The next Race for the Cure could be the last in Newport Beach.
Officials with the Orange County affiliate of Susan G. Komen told the Newport Beach City Council this week that they are frustrated with the city's misguided priorities and plan to move the race out of town after 23 years.
The Sept. 28 race should still take place at Fashion Island, as planned.
Recent Newport Beach mayors have not fired the starting gun and the city hasn't issued supportive proclamations as of late, said Lisa Wolter, executive director of the local affiliate.
And on Tuesday, City Council members denied the group's request for $17,000, signing off on $3,500 instead.
The decision marked a final straw for the local organization, which consequently withdrew its request for support and indicated it would be moving to a new location for the Orange County race.
"We don't feel entitled to any funding," Wolter said. "We do want to be in a municipality that values and wants to be the host of our event."
Susan G. Komen Orange County has been trying for several years to figure out what the city cares about when making grant decisions, she said.
In her view, the answer didn't seem to be charity.
Among 24 special events applicants this year, Newport Beach gave $1,000 for Irrelevant Week, which honors the last player chosen in the NFL draft; $10,000 to the Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race; and $15,000 to the Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival.
"You've got quite a mix of events in your special-events grant funding," Wolter said. "It's a lot of wine and food and parades and a yacht race," not events that seemed particularly philanthropic.
"I'm glad you enjoy parades, but I wonder if you've felt the way the community celebrates breast cancer survivors and mourns the people we've lost," she added.
Public good aside, not even an argument for economic impact seemed to have done the trick, Wolter said.
The race draws about 30,000 people, many of them donning their cause's trademark pink. Participants often stay, dine and shop at Fashion Island.
The group was not alone in its frustration. Only a handful of applicants received all the funding they had wanted.
At a study session May 27, representatives from several groups tried to make the case for why they deserve to get the full requested amount: the Christmas Walk brings thousands of people to Corona del Mar and the Newport Elementary School Foundation's classic car show addresses a significant need.
Even the Wine and Food Festival, which advertised hors d'oeuvres that would be passed on silver trays and a tasting pavilion to be decorated with chandeliers, wanted just a bit more cash to help promote the local food scene.
If the city had funded all the events as requested, the total would have reached $241,823.
Instead, amounts of support granted for the largely single-day events ranged from $510 to $15,000 for a total of $86,510 — a small fraction of the city's proposed $169.9-million General Fund expenditure budget for the upcoming fiscal year, but still an increase over the previous year, when the city gave out $73,934.
"This is the tough part about this process," city spokeswoman Tara Finnigan said. "How do you divide, how do you make this fair and somewhat even-handed … and try to take that public money and give it to as many good causes as you can?"