Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Komen Affiliates Feeling the Heat

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Komen Affiliates Feeling the Heat

Article excerpt

Many a homespun philosopher has uttered the well-worn advice about life's lack of fairness.

It's a homily that the North Jersey chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure perhaps should take to heart.

Komen's local affiliates had no input into the national organization's decision in February to cut off grants to Planned Parenthood. Nor did they get to vote on the organization's equally controversial announcement three days later that it had reversed the decision.

But that didn't stop the chapters from feeling the heat from people on both ends of the political spectrum.

The criticism, at least from the untold thousands of women who favored the funding, was especially unfair to the North Jersey chapter. It was the only one in the state that had given a grant to the local Planned Parenthood organization -- money used to help educate women in underserved communities about the importance of getting breast exams.

The local affiliate renewed that $20,000 grant in June, but that hasn't stopped it from suffering financial consequences from the lingering negativity over the controversy.

In fact, as the North Jersey chapter finishes tallying its take from this year's Race for the Cure -- its main fundraising event -- the affiliate is coming up more than 20 percent short of its $1.3 million goal. And even that goal reflected a tempered expectation from last year's $1.5 million total.

"We're not finished totaling up the contributions yet, but we will end up reporting a little more than $1 million," said Robin Bloink Ventura, president of the chapter's board. "I can speculate that it had to do with the Planned Parenthood issue."

Ventura said the board is working on developing other fundraising efforts to make up the difference. A lacrosse tournament that brought more than 4,200 girls from across the country to New Egypt High School in Ocean County raised $250,000 for the two Komen affiliates in New Jersey.

"We're planning other fundraising events," Ventura said. …

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