Medical Research

Sam Day Foundation

So kids with cancer can survive and live well

Portland, OR


The Sam Day Foundation strives to fund research for rare pediatric cancers and life-giving experiences so kids with cancer can survive and live well.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Lorna Day

Main Address

1665 NW 136th Ave Portland, OR 97229

Portland, OR 97229 USA


pediatric cancer, research, childhood cancer





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Cancer Research (H30)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (E12)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

The brutality of cancer treatment is something kids should never have to experience. But in September of 2010, nine-year-old Sam Day was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare and relentless bone cancer. He passed away in August 2016 after a difficult six-year battle. During that time Sam’s friends and family learned how and why pediatric cancer research is slow, underfunded, and decades behind the progress of most adult cancer treatments. Cancer remains the leading cause of disease related death in children in the United States. This is why philanthropy and wide scale collaboration is so important for bringing much needed improvements. Advancements will not happen the way they do with adult cancers, therefore international and multi-entity collaborations are essential to make positive change a reality.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

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Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Pediatric Cancer Research



Where we work

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

Improve overall survival rates for children with pediatric cancer by advancing translational research studies into clinical trials and ultimately, approved therapies for pediatric cancers. Reduce short-term and long-term adverse effects of pediatric cancer treatment, so young cancer survivors can survive and live well. Provide essential materials for studying the most neglected and deadly pediatric cancers by funding a tumor registry program. We believe partnerships with research institutions, corporations, other non-profits, hospitals, drug companies, patient family’s and advocacy groups are essential to advancing research efficiently. We are not simply funders, we are part of a multi-agency effort and a catalysts for change.

We have several fundraising events each year. Our signature event, the Sam Day Soiree gala in February 2020 raised $323,000. Our multiple events create opportunity for anyone to participate regardless of how much they can contribute. Our community is growing rapidly with conviction for this very important cause and we recognize the need especially in Oregon and SW Washington. As we enter our third year, we plan to diversify our revenue through grants, geographical growth, and corporate partnerships. Program funds are designated to sarcoma and brain tumor research projects of interest. Proposals are carefully evaluated by a Medical Advisory Board and approved by the Board of Directors prior to funding. In these early years, SDF is focused on creating greater opportunity for translational and clinical research in Oregon and SW Washington. SDF is engaged with several institutions in Oregon and we believe the most effective research will be as a result of patient advocacy, support for clinicians, knowledge of the obstacles and a willingness to dream big and go for it.

Rapid and early growth among our community of supporters, both private and corporate, have allowed us to start strong. We reflect a positive and hopeful vibe, transparency, and strong character in everything we do. We’ve developed relationships with multiple local researchers at Oregon Health Sciences University, the Knight Cancer Institute and Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute, and we believe ongoing engagement within each of these partnerships can create movement. Our memberships with the National Organization for Rare Disorders and the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer allow us to partner with other non-profits, advocacy groups and patient families while equipping us with guidance and education. Sam taught us to dream big, laugh often and live well, and the Sam Day Foundation is a reflection of those values.

We’ll see an increase in clinical trials in Oregon. We’ll see new studies completed based on the resources provided through the tumor registry program funded by SDF. Ultimately, we’ll see more kids who survive and live well because of better treatment options we’ve supported.

In our first year we provided $153,000 to the Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute’s tumor registry program. This program enrolled over 56 new patients representing 25 cancer types. Research for some rare cancers, such as epithelioid sarcoma and clear cell sarcoma, have made progress like never before due to Sam Day Foundation providing the funds for this program. Now families can donate tissue, knowing that someone will finally study it. We partnered with Camp Ukandu to support a healthy meal program for kids with cancer at camp. We’ve provided college scholarships to six local students who’ve endured long-term disability or chronic illness. Looking ahead, we intend to create opportunity for growth in the number of clinical trials available to children in Oregon and SW Washington by supporting local investigator-initiated research as well as large consortia clinical trials.

External Reviews


Sam Day Foundation

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

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

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  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


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?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? This organization has voluntarily shared information to answer this important question and to support sector-wide learning. GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 06/11/2020


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & Ethnicity
Gender Identity
Female, Not Transgender (Cisgender)
Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability Status
Person without a disability

Race & Ethnicity

No data

Gender Identity

No data

Sexual Orientation

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No data