Research funding should not be ammo for legal battles

There is a lot of pride for the Susan G. Komen Foundation in Peoria.

As the burial place of Susan G. Komen, Peoria’s annual Race for the Cure raises millions of dollars every year. Since its creation in 1982, the foundation has raised $1 billion for breast cancer research.

But now, the Komen Foundation is tapping into those funds for a less noble cause: lawsuits.

The foundation is scouring the nation in search of any other foundation, no matter how tiny, that uses the phrase “the cure” in its title. This includes Kites for a Cure, Par for the Cure, Surfing for a Cure and Cupcakes for a Cure, organizations so small most people haven’t heard of them. One organization even received a letter saying they were not to use pink in any way for their fundraising.

The really unfortunate part of this is the Komen Foundation is spending about a million dollars worth of donor funds each year in legal fees.

It doesn’t matter what percentage of total donations that is; this isn’t a “big picture” kind of situation. Spending anything at all on legal fees, especially suing Mom-and-Pop nonprofit organizations, is flat out wrong. People donate on the grounds that their money is going to research, something to help a cause, and the majority of the time this is a cause that is very near to people’s hearts.

Protecting a charity identity is important, but the Susan G. Komen name itself is enough of a household name that there is no reason to sue for a phrase as common as “the cure.”

As for the color pink, what shade, exactly? Pink is automatically associated with breast cancer, but what about darker pink or magenta? If these smaller organizations use any shade of pink in their marketing, will they be attacked by powerhouse Komen as well?

All of these organizations, from the Susan G. Komen foundation to Mush for the Cure, all want the same thing.

A cure.

There is a time and a place for the law to intervene and this just isn’t it. None of that money should go anywhere other than where it was intended when

Nancy Brinker founded the organization, which is to research. No one is going to take over and overshadow the Komen Foundation, but if they did, so what?

It’s not a competition here. Everyone is working for the same cause.

In the case of Kites for a Cure, they reached an agreement with Komen that they will use the phrase “for a Cure” only along with the words “lung cancer” to clarify what their organization stands for, but this came after a many months long legal battle.

If the question is whether or not people think these other “for the Cure” foundations are also associated with the breast cancer, hopefully they know exactly what they are donating to regardless of the name.

Unfortunately, people can’t always know where their money will end up, something the Susan G. Komen Foundation is clearly proving.