Komen foundation controversy jolts local charity run
The national controversy that erupted last month when the national Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation announced it would no longer fund Planned Parenthood—a decision it later reversed—is having an impact on registration numbers for the local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, a popular annual 5K run scheduled for Saturday. So far, race registrations are down about 15%, or 1,800 runners, over last year's 12,000 runners. That translates into a drop in funding of about $35,000, according to Janet Dewey-Kollen, executive director of the Baton Rouge affiliate of the national Komen organization. "That [$35,000] is a lot of money for a local organization," says Dewey-Kollen. "The whole debate put us in the middle of a culture war, in the middle of a debate that isn't about breast cancer." Last year, the local race raised more than $550,000, 75% of which stayed in the local community and went to fund local organizations that provide breast cancer screenings and services. The group was originally hoping for at least 14,000 runners this year, and Dewey-Kollen says with walk-up registration she's hopeful that race numbers will pick up. "We're just trying to ask people to focus back on what this race does for local women," she says. More info on Saturday's 5K and registration is available here. —Stephanie Riegel
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