Cancer Research Fund of the Damon Runyon - Walter Winchell Foundation

Funding brave and bold.

aka Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation   |   New York, NY   |  http://www.damonrunyon.org

Mission

At Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, we raise money for high-risk, high-reward cancer research done by brilliant young scientists who are willing to push boundaries and break rules. In other words, we fund brave and bold. Because only by being brave and bold, by risking failure, are we going to achieve real and lasting success against a foe as complex, resilient and deadly as cancer.

Ruling year info

1947

President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Yung S. Lie PhD

Main address

One Exchange Plaza, 55 Broadway Suite 302

New York, NY 10006 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

13-1933825

NTEE code info

Cancer Research (H30)

Cancer (G30)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (H12)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Today’s scientists typically do not receive independent support from the federal government (the primary funder of research in the US) until age 42 on average. The federal government prefers safe, incremental research from established scientists. Unlike other cancer charities, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation does not place safe bets on well-known, established scientists. Our foundation frees top young researchers from this constraint and provides the funding needed to pursue their innovative ideas early in their careers.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program Overview

Since our founding in 1946, promising scientists identified and supported by Damon Runyon have gone on to make breakthrough discoveries that have transformed our understanding of cancer and develop new approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all forms of this disease. The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation offers six programs aimed at encouraging and advancing the work of early career cancer researchers with the highest promise. Each program is overseen by a separate committee of renowned scientists who select our award recipients and is designed to address a need or fill a gap in cancer research funding. Our grantmaking process is rigorous and highly competitive. We seek emerging talent with bold innovative ideas, who are willing to take risks and are not daunted by the most complex scientific challenges. Our alumni have been recognized around the world for their contributions to cancer research. As of 2019, 12 former Damon Runyon scientists have received the Nobel Prize for their groundbreaking research and hundreds more have been bestowed the highest accolades for their contributions.

Population(s) Served

The Damon Runyon Fellowship Award provides $231,000 of funding paid over 4 years to approximately 36 postdoctoral scientists annually that are completing their training and expanding their scientific expertise under the mentorship of a recognized scientific leader. To encourage physician-scientists to pursue a career in cancer research, awardees may also apply for assistance with medical school loan repayment of up to $100,000 on qualifying loans. At the end of their fellowships, the most exceptional fellows in this award program will be eligible to receive the Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists, which includes an additional $100,000 of support to further catalyze their research and careers.

Population(s) Served

The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation joined together with the Sohn Conference Foundation, dedicated to curing pediatric cancers, to establish the Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Fellowship Award. This four-year award provides $231,000 of funding to 3-5 scientists and clinicians annually, who conduct research with the potential to significantly impact the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of one or more pediatric cancers. Awardees may also apply for assistance with medical school loan repayment of up to $100,000 on qualifying loans. At the end of their fellowships, the most exceptional fellows in this award program will be eligible to receive the Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists, which includes an additional $100,000 of support to further catalyze their research and careers.

Population(s) Served

At the end of the Damon Runyon and Damon Runyon-Sohn Fellowship, there are often a select few who have greatly exceeded the Foundation’s highest expectations. These spectacular young scientists are the most likely to make paradigm-shifting breakthroughs that transform the way we prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. To catapult their research careers—and their impact on cancer—the Foundation makes an additional $100,000 investment over a two-year period in these exceptional individuals by selecting them as recipients of the Damon Runyon-Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists (5-6 awardees annually).

In doing so, the Foundation will: (a) Provide additional financial support to enable these scientists to continue the pursuit of bold and innovative ideas, (b) Accelerate the path to independence, and (c) Encourage a continued career in cancer research.

Population(s) Served

The Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award supports independent young physician-scientists conducting disease-oriented research that demonstrates a high level of innovation and creativity. The goal is to support the best young physician-scientists doing research aimed at improving the practice of cancer medicine.

The Clinical Investigator Award responds to three recognized realities: 1) Though there has never been a more pressing need or more promising time for clinical cancer research, fewer young physicians enter this area of investigation every year. 2) The number of institutions committed to training young physicians in the scientific discipline and methodologies of clinical investigation is critically low. 3) The burden of medical school debt (averaging nearly $200,000) discourages many physicians from pursuing clinical investigation.

The Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award offers solutions to these realities. 5-7 awardees will receive research support of $600,000 paid over three years, after which time they may be eligible to receive the Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award Continuation Grant to provide two additional years of support to complete a promising avenue of research or initiate/continue a clinical trial. In addition, awardees may also apply for assistance with medical school loan repayment of up to $100,000 on qualifying loans.

The Clinical Investigator Award program is specifically intended to provide outstanding young physicians with the resources and training structure essential to becoming successful clinical investigators. The goal is to increase the number of physicians capable of moving seamlessly between the laboratory and the patient’s bedside in search of breakthrough treatments.

Population(s) Served

The Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award supports the next generation of exceptionally creative thinkers with “high-risk, high-reward” ideas that have the potential to significantly impact our understanding of and/or approaches to the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of cancer but lack sufficient preliminary data to obtain traditional funding. The Innovation Award is specifically designed to provide funding to early career independent researchers who have an innovative new idea. It is not designed to fund incremental advances. The research supported by the award must be novel, exceptionally creative and, if successful, have the strong potential for high impact in the cancer field. The Stage 1 award will be for two years, $200,000 per year ($400,000 total) to 4-6 awardees annually. Stage 2 support for years three and four (an additional $400,000) will be granted to those awardees who demonstrate progress on their proposed research during years one and two of the award.

Population(s) Served

The Damon Runyon Physician-Scientist Training Award supports and encourages outstanding physicians to pursue cancer research careers by providing them with the opportunity for a protected research training experience under the mentorship of a highly qualified and gifted mentor. The four-year Physician-Scientist Training Award will provide $460,000 of funding to 3-5 physicians annually. Awardees may also apply for assistance with medical school loan repayment of up to $100,000 on qualifying loans.

Population(s) Served

The Damon Runyon Quantitative Biology Fellowship Award program is designed to encourage quantitative scientists (trained in fields such as mathematics, computer science, physics, engineering, or related) to pursue research careers in computational biology under the joint mentorship of leaders in both computational science (“dry lab”) and cancer biology (“wet lab”)*. By investing in this area, Damon Runyon will bring additional attention to the importance of these specially trained scientists for making meaningful progress in cancer biology.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The goal of Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation is to prevent and cure all cancers. That’s why we fund leading-edge laboratory research, as well as the translational and clinical research that moves breakthroughs to patients. Because fewer physicians are choosing science careers, we have dedicated programs focused on ensuring that we recruit and retain them in research. Physicians deeply understand cancer in humans and are especially driven to find cures for their patients. They are the bridge between scientific discovery and cures.

Damon Runyon uniquely identifies the most promising scientists early in their careers and provides them with the freedom and resources to pursue the next breakthroughs in cancer research. We foster new generations of elite scientists and fill gaps in traditional research funding that threaten future breakthroughs. Our strategy ensures that the most brilliant, creative and audacious scientific minds are singularly focused on this goal.

Through our six award programs, Damon Runyon scientists will receive guaranteed financial support, allowing them to focus on research, not grant-writing. Just as important, our awards offer them the freedom to follow their own ideas, explore new paths and take risks. Our prestigious endorsement attracts further funding, advances their careers, and accelerates their research.

Since our founding in 1946, promising scientists identified and supported by Damon Runyon have gone on to make breakthrough discoveries that have transformed our understanding of cancer and develop new approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all forms of this disease. Damon Runyon scientists have:

• Been front and center in deciphering the genetic drivers of cancer, including identifying the first cancer-causing gene and leadership in the national Human Genome Atlas project to identify the key genetic drivers of a broad range of cancers.
• Pioneered the study of the immune system, which has led to the current success of cancer immunotherapies.
• Developed many of the technologies used today to study cancer, such as tools to edit the genome (CRISPR Cas9) and study cancer at the single cell level.

Additionally, our scientists:

• Proved the link between cigarette smoking and cancer
• First cured a solid tumor with chemotherapy
• First cured a patient with Stage IV melanoma using only immunotherapy
• Were directly involved in the development and approval of new targeted therapies such as Herceptin, Erbitux, Yervoy, and Zelboraf. In fact, in an analysis of 12 recently approved cancer drugs, discoveries by Damon Runyon scientists were cited as important in each one
• Have founded innovative biotech companies, such as Juno Therapeutics, Syros Pharmacueticals, Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, and others

Damon Runyon has invested over $360 million in more than 3,700 exceptional scientists. Damon Runyon cancer researchers have made extraordinary breakthroughs in every area of cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. To this day, we support the next generation of leaders: emerging talent with unique insights, drive, and boundless vision. We will not stop until we have the tools to prevent or cure all cancers.

Financials

Cancer Research Fund of the Damon Runyon - Walter Winchell Foundation
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Cancer Research Fund of the Damon Runyon - Walter Winchell Foundation

Board of directors
as of 6/1/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Alan Leventhal

Chairman and CEO, Beacon Capital Partners LLC, Boston, MA

Term: 2010 -

Elaine Fuchs, PhD

Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor and Investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Head, Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development at The Rockefeller University, New York, NY

David Marshall

Chairman and CEO, Amerimar Realty Company, Philadelphia, PA

Thomas Fahey, Jr., MD

Senior Vice President Emeritus, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY

Scott Greenstein

President and Chief Content Officer, SiriusXM, New York, NY

John Myers

Director, Academy Securities, Fairfield, CT

Sanford Morhouse, Esq.

Of Counsel, Schulte, Roth, and Zabel LLP, New York, NY

Richard O'Reilly, MD

Claire L. Tow Chair of Pediatric Oncology Research, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY

David Livingston, MD

Emil Frei Distinguished Professor of Genetics and Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

Steven Burakoff, MD

Dean for Cancer Innovation at The Tisch Cancer Institute; Chief, Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology; Lillian and Henry M. Stratton Professor of Cancer Medicine; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY

Alan Leventhal

Chairman and CEO, Beacon Capital Partners, LLC, Boston, MA

Leon Cooperman

Chairman and CEO, Omega Advisors, Inc., New York, NY

David Beirne

General Partner, 10X Capital, Coral Gables, FL

Gary Erlbaum

President, Greentree Properties, Ardmore, PA

Richard Gaynor, MD

President of Research and Development, Neon Therapeutics, Cambridge, MA

Todd Golub, MD

Chief Scientific Officer; Director, Cancer Program, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Charles A. Dana Investigator in Human Cancer Genetics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School Investigator. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cambridge, MA

Michael Gordon

Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer, Angelo, Gordon & Company LP, New York, NY

Jay Ireland

President and CEO (Retired), General Electric Africa, New York, NY

Andrew Rachleff

President and CEO, Wealthfront, Inc., Palo Alto, CA

Karen Seitz

Founder and Managing Director, Fusion Partners, New York, NY

Buck French

General Partner, 10X Capital, San Francisco, CA

Steve Hayden

Vice Chairman and Chief Creative Officer (Retired), Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, NY

Steven Kandarian

President and CEO (Retired), Metlife, Inc., North Palm Beach, FL

Noah Knauf

General Partner, Bond Capital, San Francisco, CA

Deborah Coleman

Legal Counsel, Convexity Capital Management LP, Boston, MA

James Wells, PhD

Harry Wm. and Diana V. Hind Distinguished Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences; Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

Peter Van Camp

Executive Chairman, Equinix, Inc., Redwood City, CA

Cynthia Sulzberger

Palm Beach, FL

Nancy Simonian, MD

Chief Executive Officer, Syros Pharmaceuticals, Watertown, MA

Michael Seiden, MD, PhD

President, The US Oncology Network, The Woodlands, TX

William Raveis, Jr.

Founder, Chairman and CEO, William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance, Southport, CT

Gabrielle Layton, PhD

Palo Alto, CA

Morana Jovan-Embiricos, PhD

Managing Partner, F2 Capital Ventures, LLP, London, UK

Robyn Coles

President, TRATE Properties, Boston, MA

William Kaelin, Jr., MD

Professor, Department of Medicine Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

Nat Turner

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Flatiron Health, New York, NY

Judy Swanson

Hillsborough, CA

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 04/24/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Decline to state
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/01/2020

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.