How Panera Bread’s ‘Goes Pink’ campaign directly supports Moffitt’s mission

Every October, pink ribbons seem to wrap around our country as companies big and small introduce campaigns to support breast cancer awareness. It’s a worthy goal considering that nearly 5,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer every day and, of those, more than 700 people receive a diagnose of breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

The pink ribbon is highly recognizable and often associated with the Susan G. Komen nonprofit organization, but that group doesn’t own how pink ribbons are used. It is entirely up to individual companies to decide where to send the money raised from breast cancer awareness campaigns.

There’s been a backlash for years over “pinkwashing,” the practice of companies using support of breast cancer-related charities to promote their products and services. Some people might ask why that is so bad. After all, when a consumer buys a pink ribbon product, or service, some or all of the funds are going to breast cancer awareness and research, right? Well, maybe.

There are no federally mandated rules for marketing campaigns. That means it is nearly impossible for customers to track the money trail of allocated funds to cancer research or to discern what percentage of the money a company pockets and what percentage it donates.

There are many companies in the Tampa Bay area that passionately support the cause and make clear where donated money goes. Local franchises of Panera Bread are one such example. For 10 years, the bakery-cafes have partnered with Moffitt Cancer Center for the Panera Goes Pink campaign.

This year, on Oct. 4, the 24 local participating restaurants will donate all the proceeds from sales of their Pink Ribbon Bagel to Moffitt Cancer Center. Customers also can donate throughout the month using Panera’s Operation Dough-Nation Community Breadboxes.

“We are elated to be celebrating a 10-year milestone with Moffitt,” says Kevin Ricci, owner of Covelli Family Limited Partnership, a Panera franchisee. “Moffitt’s commitment to both the prevention and cure of cancer is unwavering and can be felt throughout the entire Tampa Bay community.”

The donations support Moffitt’s goal to increase cancer screening throughout the area. Breast cancer screening rates in the area are lower than desired and donations directly assist in providing mammograms to underserved women in the community. In the past nine years, the restaurants have raised more than $131,000—every penny of which went to Moffitt.

“Early detection of breast cancer and access to routine mammography screening is lifesaving,” says Cathy Grant, senior director of diversity at Moffitt Cancer Center, “Funding from our Panera Goes Pink partnership enables Moffitt’s outreach team to educate at-risk women throughout the greater Tampa Bay community about the importance of early detection and links uninsured women to no-cost mammograms.” ♦

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