While most people were fretting over paying taxes to the IRS, 17 local nonprofit agencies instead found April to be a profitable month.
To Celebrate Life Breast Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting people with breast cancer, announced the recipients of its 2011 grant awards, totaling $190,000. On April 4, the agency hosted an event at the Acqua Hotel in Mill Valley to recognize the grant recipients.
“Thanks to the commitment of hundreds of volunteers who worked on behalf of the foundation this past year, and the generosity of our many sponsors and donors,” Jane Pallas, board president, said in a prepared statement. “Thousands of individuals throughout the Bay Area will be offered assistance through these programs.”
The 2011 grant recipients include: Alta Bates Summit Foundation, Breast Cancer Connections, Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, the Ceres Community Project, Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic, Circulo de Vida, Hospice by the Bay, Institute for Health and Healing, Latina Breast Cancer Agency, Lyon-Martin Health Services, Marin Center for Independent Living, Marin General Hospital, Meals of Marin, Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, Shanti Project, Sutter North Bay Women’s Health Center and Women’s Cancer Resource Center.
Kathy Meyer, the foundation’s executive director, fielded some questions about To Celebrate Life.
PATCH: Can you provide a little history and background of the foundation?
Kathy Meyer: The Foundation was established in 1996 by 10 recent breast cancer survivors who wanted to raise funds to support services for others coping with the disease. Our first event, Stepping Out, was held in October 1996 in a Kentfield garden. Approximately 250 people attended a fashion show in which all of the models were recent breast cancer survivors. The event raised $30,000.
Starting in 1997, we needed a larger venue — a very nice problem to have — so subsequent Stepping Out events were held in a hangar at Hamilton Air Force Base and Herbst Pavilion in San Francisco, then almost exclusively at the Marin Civic Center Exhibit Hall, with attendance generally in the 500-700 range.
In 2002, we added another event, Rally for the Cause, a women’s round-robin tennis tournament, and in 2004, Tee It Up To Celebrate Life, a mixed golf tournament started by husbands of the rally volunteers.
PATCH: How has the foundation grown over the years?
KM: Over 15 years — we are celebrating our 15th anniversary this year — the foundation has granted over $3.3 million to dozens of nonprofit agencies throughout the nine Bay Area counties, who provide services to thousands of women and men dealing with breast health issues.
PATCH: What criteria are used to choose grant recipients?
KM: Each year our Grants Review Committee (consisting of community health care providers, including a radiation oncologist and breast cancer surgeon, breast cancer survivors, past and current board members, and corporate representatives) has the daunting task of choosing among many worthwhile grant applications to recommend to our board. Our decision criteria are based on need, breadth of services provided, geographic diversity (although the majority funds have been granted in Marin County) and focus on underserved communities and availability of grant dollars. In both 2010 and 2011 we were only able to grant about one-third of the funds requested.
PATCH: How can people support the foundation?
KM: It’s quite a list. They can contribute to our Fund a Mammogram Campaign, attend our events, sponsor our events, or donate a live or silent auction item, honor a loved one by contributing in his/her name, include the foundation in their planned giving, hold a community event that benefits the foundation and we have other ideas and information at toclebratelife.org or they can call (415) 455-5882.