In addition to funding free screening, diagnostic and treatment services at eight hospitals through its community grants program, organization now offers financial assistance to help patients in need meeting essential life expenses such as groceries and utilities.
Susan G. Komen® Philadelphia, the region’s leader in saving lives and working toward an end to breast cancer by taking a 360-degree approach to attacking the disease on all fronts—recently announced its community grants program is awarding another $199,900 to eight area hospitals and health organizations to advance critical breast cancer initiatives specifically targeting medically underserved, uninsured and/or low-income populations. These latest grants, being used to fund programs from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021, brings Komen Philadelphia’s total community grants distribution to more than $63.5 million—all funding lifesaving programs of healthcare partners within its 15-county service area. This is in addition to the approximate 184,500 free mammograms the organization has funded and the approximate $28 million in breast cancer research funding they have contributed over three decades.
Accompanying the grants—which are earmarked for a comprehensive list of early detection, diagnostic, treatment, navigation and outreach services aimed at closing the gap in breast cancer disparities—starting on March 31, 2020 grantees will have the additional resource of Komen Philadelphia’s new Patient Assistance Program to offer individuals under their care for breast cancer treatment. The program represents a second, critical dimension of support driven by the understanding that relieving the stress of certain financial challenges plays an important role in patients’ treatment and, ultimately, improving outcomes. Under the program—which is supported by a separate fund and does not come out of a grantee’s funding—a grantee can refer a patient to Komen Philadelphia for up to $500 in assistance annually for paying utility bills, buying groceries and covering essential transportation services.
“Our grantees are our boots on the ground, our mission in action every day,” said Elaine I. Grobman, Chief Executive Officer, Komen Philadelphia. “They are out there 24/7 to make sure that women in need aren’t only aware of the critical importance of early detection and know that free screening, treatment and support services are available , but that they do access those services. I’ve known grantees to literally take a woman by the hand, bring her in for a mammogram and stay with her though every stage of care. This level of devotion, together with our ability to fund our grantees’ work and every service required to successfully screen, diagnose and treat all individuals in need, is critical to lowering breast cancer mortality rates in our neighborhoods. And we depend greatly on our supporters to help make this happen. Komen Philadelphia will not stop in our efforts to increase funding and grow our community grants program until, ultimately, we can ensure every life threatened by breast cancer survives breast cancer.”
“We are thrilled that we are now enhancing our support to grantees with our new Patient Assistance Program,” Grobman continued. “Every day we hear about breast cancer patients who are desperate to make ends meet because co-pays, deductibles or unexpected non-covered services suddenly have them in a financial nightmare. No woman should have to face the choice of paying for treatment or paying for other essentials for her family—especially at a time when she needs to be fully focused on surviving a deadly disease like breast cancer. That is what our new Patient Assistance Program is all about—it’s a program for patients, for their families, for grantees… for peace of mind and, ultimately, a better quality of life during and after treatment.”
Komen Philadelphia distributes grants to organizations that represent some of the finest healthcare, community and family service organizations from throughout the organization’s fifteen-county service area. The grantees work with the medically underserved, including uninsured and underinsured individuals and those individuals who may not receive adequate care because of barriers such as language, cultural differences and financial ability. The grants fall into two categories—screening, diagnostic and treatment, and community navigation and education—with the outreach spanning the Komen Philadelphia service area of: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Philadelphia and York counties, PA; Camden County, NJ; and Kent, New Castle and Sussex counties, DE.
While Komen Philadelphia implements education, support and other mission-driven community programs throughout the year, its community grants program is hyper-targeted to address the breast cancer disparities that still exist. U.S. African-American women are more than 40 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than white women. Breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic women and they are more likely to be diagnosed at later stages and with larger tumors than white women. These and other disparities are a main reason the breast cancer mortality rate in Komen Philadelphia’s service area is 9 percent higher than the national average. Because Komen Philadelphia sees this as simply “unacceptable” they are being as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than ever with its community grants program.
Komen Philadelphia’s rigorous grantee selection process assures funded programs uphold the integrity of the Komen name and meet the needs of diverse communities throughout its service area. In total, the programs funded by 2020-2021 Komen Philadelphia grants are expected to accomplish the following:
- Screening mammograms: 768
- Clinical & diagnostic services: 330
- Community & patient navigation services: 349
- Interpretation/translation services: 123
- Treatment Services: 30
- Temporary Gap Funding/financial assistance: 142
- Education & outreach contacts: 1,850
Building the community grants program
A major contributor to grants funding is the Susan G. Komen® Philadelphia MORE THAN PINK Walk®, which was held virtually on June 28, 2020—but traditionally is held every Mother’s Day. Fundraising achieved via the Walk provides the majority of funding for the grants program and determines how many grantees can be supported as well as the funding available the following year.
“We need more people participating in the MORE THAN PINK Walk and, specifically, fundraising as participants in order to keep our grants program at status quo,” said Grobman. “However, as we continue to reach more women in the shadows and motivate them to practice better breast health, status quo simply won’t cut it. What we really need is for Walk fundraisers to step up their game—and for supporters to donate throughout the year as much as they are able—so that we can increase each grant amount for current grantees as well as increase the number of hospitals and health organizations receiving grants from us.
Most of the 2020-2021 Komen Philadelphia grantees have been with the organization for the span of a decade or more and all of them received grants last year.Komen Philadelphia recognizes the importance of allowing grantee programs to continue seamlessly from year to year, which is why they place such a heavy emphasis on the impact supporters and MORE THAN PINK Walk participants will make through their fundraising. Grantees also understand the vital role the Walk plays in terms of the viability of their breast health programs. Most grantees have form teams to participate in and fundraise for the Walk each year and, ultimately, help support their own breast cancer programs as well as many other critical initiatives.
“When people hear we raise $2+ million in a year, many think, ‘oh well that’s plenty,’ but I assure you, it only scratches the surface,” said Grobman. “The progress we’ve made in motivating women to prioritize their breast health over the past three decades means more women than ever are now seeking more of the services our community grants program was established to deliver. We also have a much larger survivor community and metastatic breast cancer community depending on us to support their unique needs and quality of life after their diagnoses. Our progress means we need to keep raising more money so we can adequately serve all of these expanding populations.”
A list of the new grantees follows. Details on the Komen Philadelphia Patient Support program is available here. The 2020 Komen Philadelphia MORE THAN PINK Walk will be held on Mother’s Day, May 10; individuals can register, form a team and donate at KomenPhiladelphia.org/Walk.
2020-2021 KOMEN PHILADELPHIA GRANTEES
Abington Memorial Hospital – Jefferson Health: Closing the Gap- Breast Cancer Treatment for the Underserved (screening, diagnostic & treatment)
Christiana Care Health Services, Inc.: Pink Ribbon Breast Program (screening, diagnostic & treatment)
Fox Chase Cancer Center: Mammograms Made Easy (screening, diagnostic & treatment)
Health Promotion Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Inc.: Nurturing, Educating, and Supporting Together (community navigation & education)
MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper: Camden County Cancer Screening Project (screening, diagnostic & treatment)
University of Pennsylvania Hospital Department of Surgery (Penn Medicine): Breast Health Initiative (screening, diagnostic & treatment)
Philadelphia Department of Public Health: Philadelphia Department of Public Health Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnostic Exams Project (screening, diagnostic & treatment)
The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson: Jefferson’s Breast Cancer Screening and Treatment Program (screening, diagnostic & treatment)