Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide and the second-most common cancer overall. In 2015, an estimated 231,840 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. alone. Many nonprofit organizations are dedicated to researching, supporting affected families, and working to find a cure for breast cancer. However, breast cancer is a large issue that requires multiple social impact organizations to combat the disease in different ways.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’ve found 12 nonprofit organizations that are fighting this disease from different angles. All of these organizations provide a variety of programs, but we’ve highlighted the special initiatives that help them stand out.
1. Barbells for Boobs
Barbells for Boobs is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the early detection of breast cancer, with an emphasis on women under the age of 40 and men. Inspired by athletes everywhere, local communities come together, fundraise, and help the organization detect potentially life threatening breast cancer occurrences.
Barbells for Boobs was created to provide critical funding to breast centers nationally as a resource for thousands of men and women who do not qualify for government funding or charitable resources in the detection of breast cancer.
Their impact has been substantial, thus far:
- 26,632 procedures provided
- 172 cases of breast cancer detected
- 14,316 Individuals served
Barbells for Boobs shows support to their biggest advocates with the Pink Bra Tour — a national “thank you” recognizing the top fundraising teams. They travel across the country to different CrossFit gym supporters with one purpose. They join forces with their community of supporters, partners, and advocates to share their message about the importance of early breast cancer detection and the availability of proactive healthcare resources.
“Barbells for Boobs is building a movement that will change the way we look at breast cancer in young women and men. We want to take the age and gender off the disease and focus on early detection. A simple breast cancer screening can save lives. Breast cancer should not be a death sentence for anyone.” -Zionna Hanson
Learn more about how lifting saves lives.
2. Bright Pink
Bright Pink is the only national nonprofit organization focused on prevention and early detection of breast cancer and ovarian cancers in young women. They aim to reach the 52 million young women in the United States between the ages of 18 and 45 with their innovative, life-saving breast and ovarian health programs, with the hopes of empowering this and future generations of women to live healthier, happier, and longer lives.
Bright Pink offers Brighten Up ® Educational Workshops to educate and inspire young women to be proactive advocates for their health. Facilitated by a certified Bright Pink education ambassador, these 20-minute presentations, delivered at workplaces, faith-based institutions, community centers and other gathering places, ground participants in the basics of breast and ovarian health, introduce them to the idea of different lifetime risk levels, provide early detection and prevention strategies, and equip them with life-saving knowledge that will inspire them to take action.
“In just 20 minutes, Brighten Up® Workshop equips women with life-saving tools. Since launching in the Summer of 2013, the Brighten Up® Workshops have educated more than 30,000 people (more than 50,000 by the end of 2015).” – Erin Williams
Bright Pink also has an annual FitFest – a fitness marathon to save lives from breast and ovarian cancers. FitFest is a one-of-a-kind event that gives participants the chance to directly impact how these cancers are prevented. Each dollar raised goes to life-saving breast and ovarian cancer prevention programs for young women and the medical community who cares for them.
Get more information on how education encourages women to be proactive about their health.
3. Breast Cancer Research Foundation
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) is a nonprofit organization committed to achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer. They provide critical funding for worldwide cancer research to fuel advances in tumor biology, genetics, prevention, treatment, metastasis and survivorship. Since their founding in 1993 by Evelyn H. Lauder, BCRF has raised over half a billion dollars in lifesaving research. In 2014-2015, BCRF will award $47 million in annual grants to more than 235 scientists from top universities and medical institutions around the globe.
Because breast cancer is a complex disease with no simple solution, BCRF is dedicated to having their researchers tackle it from every angle. Areas of focus include:
- Tumor biology
- Heredity and ethnicity
- Lifestyle and prevention
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation fundraises in a variety of ways. Individual donors can give online through one-time or monthly payments. There is also the opportunity to create your own fundraiser, attend a signature event or purchase a product from one of BCRF’s partners.
Learn more about how you can provide critical funding for cancer research.
4. National Breast Cancer Foundation
The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) is dedicated to helping women now by providing help and inspiring hope to those affected by breast cancer. Their focus is on early detection, education and support services. With increased healthcare costs and a rapidly increasing percentage of uninsured women, many unfortunately cannot afford the cost of screening tests. That’s why NBCF provides free mammograms to women in all 50 states through their network of hospitals.
NBCF is a stabilizing force in the lives of hundreds of thousands of women who have reached a crossroad in their lives and need help crossing the bridge. NBCF offers free, innovative programs that differentiate them from other nonprofit organizations combating breast cancer. These programs include:
- National Mammography Program – Free mammograms and diagnostic breast care services
- Beyond The Shock – Comprehensive video series about breast cancer
- Early Detection Plan – Tool to receive reminders to do breast self-exams and schedule your clinical breast exams and mammograms
- Breast Health Awareness – In-person training sessions, materials provided at events, online training modules
- Patient Navigator Program – Locate medical facilities in NBCF’s network
Learn how to provide a mammogram for a woman in need.
5. Lynne Cohen Foundation
The Lynne Cohen Foundation serves women facing increased risk for ovarian and breast cancers. With education programs and comprehensive care clinics, they arm these women and their families with the knowledge, tools, and clinical support needed to take action early, survive, and thrive. There are three main areas of focus including prevention, education and connection.
Preventive care clinics house multi-disciplinary teams of doctors and specialists dedicated to assessing a woman’s risk, implementing a management plan, and supporting her along the way.
Educational opportunities provided by the Lynne Cohen Foundation range from the clinic to the living room, and provide women with the knowledge, tools and insights needed to feel aware, safe and supported. They deliver health education and cancer awareness to women who need it. Initiatives like The Peony Project bring people together in living room settings to learn from top medical specialists and lifestyle experts, to ask questions, to express hopes and fears, and to connect with one another.
Kickin’ Cancer ® events provide a way to get sweaty for the cause, make new friends and celebrate life. Kickin’ Cancer® events raise breast cancer awareness, contribute life-saving knowledge on a community level, and promote a fundraising for an event.
Learn more about how you can support the foundation.
6. Keep A Breast Foundation
The Keep A Breast Foundation™ Foundation is the leading youth-focused, global, nonprofit breast cancer organization. Their mission is to eradicate breast cancer for future generations by providing support programs for young people impacted by cancer and educating people about prevention, early detection, and cancer-causing toxins in the everyday environment.
“Since our inception 15 years ago, Keep A Breast has made connections with younger generations about breast health through music, art, skate and surf culture. We meet young people where they are, try to take the stigma out of the language and empower them with the education to make the best personal choices. As we look back on the progress that we’ve made since our early years, we want to take the time to celebrate the conversations that young people have sparked in their communities about the importance of being your own health advocate. It’s conversations like these that help shed light on this deadly disease.” – Shaney jo Darden
Keep a Breast attracts millennial donors by offering a variety of options including:
- Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Creating a custom online fundraiser page for Keep A Breast.
- DIY Action Fundraisers: Ways for supporters to throw grassroots fundraisers, from small concerts, to car washes, to monthly nights out that raise funds for Keep A Breast’s education and prevention outreach programs.
- Volunteer Programs: A frequently updated volunteer page with upcoming opportunities. They also have call outs for event volunteers on Facebook and Twitter.
- Donation Page: Donate directly to the Keep A Breast Foundation on their donation page.
- Official Keep A Breast Cause Merchandise: The majority of support comes from their cause merchandise that includes bracelets, shirts, and other gear designed specifically to engage young people.
Keep A Breast also coined the hashtag #CHECKYOURSELFIE, designed to turn awareness into action by taking a pledge to do a monthly self-check and helping to spread the word about the importance of early detection. By developing the “Free Check Yourself App”, supporters can learn the techniques needed to perform a monthly self-exams and set a reminder to do so. They encourage their supporters to post their “breast” selfie on social media and share with others that early detection is key.
They can do this by:
- Selfie: Snap a selfie with three fingers to your breast, symbolizing your monthly commitment to checking yourself.
- Challenge: Challenge three friends to take the pledge by tagging them and letting them know why it’s important to you.
- Share: Share your photo on social media and tag it with #CHECKYOURSELFIE
With this simple pledge, so far 50,058 videos have been viewed, 15,536 apps have been downloaded, and 4,959 selfies have been taken.
Learn how you can #CHECKYOURSELFIE.
7. Facing our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE)
Facing our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) is working to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. FORCE also advocates for families when it comes to access to care, research funding, insurance, and privacy.
FORCE has eight main mission objectives:
- Provide women with resources to determine whether they are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer due to genetic predisposition, family history, or other factors.
- Provide information about options for managing and living with these risk factors.
- Provide support for women as they pursue these options.
- Provide support for families facing these risks.
- Raise awareness of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
- Represent the concerns and interests of high-risk constituency to the cancer advocacy community, the scientific and medical community, the legislative community and the general public.
- Promote research specific to hereditary cancer.
- Reduce disparities among underserved populations by promoting access to information, resources, and clinical trials specific to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer
FORCE offers numerous ways to get support. Throughout the United States, FORCE peer support group leaders offer nonjudgmental peer support and share resources via email, phone, and face-to-face meetings. An interactive map is available to find the nearest local support group. Another way FORCE offers support is through a confidential peer hotline has been established for those who want to speak to someone on the phone at anytime of the day. Additionally, on FORCE’s website they offer message boards and chat rooms.
Explore how you can support FORCE.
8. Texas Mama Jama Ride
The Texas Mama Jama Ride is dedicated to raising funds to help families in their local community facing breast cancer. Their supportive community of cyclists, volunteers, sponsors, and beneficiary organizations come together each year to participate in one of the best supported and fun bike rides in Texas. Since its inception, Texas Mama Jama Ride has raised more than 2.3 million dollars to help save and improve the lives of those facing breast cancer.
Because of the unique physical challenge, there are many reasons why people get involved in the Texas Mama Jama Ride. Some ride because they’ve had a friend or a loved one who faced breast cancer or to honor someone they’ve lost to the disease. Others ride for the physical challenge, to enjoy a fun event with friends, or because they’ve survived breast cancer themselves. The one thing everyone has in common is a commitment to make sure everyone in central Texas who has been affected by breast cancer has access to the care and support they need to cope.
Registration for the Texas Mama Jama Ride is free, however, each individual rider must meet the fundraising minimum in order to participate in the ride. The more money raised, the more perks received. There are multiple ride routes including 15-mile, 31-mile, 46-mile, 63-mile, and 100-mile options.
Learn more about how biking raises funds to help local families.
9. The Pink Agenda
The Pink Agenda is committed to raising money for breast cancer research and care, as well as awareness of the disease among young professionals. Their belief is that engaging today’s generation can go a long way toward finding tomorrow’s cure. The Pink Agenda finds, funds, and partners with people and programs that are improving the lives of those suffering from breast cancer and conducting groundbreaking research necessary to improve their odds. To do so, The Pink Agenda supports the work of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and FAB-U-WISH, an initiative established by breast cancer survivor, E! News anchor and television personality Giuliana Rancic to help women undergoing treatment for breast cancer feel fabulous.
FAB-U-WISH grants fabulous wishes to women age 40 and under residing in the United States who are currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, or have undergone treatment within the past 12 months. Women can apply for themselves or nominate a woman who deserves to feel fabulous. The Pink Agenda and Giuliana work together to review applications on a rolling basis and select the most inspiring, creative, and fabulous wishes to be granted.
Throughout the year, The Pink Agenda hosts several parties, bringing their message—and a whole lot of fun—to a new generation of philanthropists. Their biggest soiree is an annual gala held in October. It’s an evening dedicated to raising money for breast cancer research that includes live and silent auctions.
“The Pink Agenda’s Annual Gala is a very special evening that showcases the next generation’s powerful impact on lifesaving research, the celebration of survivors, and the promise of a world without this disease. We’re looking forward to gathering our community to raise money for breast cancer research – and have fun while doing it!” – Julia Knight
Explore the fabulous parties thrown by The Pink Agenda to support breast cancer research and care.
10. The Karen Wellington Foundation
Friends and family established the Karen Wellington Foundation for LIVING with breast cancer in 2007 in memory of Karen, a young mom diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30 who passed away at age 40. Karen’s foundation has a fun-only mission (#FunNow). They send women and their families on special vacations, spa days, dinners out, concerts and other fun-only activities. They ask vacation home owners to donate a week a year of their vacation homes and they match them with worthy recipients and put the fun together.
Nomination forms for a fun vacation are online and are reviewed by staff at The Karen Wellington Foundation. Vacation homes are donated for use throughout the year at various destinations for specific weeks. All homes are well-appointed and each vacation is filled with fun and quality time. The foundation strives to match getaways with what is available at the time the applicant is able to travel.
Other factors include:
- Where the applicant is traveling from
- Particular vacation preferred – beach, mountains, etc.
- Number of immediate family members travelling with the applicant
Aside from donating fun-filled vacations for families in need, The Karen Wellington Foundation also collects donations through online fundraising and year-round events.
Learn more about the fun vacations offered by the foundation.
11. The Breast Cancer Charities of America
The Breast Cancer Charities of America (BCCA) exists to eliminate breast cancer as a life-threatening illness. They bring together organizations representing all health and social service disciplines in the commitment to establish new and unprecedented levels of effectiveness in research, education, advocacy, and support. BCCA is the only nonprofit bringing the ‘integrated cancer care’ message to women across America.
BCCA brings together different health care and allied health care disciplines – oncology, nursing, psychology, sociology, nutrition, exercise physiology, spirituality, and more. Working together, these professions comprise the new discipline of “integrated cancer care”.
Funds received by the BCCA are used to conduct research on the link between breast cancer and nutrition. Funding is also used to educate the public and health care professionals on integrated cancer care. Other portions of gifts are dedicated to:
- Help Now Fund — Provides emergency financial assistance to help people in active treatment with their rent and utilities.
- University Educational Program – Promotes the prevention message to college campuses and young women as they make healthy life choices
- Feeling Beautiful Again – Program service designed by a breast cancer survivor to provide a gift bag filled with educational and beauty items that address the psychological side of cancer
- Survivor Kits – Go into more than 450 hospitals nationwide with step-by-step directions on the breast cancer journey
- Educational Empowerment Programs – Teaching women across the U.S. the steps to prevention and survivorship of breast cancer
- Medical Missions – Providing clean medical supplies to impoverished nations
Learn more about BCCA’s impact.
12. Breast Cancer Emergency Fund
Since 2001, Breast Cancer Emergency Fund (BCEF) has been the only Bay Area organization dedicated to providing emergency financial assistance to low-income women and men battling breast cancer. BCEF has delivered over $2,500,000 in quick, compassionate care to help reduce financial hardship, improve quality of life and enable people to focus on their health and families. BCEF works closely with each client , and more than 40 community partners, to immediately meet the most critical needs.
BCEF also hosts a variety of annual signature events including This Old Bag: The Power of the Purse and Beats for Boobs®. Aside from larger signature events, BCEF also hosts a number of community events including long distance walks, art walks, raffles, music events, silent auctions, and more. Supporters can also give through online donations, event sponsorship, employee giving campaigns, matching gifts, and corporate foundation grants.
Take a deeper dive into their signature events.
With Breast Cancer Awareness month on the horizon, there are plenty of ways to show your support. By tackling this important cause from a number of angles, these organizations are working hard to provide assistance to those diagnosed with the disease, offer prevention and treatment options, and help ease the journey, in small but measurable ways.
Run Your Best Campaign Ever
Barbells For Boobs
Breast Cancer Research Foundation
National Breast Cancer Foundation
Lynne Cohen Foundation
Keep A Breast Foundation
Facing Our Risk Of Cancer Empowered
Texas Mama Jama Ride
The Pink Agenda
The Karen Wellington Foundation
The Breast Cancer Charities of America
Breast Cancer Emergency Fund