Planned Parenthood may have helped Komen in its effort to rebuild good will because it has accepted the apology and expressed a willingness for the two groups to continue working as partners, some experts said. Maryland Planned Parenthood doesn't receive funds from Komen but was still pleased by the organization's decision.

"While we were not directly affected, we are just thrilled that they reversed their decision and realized their mission is in line with ours," said ChristieLyn Diller, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Maryland. "We certainly welcome anyone who wishes to continue supporting them to do so. We see Komen as a partner in helping in the early detection of breast cancer."

It is not known how many sponsors, if any, expressed displeasure at Komen's decisions.

Several of Komen's national corporate sponsors — American Airlines , Ford Motor Company and Yoplait — said Thursday they would stand by the charity because of its record of supporting breast cancer patients

Several sponsors of Komen Maryland contacted by The Baltimore Sun on Friday did not respond to requests for comment. Komen Maryland has counted a growing number of corporate sponsors throughout the years, including Safeway, McCormick, public relations firm IMRE and The Baltimore Sun Media Group.

Meanwhile, local Komen affiliates are reaching out to supporters.

Brittany Fowler, a spokeswoman for Komen Maryland, said the group sent a letter Friday to people on its email list explaining the changes. She said Komen Maryland doesn't give money to the local Planned Parenthood group because it has never applied for a grant. She said she hopes people will still support local activities, including an inaugural breast cancer run to be held in April in Ocean City.

"We hope people will look at us for what we do for the community," Fowler said. Komen Maryland provides $2.5 million a year to 29 programs that provide services such as mammograms or meals to women undergoing breast cancer treatment.

Critics of Komen's initial decision applauded the reversal Friday. Sens.Benjamin L. Cardinand Barbara A. Mikulski were among 24 senators who wrote a letter Thursday to Komen officials calling on them to restore funding to Planned Parenthood.

"The national Komen Foundation's reversal is a victory for women who rely on Planned Parenthood to get the breast cancer screenings they need," Mikulski said in a statement. "Politics should never come between a woman and her access to breast exams. I'm pleased Komen realized its error and did the right thing."

Rebecca Hamilton, an associate professor of marketing at the Robert H. SmithSchool of Business at the University of Maryland, said Komen can continue to improve its image in the coming months by promoting its programs and reminding people of the good things it does in the community. It also must continually remind people that it won't make same mistake again, Hamilton said.

"When people give money again, they're going to be wondering if Komen is going to use [views] they didn't know about to allocate their funds," Hamilton said. "They're going to have to be very clear about why they made their decision and help people understand whether or not they can trust them again in the future."

Reuters and Baltimore Sun reporter Matthew Hay Brown contributed to this article.

andrea.walker@baltsun.com

twitter.com:ankwalker

  • Text BUSINESS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun Business text alerts