Stand Up To Cancer logo represents an organization that is working to accelerate progress against cancer

Charity Review: Stand Up To Cancer

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One of the ways all of us can help in the fight against cancer is by making a donation to a worthy charity that conducts or supports cancer research.

There are many nonprofit organizations that fund cancer research as a part of their mission, along with other goals. But there are actually relatively few that focus mostly or entirely on research.

Stand Up To Cancer is one of a small number of highly-rated charities that focus solely on cancer research and where 100% of the funds contributed by the public go to research.

This is our latest, updated review of Stand Up To Cancer, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

The Organization’s History

SU2C was founded in 2008 by members of the media and entertainment industry who had been personally affected by cancer. They wanted to see more rapid progress made in translating knowledge about the biology of cancer into new treatments. They sought to leverage the resources of the entertainment industry to raise funds in support of that goal.

The SU2C initiative is under the umbrella of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, which has been around since the 1940s and raises awareness and funds to address leading health and social issues.

In 2012, Stand Up To Cancer UK was launched in the United Kingdom as a fundraising partnership between Cancer Research UK and the UK broadcaster Channel 4.

The Organization’s Approach

Stand Up To Cancer’s approach is to foster collaboration among top scientists across fields both to encourage innovation and to speed up the translation of research findings into new therapies for patients.

SU2C creates “dream teams” of scientists, clinicians and other experts as well as patient advocates to work on finding solutions to critical problems in cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Each dream team has a specific goal it’s trying to achieve. Most of the research funded by SU2C is conducted through this collaborative model.

The American Association for Cancer Research partners with SU2C and is responsible for managing all phases of the grant cycle including the competitive review process and providing scientific oversight in conjunction with a Scientific Advisory Council.  The Council is comprised of scientists, clinicians and patient advocates and is charged with identifying the most promising projects for funding.

Major Program Areas, Expenses and Funding

(Source for financial data: Entertainment Industry Foundation’s IRS Form 990)

The Entertainment Industry Foundation reported $86 million in revenues for fiscal year 2018. EIF’s largest program is the Stand Up to Cancer Initiative at $64 million, or about 84% of total program expenses.

Of EIF’s total expenses, 87% were spent on its programs and services (7% were spent on administrative expenses and 6% on fundraising).

SU2C raises funds for collaborative cancer research from individuals, corporations and organizations. A large part of its donations are raised through a biennial televised fundraising event. The organization says that 100% of donations received from the public for the Stand Up to Cancer Initiative support cancer research programs.

Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs

These are the most recent ratings Entertainment Industry Foundation has received from charity rating agencies:

  • Charity Navigator: 4 stars (highest rating)
  • Charity Watch:  A
  • BBB Wise Giving Alliance: Accredited Charity – Meets Standards (highest rating)
  • GuideStar: Platinum Seal of Transparency

Results: What Does the Organization Report?

SU2C says that it has raised over $600 million in funds for research since it began operations in 2008.

Since 2008, SU2C researchers have been involved in over 180 planned, started or completed clinical trials. Research the organization has supported has led to 9 new FDA-approved cancer treatments.

More than 1,900 scientists from leading institutions around the world are members of SU2C research teams. Current major areas of research that SU2C is focusing on include:

  • immunology: using the power of the patient’s own immune system to attack cancer
  • DNA damage response: finding ways to cut off DNA damage repair mechanisms that allow already compromised cancer cells to survive
  • epigenetics: the study of how genes are turned on or off in ways that inhibit or promote cancer
  • tumor models, imaging and informatics: using advances in technology to improve laboratory methods, imaging equipment and the use of artificial intelligence to analyze complex data sets
  • pediatric cancer: new therapies for high-risk childhood cancers
  • interception: finding and attacking cancer at its earliest stages.

The SU2C website provides detailed, easily searchable information about its research in each of these areas, from 2008 to the present. The information can be searched by cancer type and treatment type and includes research project reports, clinical trials information and published reports.

For More Information

If you’re interested in reading more about SU2C, here are some interesting articles to check out:

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Image Credit: Kathy Hutchins/