The Maryland branch of Susan G. Komen announced this week it will shut down following downsizing by its parent organization, a national nonprofit that funds breast cancer research and treatment.
Susan G. Komen Maryland, which is known for hosting large fundraisers in Baltimore, Hunt Valley and Columbia, has contributed more than $40 million since its founding in 1993 to community programs, education and national research focused on breast cancer, according to its website.
The group’s board members voted on April 1 to dissolve the charity, lay off its staff and donate its remaining assets to a number of local organizations, including the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, University of Maryland Medical System Foundation and the Saint Agnes Hospital Foundation. The list also includes nonprofit organizations like Blossoms of Hope, Moveable Feast, Inc. and Nueva Vida.
In a statement, Susan G. Komen Maryland blamed its closure on recent restructuring by the national nonprofit.
“Due to these recent changes nationally, money raised locally will no longer be directly accessible through programs to people impacted by breast cancer living here in Maryland,” said Michael Jessup, executive director of Susan G. Komen Maryland, in a news release. “We wanted to find a way to honor our mission and give one last gift to programs we have partnered with for so many years.”
In April 2020, Susan G. Komen announced it planned to centralize all of its operations by integrating the independent local organizations into the national organization. To save money, all of its staff members would be transitioned to remote work, the nonprofit said. Later, it announced five regional vice presidents would lead the effort.
“The evolution enables the organization to benefit from centralized back office systems and reduces duplication of efforts across the country,” read a news release from the national organization.
By January, Susan G. Komen announced that more than half of its local affiliates had “transitioned into the new, single-entity structure.”
“While this news is painful to so many of us in the breast cancer community, we know that using these funds, one last time, to support local breast cancer programs is the best way to honor our donors,” wrote Mardel Kowalewski, Susan G. Komen Maryland board of directors president.