Your Dollars at Work
A letter from our scientific Director
For several reasons, the year 2020 will be etched in history for its unique challenges and remarkable examples of humanity.
With great anticipation, 2020 started off with a busy January filled with peer review committee meetings. There was much excitement regarding the new grants approved for funding by our Council for Extramural Research targeted to activate in July of 2020 and those that were designated as pay-ifs*. Who knew that a global pandemic would change the course of our lives in such dramatic ways? Stay at home orders were instrumental in helping to contain the virus. However, like other organizations responding to this public health crisis we cancelled all in-person events starting in late March. Our ability to raise funds was significantly hampered and we limited our April 2020 grant application submissions to a limited pool of applicants whose eligibility to resubmit was expiring. We also made a tough decision to cancel our October 2020 application submission cycle. In the history of our research program, this is only the second time we have had to cancel the October application submission cycle. Of course, this was disappointing for all but necessary because of budget shortfalls. We received feedback from applicants and grantees about their struggles during the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, lack of research funding has impacted job security. Research funding is needed for post-doctoral fellows to advance their careers and for early career faculty seeking academic promotion and tenure. Likewise, uncertainty regarding research funding prompted some investigators to leave academics.
Our progress in the fight against cancer shouldn’t be halted. Important gaps exist and unanswered cancer research questions remain to be addressed. To engender hope, our marketing and communication staff crafted new messaging “Cancer won’t wait.” As the messaging spread to staff and volunteers, creative minds went to work to develop alternate modes of fundraising. Additionally, a campaign was started to help restore our research budget which included a focus on workforce diversity. As usual, we can always count on Naples volunteers to support our research program. Because of your dedication and passion for cancer research, we were able to fully support four grants for the total $1,971,000 you raised - two Research Scholar Grants, one Post-doctoral Fellow grant and one Mission Boost Grant! Your continued support is needed now more than ever. We were only able to fund a small number of grants approved for funding from the limited Spring cycle and most of the outstanding grants our Council for Extramural Research approved for funding we added to the pay-if list. We look forward to getting back on track with operating two application submission and review cycles in 2021. With our on-going research campaign and support from volunteers like you, we are keeping hope alive. Words cannot express our gratitude for the steadfast support of our Naples volunteers. May the Holiday Season and New Year bring you joy and good health. Be safe and stay well.
Ellie Daniels, MD, MPH
Senior Scientific Director for Clinical and Cancer Control Research
*Pay-ifs are grants approved for funding but are unable to fund, due to limited budget, unless donors direct their funds to that grant specifically.