Damon Runyon Blog

November 7, 2016

Lorraine Egan, President & Chief Executive Officer, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation


In this year’s Giving section of The New York Times, a prominent Silicon Valley donor, Cari Tuna, was quoted as follows:


“The biggest piece of advice I would give any donor is to be proactive,” Ms. Tuna said.  “Find the best charity for your values.  The charities that are the most aggressive and best at marketing aren’t necessarily the ones doing the most good.”


I couldn’t agree more.  Splashy ad campaigns and celebrity endorsements do not mean that an organization is impactful or stewards donor dollars well.  Our donors are very clear about our mission of fostering the best emerging talent in cancer research and know that 100% of their donations will go to young scientists who have been carefully vetted by the most prominent senior scientists in the nation.  Our mission is clear and our organization is transparent.  Donors should expect that from every charity.


I would add that there is huge opportunity to leverage impact when donors partner with existing highly effective organizations. An example is our partnership with Debbie and Andy Rachleff to create a unique award focused on high-risk/high-return research.  We brought our expertise in cancer research to the table and they brought their experience from Silicon Valley and the venture capital world. Together, we launched an innovative program called the Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award focused on high risk/high return research and invested in ideas that are already having significant impact. Examples include gene editing technology and single cell sequencing that are revolutionizing not just cancer, but all of biomedical research.