JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization is failing to meet its fundraising targets after the charity decided to cut and then later restore funding for Planned Parenthood, a leading provider of birth control and sexual health care.
Bruce Grob, the executive director for Komen's North Florida affiliate, said he's ready to get back on track, arguing that the regional organization had nothing to do with the national group's blunder.
"Our focus hasn't changed. Obviously, the Planned Parenthood issue was a huge distraction," Grob said. "We've never had a granting relationship with Planned Parenthood, in part because we have numerous other hospital clinics and facilities that we fund that provide the kind of testing and screening that is our mission."
While discouraged by the foundation's initial decision, local organizations who partner with Komen say they never lost faith in the North Florida branch.
"I was appalled at the Planned Parenthood debacle, and I know the local organization, the North Florida affiliate did not agree at all with what happened," said Bobbi de Cordova-Hanks, the founder of Bosom Buddies, a breast cancer education and support group at the Women's Center of Jacksonville.
De Cordova-Hanks said the regional affiliate provides grants necessary for her organization to survive and never considered dropping the connection.
"I didn't question the relationship with them, I questioned their relationship with the national organization," she said.
Unsure what affect the fallout will have on North Florida's funds, Grob said he's optimistic politics won't get in the way in the future.
"The need hasn't changed and the focus of our work hasn't changed," Grob said. "We're hoping that everybody will kind of recognize that and continue to be the kind of supporters that they've been for us."
Grob remains hopeful that time will heal funding wounds before the organization's flagship event, Race for the Cure, in October.
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