Komen Greater Iowa to cease operations

Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 2:51 PM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KWQC) - A surprising announcement from Komen Greater Iowa. It has decided to disaffiliate from the Susan G. Komen Foundation (Komen Headquarters) and cease operations.

According to a news release Feb. 9, 2021, the decision will result in the layoff of all staff members, and Komen Greater Iowa will close by March 31.

The Iowa organization says it will be distributing at least $525,000 to local programs that support breast cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and other patient services. In making the decision, the Iowa board believed it was the only way to ensure that its funds supported women and men in its service area, which is where the money was raised.

In April 2020, the newly restructured Susan G. Komen Foundation, named Komen Headquarters, announced a series of changes that included consolidation of local offices and centralizing operations into its Dallas headquarters. Komen Headquarters has indicated it would continue to support the Iowa region, but according to Komen Greater Iowa, it has not publicly announced specific plans.

Komen Greater Iowa will not be holding any 2021 MORE THAN PINK Walks or Race for the Cure events. As the consolidation at Komen Headquarters moves forward, they will provide information on any future events.

Komen has had a strong presence in the greater Iowa service area, including the Quad Cities, for almost three decades and has raised more than $19 million to support breast cancer patient care, prevention, and research for a cure.

The board has decided to distribute its remaining funds to the following agencies and organizations:

· Polk County Health Department

· Iowa Department of Public Health

· River Hills Community Health Center

· Genesis Health System

· Trinity Medical Center

· Jennie Edmundson Hospital

· Promise Community Health Center

· Gilda’s Club Quad Cities

· Cerro Gordo County Public Health

· Casting for Recovery

· Can Do Cancer

· Above & Beyond Cancer

· Living Proof Exhibit

Hours after the Komen Greater Iowa announcement, Susan G. Komen released the following statement:

Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today provided an update on the progress of its operational and mission evolution, announced in April of 2020. More than half of the organization’s independent local Affiliates have now transitioned into the new, single entity structure. As part of this multiphase transition, Susan G. Komen will officially assume responsibility for supporting the area from Komen Greater Iowa effective March 31, 2021, although anyone living in Iowa may access Komen’s national support programs immediately.

“I’m excited about the way this new structure will enable us to serve more of our neighbors affected by breast cancer, regardless of where they live,” said Paula Schneider, Komen’s president and CEO. “To be clear, we still have staff in communities across the country; they are simply working remotely from their homes. And our mission has not changed; indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has made our work even more critical, to ensure that everyone can access the breast cancer care they need. Breast cancer hasn’t stopped, and neither have we.”

To meet the current and evolving needs of those affected by breast cancer nationwide, Komen is now providing support directly to patients, survivors and their families through a broad suite of Komen-led services, as well as through breakthrough research and advocacy at the state and federal level. If anyone in Iowa is facing breast cancer today and needs support, residents can call Komen’s free Helpline and receive guidance to resources and emotional support from trained oncology social workers. In addition, Komen provides financial support through a national Treatment Assistance Program. Additional breast health and patient support services will be launched soon and will be available in every community across the country.

To support local breast health organizations during Komen’s transition from local grant maker to direct provider of support, Komen Greater Iowa is awarding a final slate of grants to local entities and programs to help with breast cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and other patient services.

Komen’s new community development team, comprised mostly of former Affiliate staff in each region, will be focusing on local communities, while closely collaborating with colleagues across their region and nationally. Under this new structure, Iowa will be supported by Komen’s national mission programs and a community team based in the region, led by Midwest Regional Vice President Barbara Ducharme. Komen intends to have staff and host events in Iowa, including hosting MORE THAN PINK Walks, as early as this Fall.

Last year Komen announced that it was undertaking an enterprise-wide transition from a federated business model of independent Affiliates to a single, united entity in order to increase its overall operational efficiency and impact. The evolution enables the organization to benefit from centralized back office systems and reduce duplication of efforts across the country.

In addition to centralizing operations, additional cost savings are being realized by transitioning to a completely remote workforce. This enables Komen to have team members in virtually every state in the country, without the expense of office locations.

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