Susan G. Komen dissolves Orlando chapter, shocks local nonprofits

By Julie Gargotta, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, January 12, 2018, 4:35 PM EST

It began with an email, surprising news to organizations who receive funds to help local women and men battle breast cancer.

  • Susan G. Komen dissolving the Central Florida Chapter's board, affiliate
  • Local breast cancer nonprofits feel left to fend for themselves
  • Libby's Legacy provides breast cancer screenings via mobile mammography

“A phone call after six years of partnership, or even a little heads up this was coming," said Robin Maynard-Harris. “It’s like we’re being left to fend for ourselves.”

Susan G. Komen's Central Florida chapter is dissolving its board and affiliate.

Maynard-Harris' Libby's Legacy was one of those grantees who received the email Thursday from the Central Florida affiliate.

“We’re surprised, we don’t understand why it would dissolve," she said. “It means we won’t be receiving grant funds from them anymore. They didn’t give us a full reason why, just that they were dissolving and ceasing operations. It was hard, hard to take.”

Libby's Legacy provides breast cancer screenings, free to those in lower-income communities, via mobile mammography to around 150 women a year.

Since the 2012 "Planned Parenthood debacle," as Maynard-Harris called it, her group has received less money from Susan G. Komen. Still, Libby's Legacy had received around $350,000 from Komen since their first grant in 2009.

Now, that money is gone.

No one at the affiliate’s headquarters, located inside the Oviedo mall, would speak to News 13 Friday. A sign outside the store read, "Half off merchandise."

By the afternoon, the storefront was shuttered.

News 13 reached out to the chapter and national organization, but did not hear back.

Maynard-Harris started Orlando non-profit Libby's Legacy in 2007 after losing her mother to breast cancer. Her face adorns the mobile mammography units.

Maynard-Harris is not ready to throw in the towel.

“I do this in memory of my mother, so I’m never going to stop," she said.

Maynard-Harris said that the organization is still owed about $7,500 from Komen, as well as another $3,500 from last year. The email stated that they should still be receiving their check.

And not wanting to cut back services, Maynard-Harris said that they’ll have to do some creative fundraising.

“We’re going to need more volunteers, more events and certainly more corporate sponsorships," she said. “What we’re hoping for is local businesses who were supporting Komen recognize that Libby’s Legacy is your grassroots foundation."

News 13 utilized Guidestar, which aggregates non-profits, to locate the Central Florida chapter's IRS filings; only one filing from 1999 was on record.

Libby’s Legacy's founder said the news may also have ripple effects within the community.

For example, other grantees which help women do things, like pay utility bills while going through treatment, may be affected.