Where does the money go?
Without a doubt - the most popular question we get on a day-in/day-out basis around our work at The Foundation.
From the onset, those of us at The Laurel's Army Foundation have always had a vision of wanting to help the teams at the Texas Children's Cancer Center - but it wasn't until mid-2015 until we really began to see exactly what that means and what kind of impact we can have.
So, effective immediately - I'd like to present our answer to WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
Starting in 2015 we presented our first major gift to the team at the Texas Children's Cancer Center with a gift of $75,000 - and with that gift a new focus was born with our Foundation.
2015 Check Presentation at Texas Children's Cancer Center
(L-to-R - Brad Mauritzen, Judy Vinson, Brandon Whittle, Steven Batchelder, Melissa Batchelder, Vern Shade, Dr. Allen-Rhoades, Lisa McCoy, Dr. Okcu)
Beginning in 2015, through a meeting between Dr. David Poplack (the Director of The Cancer Center) and a few of our Board Members, it became abundantly clear that the area in which we could make the biggest impact was on the research side of the day-to-day work that happens at the Cancer Center.
We took their advice to heart and effective immediately we have entered into a sponsorship arrangement with a research Doctor in the Cancer Center at Texas Children's. Her name is Dr. Wendy Allen-Rhoades, and her profile/bio can be found here:
We have always viewed our work at The Foundation as a collaboration with our "army" as well as the teams at Texas Children's. With Dr. Allen-Rhoades now a proud member of the Laurel's Army team, this sponsorship is the next iteration of our plan as we continue to try and do what we can every day to make an impact at the Hospital.
Dr. Allen-Rhoades is part of The Scholars of Excellence Program at the Texas Children's Cancer Center and is amongst the best-of-the-best on the front line of the latest research to not only improve treatments (better, faster, less invasive) but to also ultimately eradicate these diseases altogether.
It is important for us at The Laurel's Army Foundation to focus on this research program because Texas Children's Cancer Center is an active participant in the Children’s Oncology Group, a nationwide collaborative effort among a number of research hospitals all working and fighting towards the same goal.
Texas Children's Cancer Center is one of the largest pediatric cancer research hospitals in the world and we could not be more excited to help move their programs forward.
You can read more on the amazing statistics about the Texas Children's Cancer Center here:
Ok, now for some Laurel's Army numbers...
A typical research doctor requires an annual investment of around $250,000. This pays for all of their research, their teams, their labs, all of their equipment, etc.
As mentioned above, we made our first major gift in the form of a donation of $75,000 for 2015. Since that time we have donated the following amounts annually (all programs):
2015 - $88,000
2016 - $93,000
2017 - $48,000*
*2017 Major Fundraising Events cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey.
In total we have raised over $236,000 to the Texas Children's Cancer Center.
We are hopeful that one day in the very near future we can build this Foundation to a point where we can sustain an ongoing gift of $250,000 each year to support the full cost of a dedicated doctor solely focused on pediatric cancer research.
We fully appreciate the gravity of this level of donation, but we all know we can get there with your help!!!
It's also very important to all of us at The Foundation to share with you that our annual administrative costs are nearly 0% of our total receipts each year - we are an entirely volunteer organization with a very small amount of money set aside to maintain this website. The only true costs we incur each year are fundraising expenses associated with our two primary annual fundraisers (Wine Dinner / Golf Tournament). We have pledged with our Board to keep all fundraising expenses below 25% of the total receipts of those events.
It is also worth pointing out that we will never back off of the "close to the patient" initiatives that we do a few times each year - We love going up there to see these kids and share a few smiles (and a few tears).
The donation levels around these programs remain important, but as you have allowed us to grow The Foundation to a point where we can start to have "next level" conversations with the teams at Texas Children's, we realized that we can make a difference through multiple channels and help support their primary need on the research side. For reference, we would estimate that over 90% of our net annual receipts will go towards the research programs mentioned above. The remainder will go to support the "close to the patient" programs each year.
Finally, we would like to give a quick hat-tip to Lisa McCoy and Dr. David Poplack at the Texas Children's Cancer Center - your passion for these kids is not only amazing to watch, but it helps inspire us on a daily basis. Thank you both!!!
And for you guys - Laurel's Army - we've said it 1,000 times by now, but your support, passion, love and friendships continue to make this thing work - and like we mentioned above - we all know that we are only just getting started !!!
Are you ready to help us on our mission? We thoughtfully ask that you please start here: