The Chronicle of Philantropy: A Donor Supports Research on Rare Brain Cancer

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By Nicole Lewis
How much: $10-million

Who gave it: Catherine Ivy, through the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, which has provided more than $50-million to brain cancer research since 2005. Mr. Ivy, who died in 2005 from brain cancer, owned a financial-planning and asset-management business in Palo Alto, Calif. Ms. Ivy, who now lives in Phoenix, gave up her own financial-planning business to run her foundation full time.

Who got it: Translational Genomics Research Institute, in Phoenix

What the gift will support: Half the money will be used to study the 2 percent of patients with glioblastoma multiforme, the most common type of brain cancer, who live beyond the average survival time of 18 months. The second portion of the gift will support clinical trials to test new drugs that might extend the life of patients.

The gift’s purpose: The foundation’s goal is to double the life expectancy of brain-cancer patients in the next seven years. “Genomics is one of the strongest possibilities to provide some answers,” says Ms. Ivy.

Impact of the gift: Brain cancer is difficult to study because of patients’ short life expectancy. In addition, Ms. Ivy says, it does not receive as much attention or money as other cancers because it is relatively rare. She hopes the new research supported by the Ivy Foundation’s gift will help scientists learn more about how the disease works and how new drugs might help patients not only live longer but have a better quality of life while working to fight the disease.

The Chronicle of Philantropy, ‘Connecting the nonprofit world with news, jobs, and ideas’