Local non-profit ends national affiliation, will distribute funds and cease operation

Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 7:23 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ/Komen Release) - The regional affiliate of a national non-profit is closing its local operations and distributing $500,000 to health care groups in our area.

Susan G. Komen Virginia Blue Ridge has raised millions of dollars for breast cancer prevention, care and research since 2006.

But after the national organization announced plans to centralize its operations, the local board of directors voted to end its affiliation, effective December 3.

In a news release, local leaders said this was the only way they could honor the intent of donors, and ensure most of the money raised locally is invested in local programs.

The organization will close its local office, lay off two staff members and donate remaining funds to seven health care organizations in the region.

Following is the text of the organization’s news release:

Roanoke, Virginia (December 2, 2020) – Susan G. Komen Virginia Blue Ridge, the regional breast cancer affiliate, today announced it will elect to disaffiliate from its recently restructured parent organization, Susan G. Komen. The election will formally take effect on December 3, 2020. The move will result in the closure of local operations, the layoff of two staff members and distribution of $500,000 in restricted gifts to local healthcare groups to direct towards breast cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment, and patient services.

In April, Komen Headquarters announced a series of changes to its operations that included centralizing the operations of its Affiliate Network through the closure of 60 local offices and integrating the operations of the affiliates into its Dallas headquarters.

“Komen Headquarters has stressed they are not pulling out of affiliate communities. The reality is that, moving forward, money raised locally will no longer be as directly accessible to the people here in Southwest Virginia – particularly underinsured and at-risk individuals” said Catherine Warren, Executive Director, Susan G. Komen, Virginia Blue Ridge.

“While personally painful to so many of us in the breast cancer community, we know this move is the only way we can honor the donor intent of the funds that have been raised here,” added Tara Nepper, chair of the board of directors. “Our ongoing promise throughout our history has been that 75% of net proceeds are invested into local health care programs and resources to directly improve the lives and outcomes of southwest Virginians affected by breast cancer. That remains our promise and we’re pleased that so many wonderful local groups can continue our work and mission on our behalf.”

The Virginia Blue Ridge Affiliate Board of Directors voted in November to elect to disaffiliate effective December 3, 2020, and selected the following regional organizations to receive funding:

· Ballad Health

· Carilion Clinic

· Centra’s Pearson Cancer Center

· Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, Carla Finkielstein

· Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness

· Piedmont Access to Health Services

· Virginia Department of Health, Mt. Rogers

Since its founding in 2006, Susan G. Komen Virginia Blue Ridge has funded $4.78 Million in support of their promise to end breast cancer. Komen Virginia Blue Ridge has invested $3.45 Million in community breast health services and $1.33 Million in breast cancer research.

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