In meetings held with researchers from the hospitals supported by Pediatric Cancer Foundation, the message was clear: research is up and running but philanthropic dollars are down by 30% and that number may increase by 2021.
As institutions scramble to recover from the financial drain of COVID-19, researchers are already bracing for the reallocation of indirect funds. With only 4% of federal funding allocated to Pediatric Cancer Research, the dependency on non-profit support is significant. The National Cancer Institute controls billions of taxpayer dollars yet it only releases a fraction of its resources to specifically help children with cancer. Ironically, some of the most significant advances in the battle on cancer, in general, have been made by studying childhood cancers. Because of advances, over 75% of children survive their disease but the challenge is that many children are still dying because progress has been stagnant for the last 10 years due to major funding gaps.
This is where PCF has played a critical role for the last 50 years by funding risk. According to Inside Philanthropy, research-oriented non-profits who support basic research face a dearth of donations for the very science that is the gateway to federal support and potential treatments. It is easier to find donors willing to contribute to treatments or the care of patients, but a great deal tougher to find donors willing to support the first step which is the study of health and biology that may or may not translate into cures or treatments for years, if ever.
In the wake of a pandemic, the future of pediatric cancer research is unclear as researchers have expressed concerns of federal funding being slashed from and already grossly low 4%.
With 50 years of fundraising under their belt, PCF has weathered many economic storms because of their commitment to relationship based fundraising, careful oversight of expenditures and strategic allocation of funds towards research programs. This approach has garnered the support of repeat donors who feel connected to the organization, corporate sponsors who appreciate a return on their investment and bequest giving because of a trust that PCF will honor gifts as intended.
Pediatric Cancer will still be here when COVID-19 is gone, which is why Pediatric Cancer Foundation will remain on the front lines for a cure, where they have been since 1970. Additionally, the organization is positioned to partner with like minded organizations who support increased federal funding for Pediatric Cancer Research, not the decrease researchers are fearfully predicting.