Health Care, Human Resources, and Nonprofits

Affiliates of cancer nonprofit merge

January 16, 2015
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Cancer nonprofit merges affiliates
Susan G. Komen Michigan covers the west, southwest and central parts of the state. Photo via

The West Michigan affiliates of the world's largest breast cancer organization are consolidating their efforts.

The West Michigan affiliates of Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure, commonly known as just Susan G. Komen, have announced a recent restructuring of its local chapters. Susan G. Komen Michigan, or simply Komen Michigan, is now officially an independent nonprofit that was formed on Jan. 14 by a collaboration of Komen Southwest Michigan, Komen Mid-Michigan and Komen West Michigan.

Each office affiliated with the new Komen Michigan is hosting an open house from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the next two weeks to celebrate the collaboration and to offer the community an opportunity to come in and meet staff and board members. The Southwest open house will take place on Jan. 21 at 3030 S. Ninth St., Kalamazoo. The West Michigan event is scheduled for Jan. 22 at 3949 Sparks Drive SE, Grand Rapids. The Mid-Michigan open house is set for Jan. 27 at 2601 Coolidge Road, East Lansing.

“This collaboration began when the West Michigan affiliate and Southwest affiliate shared personnel to manage administration of both offices. After working together for months, the staff and boards of directors realized that an even greater impact could be felt by widening the partnership to include the Mid-Michigan affiliate,” according to the organization’s website.

“The three organizations then determined that by joining forces while keeping local offices, outreach and races, greater savings and efficiency could be recognized, maximizing the impact on the fight against breast cancer.”

Much of the organization’s funding is supported by the Race for the Cure program, a series of 5K runs and fitness walks.

Jennifer Jurgens, formerly executive director of Komen West Michigan, has been named executive director of the new Komen Michigan. Jurgens said that from her insider’s perspective, the consolidation “makes perfect sense,” adding in a video message that throughout the process “local office and support staff remain the same.”

“The efficiencies gained through shared resources made it very logical for us to approach Mid-Michigan and talk about even greater operational efficiencies, shared resources and leaner processes,” she said.

The mergers required the consolidation of board representatives, said breast cancer survivor Carol Perschbacher, Komen West Michigan board president who is now serving as president of Komen Michigan.

“Everyone involved came to this decision by putting our mission and the people we serve first,” she said. “While change can be difficult, we recognized that by letting go of our attachment to our ‘own’ affiliates we can help more people, while maintaining a sense of autonomy and keeping that local, grassroots feeling that made us so successful. Our new tagline sums it up nicely: ‘Same mission. Same places. Same races. New name — Komen Michigan.’”

About 75 percent of Komen Michigan’s net proceeds go toward funding programs and grants that provide breast-health education, diagnostics, screenings and survivorship programs for local hospitals and community organizations in Michigan.

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