Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

Small charity started by socialite builds to $200 million revenues per year

Through a combination of hard work, high-profile supporters and an effective nationwide structure, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has built up to a large disease focused nonprofit organization.

Last year The Komen Foundation raised almost $200 million towards breast cancer.

"The Komen Foundation has managed to get the celebrities, get the corporate partners, get the big events," said Linda Lampkin, with the Urban Institute's Center on Nonprofits & Philanthropy.

It has grown up to three times faster than other organizations and now others like the American Heart Association's are using similar tactics.

Nancy Brinker, Komen's younger sister, started the foundation in 1982 after promising to do everything she could to stop breast cancer to her sister.

Nancy Brinker's husband Norman Brinker was at the time turning his Chili's restaurant chain into Brinkler International which now a $4 billion dollar business.

The Brinklers lived in Dallas where oilmen had pleynty of cash - the first charity auction called Toys for Boy's raised $750,000.

In 1983, 800 people coursed five kilometers through Dallas, the first Race for the Cure. All were women.

After the first race's success, Komen began expanding into other cities, but stayed small and volunteer-driven. By 1989 it had five staff members, compared with nearly 200 today, and had raised $7 million in seven years.

To find out how the turning point which took this charity to the hundreds of millions per year click here.

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