News
Member news plus local and national philanthropic reporting

  • February 17, 2021 10:06 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (February 15, 2021 by Holly Quinn, by Technical.ly) Do More 24 Delaware, the 24-hour online fundraiser for nonprofits, is a fun, community-focused way to donate to local organizations.

    Sort of a combination of a digital competition and an old-fashioned telethon, Do More 24 has, in the past, promoted in-person fundraising events that aligned with the daylong event, from 5Ks to barn bashes to social media conferences. Last year’s event, falling just days before Delaware went into COVID-19 lockdown, saw the nonprofit community collectively raise nearly $400,000 for 276 organizations.

    This year, Do More 24 will be held March 4 to 5. With social distancing still necessary, the main event is a virtual concert on the 5th featuring country music star Jimmie Allen, who grew up in Sussex County.

    “I say it with pride — I am a Delaware native,” Allen said in a statement. “I love the small town I’m from, Milton, and I love the entire state of Delaware. And any time I can give back to my home state I’m all for it.”

    Tickets for the “Best Shot” star’s online concert are $50, with proceeds going to participating nonprofits as part of prizes awarded during the event. You can also get a ticket by donating a minimum of $50 to the nonprofit(s) of your choice during the event, which will happen soon after the 24 hours wrap up.

    Delaware’s Do More 24 currently has a $75,000 stretch pool, thanks to donors like the Longwood Foundation and the Delaware Community Foundation: These funds will be used to match donations made during the event on a proportional basis. So, for example, a nonprofit raising 5% of the overall funds raised will receive 5% of the stretch pool.

    Throughout the day (and night), participating donors are encouraged to engage with their favorite nonprofits in a good-natured competitive way, helping to get them on the leaderboard and win challenges by donating and encouraging others to donate via social media. In 2020Family Promise of Northern New Castle County topped the leaderboard, raising nearly $34,000 and winning 10 challenges.

    “The efforts of our community-based organizations in response to COVID-19 have been nothing short of heroic,” said Michelle A. Taylor, president and CEO of United Way of Delaware, which is organizing Do More 24 2021 alongside Spur Impact. “In the wake of the pandemic, nonprofits banded together, identified critical needs and pivoted quickly to meet those needs. From providing food, shelter and financial assistance to providing personal protective equipment, computers and internet and even standing up learning pods, community-based organizations continue to provide vital support.”

    Charlie Vincent, executive director of Spur Impact, the organization behind the Millennial Summit and the year-round giving platform DEGives.org, is confident the 2021 event will be another success.

    “Our planning team will rise to the challenge,” he said, “and Do More 24 Delaware will empower the next generation of donors to raise even more meaningful dollars for those nonprofits serving Delawareans, all of which have been affected by the pandemic.”

    To participate as a donor, or if you have a nonprofit and are interested in participating or have a nonprofit fundraising event on March 4 and 5 you’d like to tie in to DoMore24, go to DoMore24Delaware.org.

  • February 12, 2021 11:00 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (February 11, 2021 by Holly Quinn, Technical.ly) WSFS is a Philanthropy Delaware Member. In 2019, with the acquisition of BeneficialWSFS doubled in size, from a $7 billion bank to a $14 billion bank. Clearly, it’s been growing, but it’s also changing internally, with a delivery transformation program that aims to bring most, if not all, of the company’s tech under the WSFS roof.

    “We’ve been paying third parties to support some of these efforts, and we’ve realized that we need to make the commitment both from a technology standpoint as well as from an HR standpoint,” Corynn Ciber, SVP and chief digital officer for WSFS, told Technical.ly. “We don’t have a quality engineering team right now, and we realized that we need one. So we’ve got a testing team and a testing lead in our plan to invest what we need to invest in order to grow.”

    All in all, WSFS, which has been hiring throughout the pandemic, plans to add 18 new jobs this year in tech-specific fields, including business process analyst, junior data reporting analyst and Salesforce developer. All jobs are remote, at least for now.

    Ciber hopes to hire locally for the jobs, which include entry level positions, senior roles and harder-to-find niche developers.

    “We’d like to stay in the [bank’s] footprint,” she said, which at this point includes Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey and is expanding. With more people having access to coding programs like Zip Code Wilmington and Code Differently’s Return Ready program, thanks to Delaware CARES Act funding for workforce development, it’s another opportunity for recent grads, and Ciber said they’re keeping an eye on upcoming cohorts.

    The transformation is one we’ve seen quite a bit over the last few years. Indeed, it’s fair to say that Delaware’s fintech boom, while includes companies like PayPal that have always been tech, has really been visible in the way banks have transformed into tech companies, rather than a boom of new Silicon Valley-style startups in the financial sector.

    Ciber said she knows banks still have a reputation of being old and staid, but she stressed that the bank, which brands itself as homey and community forward, is changing the way its associates work.

    “We have established a digital office, we’ve hired a chief digital officer — which is me — and we’re introducing new tools, new applications like Salesforce and MuleSoft, and we’re upgrading and enhancing our technical architecture to be able to support that,” she said.

    Switching to in-house tech teams will also keep the company grounded, Ciber said.

    “With [other] financial institutions, you don’t necessarily get the sense of ownership and responsibility and accountability that you get here,” she said. “We just published some of the best earnings around, we just got ranked top 10 in the Forbes list of [America’s] Best Banks, and every person, whether you’re a branch associate or whether you’re the CEO can look through the results and say, ‘That’s because of me.’ If we’re going to keep on this trajectory, in order to have that sense of pride and ownership, we have to start investing in our technology.”

  • February 01, 2021 8:46 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (January 28, 2021 by Press Release) Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is a Philanthropy Delaware Member. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware is proud to announce that it received a score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2021 Corporate Equality Index, the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality. Highmark Delaware is pleased to earn the distinction for the second time and join 765 other U.S. businesses that also earned top marks this year.

    “While 2020 presented an array of challenges that Highmark employees had to overcome, I am proud that our continued dedication to maintaining a safe, healthy and inclusive work culture did not go unnoticed. Whether in an office building or home office, or in person or online, our commitment to ensuring our employees are free to be their best selves did not change,” said Nick Moriello, president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware.

    Again this year, three Highmark Health companies have received perfect scores, with Highmark Delaware and Highmark West Virginia making the list for the second time, and Highmark Inc. for the fourth year in a row.

    “It’s an honor for Highmark Inc. to receive ongoing recognition as leaders in the LGBTQ+ communities we serve across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware,” said Robert James, Highmark Health Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. “While this year served as an inflection point for many marginalized communities across the country, we proved our ability to rise to the occasion by maintaining employee engagement and ensuring a welcoming environment for all.”

    The results of the 2021 CEI showcase how 1,142 U.S.-based companies are not only promoting LGBTQ-friendly workplace policies in the U.S., but also for the 57% of CEI-rated companies with global operations who are helping advance the cause of LGBTQ inclusion in workplaces abroad. Highmark Delaware’s efforts in satisfying all of the CEI’s criteria earned a 100 percent ranking and the designation as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.

    “From the previously unimaginable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, to a long overdue reckoning with racial injustice, 2020 was an unprecedented year. Yet, many businesses across the nation stepped up and continued to prioritize and champion LGBTQ equality,” said Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President. “This year has shown us that tools like the CEI are crucial in the work to increase equity and inclusion in the workplace, but also that companies must breathe life into these policies and practices in real and tangible ways. Thank you to the companies that understand protecting their LGBTQ employees and consumers from discrimination is not just the right thing to do—but the best business decision.”

    The CEI rates employers providing these crucial protections to over 18 million U.S. workers and an additional 17 million abroad. Companies rated in the CEI include Fortune magazine’s 500 largest publicly traded businesses, American Lawyer magazine’s top 200 revenue-grossing law firms (AmLaw 200), and hundreds of publicly and privately held mid- to large-sized businesses.

    The CEI rates companies on detailed criteria falling under four central pillars:

    ●          Non-discrimination policies across business entities;

    ●          Equitable benefits for LGBTQ workers and their families;

    ●          Supporting an inclusive culture; and,

    ●          Corporate social responsibility.

    The full report is available online at www.hrc.org/cei.

    The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

  • January 21, 2021 10:59 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (January 21, 2021 by Press Release) - Do More 24 Delaware is a 24-hour day of giving for nonprofits serving Delaware that runs from 6 PM on Thursday, March 4, 2021 until 6 PM on Friday, March 5, 2021. The fundraising event is being organized by United Way of Delaware, Spur Impact Association, and the Delaware Gives Initiative. Discover Bank, an organization focused on supporting its local community, has provided a generous sponsorship as a premiere Philanthropic Champion.

    To help motivate donors to give to their favorite nonprofits, the event features a number of cash prizes that will be awarded to participating organizations over the 24-hour giving day. As part of Discover Bank’s sponsorship, twenty nonprofits will win Community Impact prizes totaling $20,000. To be eligible for the Community Impact prizes, nonprofits must have focused their efforts on one of a handful of sectors, such as housing and homelessness, economic development, and community revitalization. “Discover Bank is pleased to support Do More 24 Delaware,” said James J. Roszkowski, President. “One of our core values is ‘We succeed together,’ and we believe that supporting and encouraging nonprofits in their broader fundraising efforts ultimately creates stronger partnerships and more robust community services.”

    More details are available on the event website at www.DoMore24Delaware.org

    Last year’s Do More 24 Delaware event raised nearly $400,000 in 24 hours for 276 nonprofits, with 41% of donors self-reporting as being first-time donors. All 501(c)(3) nonprofits serving Delaware are eligible to participate in Do More 24 Delaware, and individuals can also create personal fundraising pages to support their favorite nonprofit as part of the event. During the giving day, donors can search for their favorite nonprofit and donate. Many nonprofits will have their own match prizes in addition to being eligible for the event stretch pool and other prizes. For more information, visit the website or the individual nonprofit’s fundraising pages.

  • January 20, 2021 12:44 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (January 19, 2020 by Mike Rocheleau Delaware Business Times)

     The Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children announced today that supporters can now double their impact through a new Matching Gifts Program. Through a partnership with Double the Donation, supporters of the Foundation and its mission to protect children and confront abuse can have their gifts leveraged to help protect even more children by simply completing a short matching gift form on the Beau Biden Foundation website.

    “We are always looking for new ways to help protect children. The Matching Gifts Program allows our supporters to protect even more children without giving any more than they can afford. Their generosity is matched by their employer. I truly hope folks will take a moment to use our site and check if their employer is one of our match partners,” said a spokesperson for the organization in a statement.

    Each year thousands of companies (including more than 65% of Fortune 500 companies), representing more than 18 million people, offer matching gifts made by their employees to support nonprofits like the Beau Biden Foundation. Local employers currently enrolled in the Match Program include BlackRock, Inc., Bank of America, Boeing, AstraZeneca, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Comcast.

    Select companies also offer an additional incentive for those employees/supporters who are also volunteering with the Beau Biden Foundation. This volunteer grant program rewards employees for giving back to their communities. Participating companies provide monetary donations to eligible nonprofits like the Beau Biden Foundation as a way to recognize employees who volunteer. These grants enable corporations to give back to their communities and support organizations that employees are already passionate about. Hundreds of participating companies offer volunteer grant programs with donations generally ranging from $10-15 per hour volunteered. Meaning that not only will the Beau Biden Foundation receive the help provided by its amazing volunteers, but the Foundation will gain additional contributions from the volunteer’s employers as well.

    The Foundation has created a matching gift page on their website to make it easy for supporters to check if their company will match gifts, as well as the form guidelines and instructions needed to submit the match –www.BeauBidenFoundation.org/MatchingGifts.


  • January 19, 2021 12:23 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)
    (January 14, 2020 by Holly Quinn at Technical.ly)- Delaware State University is a Philanthropy Delaware Member. 

    Delaware State University has joined the Propel Center, a new Apple-funded global campus headquartered in Atlanta that supports learning and development for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the U.S.

    The Apple initiative will serve as a hub for HBCUs, connecting students and faculty with curriculum relating to AI and machine learning, agricultural technologies, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, career preparation and entrepreneurship. The hub’s programming will be dispersed via a virtual platform, the physical Atlanta campus and “on-campus activations at partner institutions,” per a news release.

    “By bringing exceptional students across the country to learn real-world skills in and outside the classroom, Propel will redefine the future of work for a smaller, more inclusive global community,” said Del State President Tony Allen, who was recently appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Economic and Community Advisory Council, in a statement.

    The Propel Center is part of Apple’s $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, which was imagined and designed by the nonprofit Ed Farm, with Apple and Southern Company as founding partners.

    “These investments are critical as we begin to truly scale Black innovation ecosystems,” said Anthony Oni, Ed Farm chairman. “By leveraging technology and partnerships to connect students with unique learning opportunities, we can lift up the talent that already exists at these institutions of higher learning and accelerate their development. In doing so, we will have a hand in shaping the workforce of the future — and the leaders of tomorrow.”

    Apple has had a partnership with Del State since 2018 as part of its Digital Learning Initiative, providing every incoming student with an iPad or MacBook. That program helped the university to pivot to virtual courses when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

  • January 19, 2021 10:14 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)
    (January 18, 2020 by BUSINESS WIRE) - American Water Works Company, Inc. (NYSE: AWK), the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company, demonstrated its commitment to inclusion and diversity by hosting its second annual Inclusion Day on January 12 to explore how the company can continue to foster open, fair, inclusive and respectful ways of working together.

    “Having a day like this demonstrates the company’s commitment to cultivating a workplace where differences are accepted. This effort encourages employees to engage in meaningful conversations that promote diversity and inclusion to honor and celebrate differences in our employees, including race and ethnicity,” said Valoria Armstrong, chief inclusion officer. “American Water is honored to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy by providing our employees with a paid day off from work in order to volunteer their personal time to participate in service activities that promote and recognize diversity and inclusion in their local communities.”

    To inspire community giving and honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 18, the American Water Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by American Water, provided each employee’s Giving Account with a $18 reward to in turn, donate to an eligible charity of choice. To further support employee efforts, the Foundation will also make a $10,000 contribution to the Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social Change.

    “One of the primary focus areas of our Foundation is to support American Water employees in giving back to organizations that are important to them,” said Carrie Williams, president, American Water Charitable Foundation. “In addition to our Employee Volunteer and Matching Gift Program, campaigns that engage our employees, by helping us direct Foundation funds, encourage diversity of thoughts and ideas. Together, we can make a meaningful difference.”

    The company’s Inclusion Day featured discussions led by representatives from the company’s Talent Acquisition, Learning & Development, Benefits and Supplier Diversity departments about how these teams are championing an inclusive and diverse approach to the work they do. In-depth insights and a powerful conversation focusing on inclusion was led by Walter Lynch, chief executive officer, Valoria Armstrong, chief inclusion officer, Bruce Hawk, president of regulated operations and military services group and special guests Sheri Evans Depp, director, Global Talent Management, Diversity, Community and Corp. Business Partners at Lexmark along with six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Additionally, information was shared with employees about how to get involved with enhancing emotional safety opportunities through allyship and ways to participate in the company’s new Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs).

    American Water sees diversity as a vital element in creating an environment where differences are accepted and are important to the company’s success. The company values and promotes diversity in the workforce and aims to reflect the local communities it serves through the people it employs.

    About American Water

    With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

    About the American Water Charitable Foundation

    The American Water Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides a formal way to demonstrate the company’s ongoing commitment being a good neighbor, citizen, and contributor to the communities where American Water and its employees live, work and operate. The Foundation helps support American Water employee-identified nonprofit endeavors.

  • January 13, 2021 3:08 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (January 11, 2020 by Martin Levin NPQ) - When those with wealth announce new initiatives, they make headlines. They often want to step in to find solutions that governments, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector have failed to deliver. Their objectives are noble—and if successful, they can improve the lives of millions.

    But the ability to make large investments brings with it a degree of power and influence that makes big donors a class unto themselves. In 2012, Paul Brest, the former president of the Hewlett Foundation, observed that this trend put donors and their foundations into the place of “architects, general contractors, or engineers,” with work that “often verges on the operational.”

    As a practical matter, only a foundation staffed with experts in a field can undertake this work. During the past decade, foundations played increasingly active and visible problem-solving roles by building fields, brokering collaborative arrangements, and supporting systems change and advocacy.

    At a time when public budgets are already strained, large infusions of money that aim to cure disease, improve education, reduce hunger, combat the climate crisis, stem poverty, or heal community conflict would seem beyond reproach. If a philanthropist wants to invest $100 million or $1 billion in any of these areas, rather than buy a private island, how can we argue?

    In 2006, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation targeted a new effort to reduce hunger in Africa by improving how local farmers worked their fields. They imagined they could help transform the traditional approaches that were leaving millions starving. The foundation has become the major funder of a $1-billion effort embodied in the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

    According to Jan Urhahn, who heads the Food Sovereignty Program at the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung’s Southern Africa Office in Johannesburg, AGRA came to life with a clear and dramatic vision. He writes in Jacobin that it “set out to double the agricultural yields and incomes of 30 million smallholder households, thereby halving both hunger and poverty in 20 African countries by 2020.”

    AGRA’s approach reflects the thinking of its donors. Gates, relying on the Western business models from which its own resources were harvested, believes hunger reduction comes from agricultural improvement, and that this requires governments “to invest public resources into modernization of the rural sector…for a critical mass of smallholders to transition from subsistence to commercially-oriented farm enterprises, supported by the increasing presence of the private sector.”

    The resulting growth in productivity generates marketable surpluses and increased farm income that has been shown to spur significant additional growth in the rural non-farm economy through expanded business opportunities for transporting, trading, processing, and retailing farm surpluses; increased demand for local goods and services from better-off farm households; and by the real-income boost to all consumers delivered through lower food prices…

    While this potentially virtuous cycle remains subject to volatility, especially in contexts of shifting policies and variable weather patterns, it remains the central process by which productivity growth has been shown to drive rural poverty reduction through increased off-farm value-addition, employment, and income generation, as well as through lower food costs.

    In practical terms, AGRA’s efforts worked to recreate the industrial agricultural approach of the West. They urged the governments of AGRA partners to create farm input subsidy programs (FISPs). As Urhahn details, “Farmers are expected to purchase the seeds—mostly hybrid—and synthetic fertilizers promoted by AGRA. The state subsidies for small farms provide an incentive to introduce the bundle of farming technologies AGRA counts as part of its Green Revolution. FISPs have been introduced on a significant scale in ten of AGRA’s thirteen ‘focus countries,’ including Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Zambia, and Tanzania.” Food production was steered away from traditional food crops and toward those the program favors, and to using seeds and farming techniques approved by AGRA—more or less the opposite of what a philosophy of regenerative agriculture would recommend.

    After 14 years, outside observers tell a story of AGRA’s failure. A consortium of organizations looked at the available public data and concluded in a report entitled False Promises that these strategies haven’t worked and hurt many small farmers:

    • “In countries in which AGRA operates, there has been a 30 percent increase in the number of people suffering hunger, a condition affecting 130 million people in the 13 AGRA focus countries.”
    • “Minimal reduction in rural poverty or hunger…poverty and hunger remained staggeringly high…”
    • “Further erosion of food security and nutrition for poor small-scale food producers where Green Revolution incentives for priority crops drove land use towards maize and away from more nutritious and climate-resilient traditional crops like millet and sorghum. While seeds for traditional crops were formerly easy and cheap to get hold of via farmers exchange, the farmers now have to pay for seeds of “priority crops.”
    • Strong evidence of negative environmental impacts, including acidification of soils under monoculture cultivation with fossil fuel based synthetic fertilizers.”

    In sum, they found “little evidence of significant increases in the incomes or food security of small-scale food producers.”

    The role of the Gates Foundation in this effort is clear—its power to shape direction and strategy is evident. That its initiative has not worked is part of the risk that comes with innovation. More troubling, though, is that in any public sense, “AGRA fails to be accountable.”

    It has not published an overall evaluation of the impact of its programs. It presents no reliable estimates of the number of small-scale food producer households reached, improvements in their yields, household net incomes or food security, or its progress in achieving its own ambitious goals. Similarly, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided more than half of AGRA’s funding, remains silent. This lack of accountability and oversight is astounding for a program that drove the region’s agricultural development policies with its narrative of technology-driven input-intensive methods for so long.

    Sue Desmond-Hellmann, Gates Foundation CEO, says, “The world won’t get better by itself. We must set big goals and hold ourselves accountable every step of the way.” But is self-accountability enough when the lives of so many people are at risk? At a moment when a small group of fabulously wealthy men and women can mix their own beliefs with their money to steer efforts that lives depend on, we must grapple more directly and forcefully with this critical question.

    Donors may agree with the Gates Foundation when it asserts it does its “work in collaboration with grantees and other partners, who join with us in taking risks, pushing for new solutions, and harnessing the transformative power of science and technology.”

    We strive to engage with our grantees and partners in a spirit of trust, candid communication, and transparency. Our collective efforts also depend on the support and resources of governments, the private sector, communities, and individuals.

    But, as Urhahn notes, that belief is not universally held: “Many social movements, experts, and NGOs…insist that hunger isn’t a problem of production—rather, it’s rooted in the unequal distribution of power resources and control over agricultural inputs such as land and seeds.” Yet the wealth of a large donor may block the ability to hear and learn from these voices.

    In an era when so many well-meaning but self-directed wealthy people are turning to philanthropy and public interest investing, building in accountability is vital. But who ensures donors will be held accountable? When charity comes to control public policy, the public’s interest cannot be entrusted to private parties.

  • January 13, 2021 2:32 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (January 11, 2020 Holly Quinn Technical.ly) - Applications are open again for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), giving small businesses another opportunity to receive financial relief, whether they received and spent their first round fund or were unable to get funding last time.

    Yes, sole proprietorships, independent contractors, partnerships and LLCs without employees are eligible for PPP funds. If you need assistance applying, contact the Delaware Small Business Association or find local assistance using the SBA assistance map.

    This time around, in order to give less of an advantage to big businesses, community banks get first draw. Fortunately, Delaware has plenty of them to choose from.

    Here are some of the smaller financial institutions you might consider, which have indicated on their websites that they’re participating in this round of PPP:

    • Artisans’ Bank
    • Del One Credit Union 
    • First Citizens Community Bank
    • Franklin Mint Credit Union
    • Fulton Bank, National Association
    • WSFS (A Philanthropy Delaware Member)

    To explore other local banking options, including whether they’re small business lenders, check out this BankLocal tool.

  • January 11, 2021 3:27 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (January 5, 2020 by Mike Rocheleau Delaware Business Times) - Through the generosity of the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation of Wilmington, the American Cancer Society received a $792,000 grant to fund Dr. Weibo Luo’s groundbreaking breast cancer research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The research seeks to better understand breast cancer stem cells at the molecular level using a combination of biochemical and genetic approaches in regulating the HIF oxygen pathway. The project has the potential to provide new strategies for preventing cell growth and metastasis in all types of cancer by better understanding the role of the ZMYMD8 protein and its effect on stem cell survival. This study could uncover a novel approach for preventing the devastation and certain death of breast cancer metastasis.

    COVID-19 has posed a serious challenge to the American Cancer Society’s ability to fund research.  Due to the pandemic, the Society, the largest nonprofit funder of cancer research outside the federal government, is facing a reduction to cancer research funding by 50 percent this year

    “It is an honor for me and my laboratory to receive the research grant award from the American Cancer Society,” said Dr. Weibo Luo, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Pharmacology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in a statement. “I am grateful to the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation for selecting this project to fund.  The Foundation’s support will help us expand our breast cancer research program at the University of Texas Southwestern. This award will greatly aid our ongoing breast cancer research and facilitate discoveries in breast cancer etiology and treatment. With the generous support from the American Cancer Society and the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation, we hope that our research can discover a therapeutic target to better treat breast cancer in patients.”

    “Dr. Luo’s research will focus on the origins and treatment of breast cancer and its metastasis by studying stem cells in targeted environments. This basic and important research is closely aligned with the mission of the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation,” said William J. Martin, Secretary-Treasurer of the Moseley Foundation in a statement. “Mrs. Moseley established the Foundation with the principal goal of funding crucial scientific research that will make a difference in people’s lives. Partnering with the American Cancer Society to support its 2020 Cancer Research Funding Challenge reflects the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation’s ongoing commitment to funding innovative stem cell research, particularly during a time when laboratories nationwide have been forced to adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic.”

    “Even as we face a global pandemic, it is critically important not to let our momentum slow as we pursue promising answers that have enormous potential to save lives from cancer,” said Bill Phelps PhD, Sr. Vice President, Extramural Discovery Science. “We are grateful for our partnership with the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation and for their continued dedication to help change the lives of cancer patients now and for generations to come.”

    This gift is in support of the Society’s 2020 Cancer Research Funding Challenge, which was launched this summer to steward and protect our cancer research program. This initiative and the leadership gift from the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation will help fill the gap in our revenue and allow us to continue to invest in research that is so critical to future advances in understanding and reducing the devastating impact of cancer.

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