The Susan G. Komen Foundation, the world's largest breast cancer organization, announced the troubling news that it was ending its three-day cancer fundraising race in a handful of cities, including San Francisco.
According to Susan G. Komen, the organization will no longer hold fundraising races in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa Bay and Washington, D.C. The events have participants raise at least $2,300 while walking 60 miles over three days.
According to Time, the Foundation cited a steep drop in participation as its reason for ending half of its charity races. Specifically, participation levels have declined by 37 percent in the past few years.
Here's a statement we just received from the Foundation:
The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® announced that it will not return to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2014. The difficult decision to exit the San Francisco Bay Area was not made lightly, as this bold and empowering event has touched the lives of thousands of participants. Economic uncertainty over the past four years has presented challenges for all nonprofits, and has affected participation levels for the Komen 3-Day as well. Many participants have reported that enthusiasm for the series remains very high, but it is more difficult for people to donate at levels they had in the past.
In light of these trends, we conducted a thorough review of the 3-Day® with a goal of ensuring that the event remains a celebration of our survivors, a remembrance of those we have lost, and an event that allows us to invest in the research and community health programs that are so meaningful.
While the 3-Day has brought great awareness to the breast cancer cause, participation levels the last four years have made it difficult to financially sustain an event of this magnitude in 14 cities. We hope to one day return to a larger number of markets, but believe strongly that this adjustment will allow us to return the greatest amount of dollars to the cause at this time.
This announcement does not impact the 2013 Susan G. Komen 3-Day. This year's Komen San Francisco Bay Area 3-Day will continue as planned, June 21-23, 2013. Additionally, this announcement does not impact other Susan G. Komen events or services in the Bay Area. Komen San Francisco Bay Area remains as a year round breast health resource serving the Bay Area. Everyone in the Bay Area community is encouraged to continue their support of Susan G. Komen by participating in events like the San Francisco Bay Area Race for the Cure held September 29, 2013.
Local residents are also encouraged to continue their support of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day and consider participation in one of the seven markets in 2014 including: Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Michigan, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and Twin Cities. Registration for the 2014 series will open on Monday, July 29.
The Susan G. Komen 3-Day expresses our deep gratitude to the San Francisco Bay Area 3-Day participants and community for generously giving their support and participation over the years to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day.
The Foundation blamed the drop in participation on the "economic uncertainty" however, the organization has had trouble recovering from the firestorm after it yanked $680,000 in grants to Planned Parenthood last year. The decision created such a fury among supporters and sponsors that the Foundation quickly reversed its decision, restoring the money for breast cancer screenings and education programs.
But what hasn't restored as promptly is the Foundation's loyal supporters.