Fiscal Year 2010 had ended, and the chair of the most ambitious campaign in MD Anderson history was pleased to report that Making Cancer History®: The Campaign to Transform Cancer Care had met its $1 billion goal two years ahead of schedule.
But there were funding needs still unmet. Longwell, chair-elect of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors (BOV), challenged the campaign executive committee and MD Anderson's Development Office to raise the bar. The goal was increased to $1.2 billion, with a new target date of December 2011.
By August 2011, the final tally was at $1.215 billion four months ahead of schedule.
"The campaign, which officially began in September 2007 and garnered more than 630,000 gifts, reflects a shared passion to eradicate cancer," says Nancy Loeffler, BOV chair.
"That's our best possible gift to mankind. It's been a pleasure to be one of many who worked on this campaign. Everyone pushed a little harder, and we made it," Loeffler says.
Longwell, whose fundraising efforts for
MD Anderson go back to the Fulfill the Promise campaign of the 1990s, was fully aware of the institution's world-class reputation, leadership, generous donor base and strong volunteer support system when asked to lead the campaign.
"It wasn't a hard decision," he says. "We're all proud to have been part of this pivotal effort to transform cancer care. It's been a labor of love. Through such phenomenal generosity, MD Anderson can accomplish the extraordinary."
Myriad programs benefit
Among programs the campaign funds will support are:
- research in cancer prevention and risk assessment, basic science, cancer care excellence, personalized cancer therapies, early detection and targeted treatments,
- an endowment to educate and train future cancer researchers, and
- a research facility to support personalized cancer care and accelerate pancreatic cancer research.
"The effort represents confidence in MD Anderson as the world's premier cancer center," says Ronald DePinho, M.D., president of MD Anderson. "The Campaign to Transform Cancer Care completed during the tenure of my predecessor, John Mendelsohn, will enable MD Anderson to make major progress in preventing, detecting and treating cancer. We have the opportunity to do great good for humanity."
The campaign's early completion speaks volumes, says Patrick Mulvey,
MD Anderson's vice president for development.
"It confirms everything we believe about the world's No. 1 cancer center," he says. "Those who invested in this campaign said, 'We believe in MD Anderson's mission to eradicate cancer — now go and make it happen.' And that's what we're going to do."