access to the services we need, and that’s what we spend our time on.”
Hogan is hopeful that her affiliate’s support for Planned Parenthood can continue uninterrupted. A grant that Komen of Connecticut awarded to Planned Parenthood last April runs through June 30. She hopes that, by then, the Congressional investigation will have finished and funding the organization will no longer violate national policy. And she hopes to get back to focusing on her $1 million fundraising goal for the Race for the Cure her chapter will sponsor in June--last year, they fell a few thousand dollars short.
“Our staff, instead of dedicating time to making sure we hit our fundraising goals, is now assuring our donors that we’re still here, doing the same work,” she tells me. “But I’ve spent so much time volunteering with Komen, I can’t imagine my day going by without anybody asking me about this.”