by Doug Ulman
The last few months have been tough for the LIVESTRONG Foundation.
In light of the controversy around his cycling career, Lance has chosen to resign from the LIVESTRONG Foundation’s Board of Directors. His decision was painful for all of us but ultimately, Lance felt that he did not want attention distracted from LIVESTRONG’s mission. In the spirit of that noble choice, the Foundation moved to make official something that has been a commonly accepted fact for many years. We are most often referred to as the LIVESTRONG Foundation and that is now our legal name, too.
Lance devoted 15 years of his life to building the Foundation and we are deeply grateful to him. His leadership has produced significant progress and indelible milestones against cancer. He remains our single biggest donor and an inspiration for our work serving survivors.
Nonetheless, this moment is a reminder that our work has never been about just one person. LIVESTRONG has always been about helping people and families overcome the financial, emotional, practical and physical challenges that accompany cancer. It has grown into a network of millions of people—all those out there who need to know they are not alone in facing cancer.
Since our founding, we have worked with great partners in the cancer community to develop programs and services that help patients overcome cancer. We have raised nearly $500 million to fund services that can mean the difference between life and death for many. The Foundation has also backed policies to grow the scientific, medical and cancer communities’ efforts in developing new treatments, promoting public health and identifying cures. We have strategically targeted altering the culture of care, both in the U.S. and internationally.
Our finances, our standards of governance and our efficiency—as well as our accountability efforts—are remarkably strong. Charity Navigator has given our Foundation its highest four-star rating and Charity Watch has awarded us an “A.” We have been recognized by the National Health Council and Better Business Bureau for high standards, transparency and excellence. We continue to invest 82 percent of funds that we raise directly in programs that support cancer survivors, making us an industry leader. Our 100 full-time staff members, many of them survivors themselves, work hard every day to keep us in that leadership position.
We have re-committed to a three-part approach in helping the LIVESTRONG Foundation reach more people and drive even greater results in the future:
· First, we are going to continue investing in survivorship; providing important resources to shape smart policymaking; and advocating for the unique needs of people facing cancer everywhere.
· Second, we are going to remain focused on offering free patient navigation and support services, especially to those with limited access to even basic information about the disease.
· Third, we promise to continue an ongoing dialogue with you, our supporters, about your thoughts on how to be successful moving forward. Your voices are critical as we look toward the future.
While many know of us because of our founder and his battle with cancer, our success is due to you. Our excellence in programs, staff expertise and strength of partnerships are driven by your passion, your commitment and your hope that we can do more together than we can on our own. We draw strength knowing that our organization is not alone. And we at the LIVESTRONG Foundation remain dedicated to delivering the energy, the support and the guidance you have come to expect from us, all in service of helping those facing cancer gain every advantage against the disease.
Our commitment to you has never wavered. We promise it won’t in the future.
This week, like all weeks, we are grateful for your support.
Thank you and LIVESTRONG,
President and CEO