Embattled Komen CEO Nancy Brinker gets 64% raise after Planned Parenthood fiasco

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the breast cancer “Race for the Cure” organizer, that famously dumped Planned Parenthood as a grant recipient last year in response to religious right and House GOP objections, gave its then- (and possibly still) CEO Nancy Brinker a whopping 64% raise last year.

Brinker’s annual salary went from $417,000 to $684,717.

It’s ironic that in a year in which Nancy Goodman Brinker, a major GOP donor who served as an ambassador in the Bush administration, nearly destroyed the Komen brand by making it political (and far-right political, at that), Brinker’s not rewarded with a pink slip, but rather with a big fat pink check.

Brinker claimed last August, following the Planned Parenthood fiasco, that she would soon be stepping down as CEO of Komen for the Cure.  But according to the Dallas Morning News, she remains the CEO according to the Komen Web site.  And they’re right – I just checked:


A man who lost his wife and sister-in-law to breast cancer was unimpressed with Brinker’s raise:

These salaries may be legal, but in my opinion they’re immoral. People like Nancy Brinker are opportunists who see charity as a means to a lucrative payday.

I had hoped the kerfuffle over Planned Parenthood would wake up the organization on which so many of us have pinned our hopes for a cure. It appears that Brinker and others of her ilk are immune to public shame.


He’ll be even less impressed when he finds out that, according to Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon, Komen spent just 15% of its donations on research in 2011, “nearly half of what it did just a few years prior,” says Williams.  Williams adds:

Even after so much disaster, it seems the woman who’s benefited most from Komen’s charity is still Nancy Brinker herself.


I never believed Komen’s weak-tea apology last year, and warned at the time that people shouldn’t believe it.  I still think women’ advocates gave in to Komen far too quickly and far too easily.  And judging by Brinker’s raise, and the fact that more than a year after the Planned Parenthood snafu Brinker remains CEO, after she promised to step down, suggests that it’s sadly business-as-usual at the Race for the Cure. 

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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33 Responses to “Embattled Komen CEO Nancy Brinker gets 64% raise after Planned Parenthood fiasco”

  1. I don’t know why I’m doing this because I really don’t care about Komen, but I do care about accuracy.

    The raise did not come “after Planned Parenthood fiasco.” The 990 reports what she was paid in 2011 (using her W-2 as required) . Komen announced cuts to planned parenthood in Feb 2012, and Handel resigned about 1 week later.

    Also, even tho’ the only fund research at 15%, that doesn’t mean the rest goes to “bad” things. They pay hundreds of millions for public health education, health screening, and treatment. All of these fall under “the cure”. So, if they increase “research”, they must decrease “treatment” or something.

    I have applied for and received Komen grants at my hospital system to fund a full-time patient navigator/advocate, and to pay for tests/biopsies for non-insured adult women/men, and to treat people with Lymphoma (look it up as a Google image search) and educate them on self-care.

  2. PDQ says:

    She’s 66 – she’s gotta pay for all that plastic surgery and her Hungarian art collection somehow. She and Norman divorced in 2000, so that gravy train left the station long time ago. Girl’s gotta work!

  3. karmanot says:

    I know,

  4. GoBlue says:

    Once upon a time, many hospital administrators and college presidents were nuns who did competent work for a fraction of what CEOs get today. Those were the days.

  5. Yes, a board should increase your credibility and also access to resources/networking. You use those to further your mission. Some will buy tables at events, some will donate cash or auction items or in-kind services, and it’s smart to have a lawyer and an accountant so when legal and fiscal issues emerge, you get them solved for free. Generally, the more money you get the more people you help so it is often rich people that are asked to join.

    When I worked at the food bank, we had a guy that worked for the rail system who knew a buddy in trucking that would allow us to fill empty trucks returning from deliveries on the East Coast with food – for free. I’m sure it looked like he just showed up at parties but he was an invaluable asset.

  6. Hi Naja,

    There is no difference between trustees and board directors. Pull any 990 and whether they are called trustee or director or governor they are paid $0.

    I personally believe we should destroy most all nonprofits and simply tax people and companies sufficiently – it makes me sick that we must appeal to millionaires/ billionaires and corporations to assist people because I don’t want breast cancer services decided on their whims or the orgs’ success at selling cookies. But, of course, nonprofits are more responsive to emerging needs – and more creative – so there’s that.

    That being said, there is no “bright line” as these charities publicly publish these salaries and they continue to garner support. Remember, all big nonprofits gain revenue from individuals, corporations, grants/foundations, government contracts and investments. So, any one of those sources could be said to pay the salaries and your dollars are going directly to help people.

    And yes, I do know they all want to be the one paying for the direct service. And yes, they are paid far above me and the people they generally serve. But, bringing in $250,000,000 each and every year, without giving the people that gave you the money (hardly) anything directly (they are paying for your orgs reputation and track record in serving others generally) takes a marketing genius and very dedicated, motivated, smart people.

  7. Naja pallida says:

    karmanot, have a Snickers. You get nasty when you post hungry. :)

  8. karmanot says:

    So true, often the last refuge of bored Socialites and corporate wives, whose cynicism has grown past Junior League events and garden showcase tours..

  9. karmanot says:

    Pick that nit all the way to the bank, nitwit.

  10. grandpamike1 says:

    But this is not news anymore. If the Net or MSM would continue talking about this issue, maybe donors would donate to other worthy organizations , and at least get Brinker out as CEO.

  11. Papa Bear says:

    nice work if you can have it handed to you…

  12. Naja pallida says:

    There’s a difference between the board of directors and the board of trustees. Which is why I said directors in my original post… and no matter how much you want to try and twist it, if someone donates a dollar to a charity, they expect that dollar to go to the cause they’re donating to, not so some CEO can ride around in a limo and drink fine champagne at fund raisers. I have no problem with reasonable compensation for work done, but there is a pretty clear line to be drawn here, and some people are using the goodwill of millions of donors to live a life that most of their donors, and especially most of the victims of their causes, could only dream of.

  13. As you yourself now state, trustees/board members are not paid. All “employees” of every organization are paid. I addressed your erroneous comment that board members are paid.

    Perhaps we should leave quarter-Billion $ organizations in the capable hands of people that command $75,000/year. It’s certainly debatable.

  14. Naja pallida says:

    I’m sure some of the trustees are there because they genuinely care about the cause, but in my experience with smaller non-profits, the board of trustees is usually just made up of people from the community who are considered “successful”, and have a good name that you want affiliated with your charity to give you some additional credibility. And vice versa, people who want to be affiliated with your charity to help their own standing. It sounds like you’re giving, when you really don’t have to do anything except show up at some events once in a while.

  15. BeccaM says:

    Charitable board trustee = “Here’s something you can use to pad your resume and throw in press releases for PR purposes.” Chances are actually good those board seats are purchased via sizable donation anyway.

  16. Naja pallida says:

    You can go look at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s own tax returns. Itemized out, very clearly. Yes, the trustees don’t make anything, but the President and VPs were compensated almost 5 million dollars between them. Or do you suppose they’re lying on their tax returns?

  17. BeccaM says:

    Beggars, yes. But also a nation of enabled grifters and easy marks.

  18. lynchie says:

    Like a host of charities that start off with good intentions they get the greed bug and start spending money on fancy buildings, salaries, and big dinners and forget the things they are raising money for. I remember 9//11 and it seemed every corner in Pittsburgh had a couple of people with fireman’s boots collecting cash for the first responders. I asked two different people who was coordinating the money they didn’t know. We are a nation of beggars. Every mall has a table and a couple of kids collecting for soccer, wrestling or some other venture. I don’t like being constantly pushed for money.

    If Komen has cut research what is its function, as far as the board of directors are concerned why should they get paid. There are all the 1% and do this for the photo ops. Give to local food banks or directly to needy families who will use the money.

    Here is an interesting site which offers a whole host of scams. It’s the American way, small business and the job creators.


  19. Ron Thompson says:

    Anybody who gives them a dime at this point is either a right-wing activist or a sucker. This woman seems to be consciously plundering a charity she named for her dead sister. No self-respecting person would be in the same room with her.

  20. karmanot says:

    Carli Fiorina and Meg Whitman have managed to ruin every institution they mismanaged and walked away with tens of millions for doing so.

  21. karmanot says:


  22. karmanot says:

    So true, for the past 20 years we’ve seen AIDS/HIV organizations, once models for the world now exist to rake in millions for ‘management’ expenses, while services to those who need them go hungry for help.

  23. karmanot says:

    Same here in Sonoma: Food For Thought, an HIV/AIDS food bank that serves the whole county. Also, important are shelters, because State and Fed grants have dried up. Most effected are those for battered and/or single mothers with children and the homeless of which we have thousands in this opulent wine country paradise.

  24. Every charity has a board of directors. And nearly all of those board members are volunteers and get $0 compensation except reimbursements. In fact, I’ve never personally found one that pays their board, tho’ I’m sure there are some.

    In fact, I pulled up Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and verified that all board members received $0.

  25. BeccaM says:

    The surest way to know your money is going to good causes: Give locally. Our own choice is Albuquerque’s Roadrunner Food Bank, and we know they need money more than actual foodstuffs, so they can go out and buy what’s really needed. When we can afford it, we put them on a regular monthly payment.

    Other usually worthy choices: Women’s and homeless shelters. Free health clinics. Animal rescue. Local environmental and conservancy groups. Youth activities groups. Libraries.

    Another thing that can be really helpful if one doesn’t care about tax deductions is to give gift cards to office supply stores to schoolteachers.

  26. BeccaM says:

    ‘Parasites’ is exactly right — and worse, they feed upon our human impulses towards altruism and wanting to do the right thing.

  27. UncleBucky says:

    It’s a racket. Stay away from Komen until they get the message.

  28. Naja pallida says:

    Florida got the government they deserve. They just seem to like having crooks in their state legislature, they keep voting for them over and over.

  29. Naja pallida says:

    Sadly, it is not uncommon at all. Brinker is just a convenient target because she’s such a public hypocrite. But there are a lot of people living high on the hog off of charitable donations that people give in good faith, thinking they’re going to a good cause. Almost every major charity has a board of directors where each person on that board makes at least six figures. Look at the United Way, or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, or the American Cancer Society, or the American Heart Association, the list goes on and on and on. Many in the high six figures, and some even into seven figures. These societal parasites are the reason why I refuse to give to large charities, and instead give directly to small local charities, and specific causes where I know my hard-earned and carefully thought donation won’t be going to some asshole phauxlanthropist so they can live it up as one of the rentier class.

  30. Trish Collier says:

    It seems as if Komen has enough money to sponsor their campaigns. Therefore, folks like you and I would be better off if we send our monies to Planned Parenthood that is doing so much more and for so many people.

  31. nicho says:

    OT — Florida legislature votes 2-1 in favor of corporate fraud


  32. Indigo says:

    Meanwhile, youth unemployment is up to 60% and the Vatican arm wrestles Santa Muerte.

  33. nicho says:

    Nothing succeeds like a failed CEO.

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