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 the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, our focus is singular: high-risk, high-reward cancer research. We support early career scientists with the brilliance and passion to push boundaries and break rules in pursuit of life-changing advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. By providing our scientists with the necessary funding resources when others do not, we enable them to bring their breakthrough ideas from whiteboards to reality. Our funding gives them the freedom to undertake risk today so that future generations may reap the rewards.

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

Since our founding in 1946, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation has invested nearly $420M to fund over 3,900 young scientists and their innovative ideas from bench to bedside toward our mission to end all forms of cancer. Through the guidance of our unparalleled scientific committees, we find the most promising early career scientists, support their high-risk, high-reward research, and provide them a network of peers and mentors that enables them to make critical breakthroughs when other, traditional funding sources will not. Today’s scientists typically do not receive independent support from the federal government (the primary funder of research in the US) until age 42. We believe that these young investigators are the key to transformative developments in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Our foundation aims to free them from the constraints of "safe bet funding" and provide them with the support needed to pursue their brave and bold ideas.

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 made breakthrough discoveries that have transformed our understanding of cancer and developed new approaches to its prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Damon Runyon 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 rigorous grantmaking process seeks emerging talent with bold innovative ideas, who are willing to take risks and are not daunted by the most complex scientific challenges. As of 2022, 13 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
Researchers

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 researchers in this award program are 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
Researchers

At the end of the Damon Runyon Fellowship, there are often a select few researchers 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 provides additional financial support to enable these scientists to continue the pursuit of bold and innovative ideas, accelerates the path to independence, and encourages a continued career in cancer research.

Population(s) Served
Researchers

The Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award was developed to accelerate the process of moving discoveries from bench-to-bedside by identifying the best early career physician-scientists and supporting their patient-oriented, translational research. In providing outstanding young physicians with the resources and training structure essential to becoming successful clinical investigators, this innovative program aims to increase the number of physicians who can seamlessly move between the laboratory and the clinic in search of breakthrough diagnostics and treatments. The Clinical Investigator Award provides each recipient $600,000 over three years. Recipients are also offered the opportunity to retire up to $100,000 of their medical school debt, recognizing the incredible financial burden physicians incur during their training. Furthermore, each awardee has the opportunity to apply for two additional years of funding ($400,000 over two years).

Population(s) Served
Researchers

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, not 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 is awarded to 4-6 scientists annually, for two years at $200,000 per year ($400,000 total). The Stage 2 award, supporting years three and four (an additional $400,000), is granted to those awardees who demonstrate significant progress on their proposed research during years one and two of the award.

Population(s) Served
Researchers

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 experience under the training of a highly qualified and gifted mentor. The four-year award provides $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
Researchers

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 brings additional attention to the importance of these specially trained scientists for making meaningful progress in cancer biology. This three-year award provides $240,000 of funding to 3-5 scientists annually. Awardees may also apply for assistance with medical school loan repayment of up to $100,000 on qualifying loans.

Population(s) Served
Researchers

Effective in 2021, Damon Runyon no longer offers new awards through the Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Fellowship Award program. 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 provided $231,000 annual funding to 3-5 scientists and clinicians who conducted research with the potential to significantly impact the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of one or more pediatric cancers. As of 2022, there are eight previously selected scientists completing their research. To date, this award has funded 33 scientists focused on pediatric cancers.

NOTE: We restructured our award programs portfolio and encourage eligible postdoctoral pediatric cancer research applicants to submit applications for the Damon Runyon Fellowship Award.

Population(s) Served
Researchers

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of scientists supported via Covid relief/extension funding

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Researchers

Related Program

Damon Runyon Physician-Scientist Training Award

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

Scientists in the final year of their awards were given the opportunity to apply for up to 6 months of additional funding to support their research that was impacted by Covid related shutdowns.

Average grant amount

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Researchers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Median grant amount

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Researchers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of new awards given each year

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Researchers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

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.

We believe that encouraging emerging young talent to pursue their brave and bold ideas is the best strategy to achieve cancer research innovations. Our six programs span translational research (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award and Damon Runyon Physician-Scientist Training Award), training of tomorrow’s scientific leaders (Damon Runyon Fellowship Award, Damon Runyon Quantitative Biology Fellowship Award, and Damon Runyon-Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists), and cutting-edge innovation (Damon Runyon Rachleff Innovation Award).

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 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. Additionally, we offer to retire up to $100,000 in medical school debt for those physician scientists who are pursuing cancer 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
• 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
• Have founded innovative biotech companies, such as Juno Therapeutics, Syros Pharmacueticals, Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, and others
• Have been awarded the highest honors in science, including 13 Nobel Prizes as of 2022

Damon Runyon has invested over $420 million in more than 3,900 exceptional scientists. 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.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Academic researchers.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

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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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Cancer Research Fund of the Damon Runyon - Walter Winchell Foundation

Board of directors
as of 05/31/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Deborah Coleman

Boston, MA

Term: 2020 -

Carlos Arteaga, MD

Director, Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center; Associate Dean, Oncology Programs; Professor, Medicine; Lisa K. Simmons Distinguished Chair in Comprehensive Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX

David Beirne

General Partner, X10 Capital, San Francisco, CA

Steven Burakoff, MD

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

Robyn Coles

President, TRATE Properties, LLC, New York, NY

Gary Erlbaum

President, Greentree Properties, Ardmore, PA

Thomas Fahey, Jr., MD

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

Buck French

General Partner, X10 Capital, San Francisco, CA

Elaine Fuchs, PhD

General Partner, X10 Capital, San Francisco, CA

Levi Garraway, MD, PhD

Executive Vice President; Head of Global Product Development; Chief Medical Officer, Genentech/Roche, South San Francisco, CA

Richard Gaynor, MD

President and Chief of Research and Development, BioNTech US, Inc., Cambridge, MA

Todd Golub, MD

Director and Founding Core Institute Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Charles A. Dana Investigator in Human Cancer Genetics, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School Cambridge, MA

Michael Gordon

Chair of Partnership Advisory Board, Angelo Gordon, New York, NY

Scott Greenstein

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

Steve Hayden

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

Morana Jovan-Embiricos, PhD

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

William Kaelin, Jr., MD

Sidney Farber Professor of Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Boston, MA

Steven Kandarian

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

Noah Knauf

General Partner, Bond Capital, San Francisco, CA

Gabrielle Layton, PhD

Palo Alto, CA

Alan Leventhal

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

David Marshall

Chairman and CEO, Amerimar Realty Company, Philadelphia, PA

Richard Meier

Director, The Bakewell Foundation, St. Louis, MO

Sanford Morhouse, Esq.

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

John Myers

President (retired) GE Asset Management, Fairfield, CT

Richard O'Reilly, MD

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

Andrew Rachleff

Executive Chairman, Wealthfront Inc., Palo Alto, CA

Meghan Raveis

Executive Chairman, Wealthfront Inc., Palo Alto, CA

Michael Seiden, MD, PhD

Spring, TX

Karen Seitz

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

Nancy Simonian, MD

Chief Executive Officer, Syros Pharmaceuticals Inc., Cambridge, MA

Cynthia Sulzberger

Wellington, FL

Judy Swanson

Hillsborough, CA

Peter Van Camp

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

James Wells, PhD

Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, 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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/25/2022

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
Asian American/Pacific Islanders/Asian
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/11/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
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.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.