Komen Philadelphia Awards a Quarter-million Dollars in New Community Grants to Accelerate the Fight to End Breast Cancer

Ten area hospitals and community organizations receive funding from the Komen Philadelphia community grants program to advance screening, diagnostic, navigation treatment, education and support programs in 2019-2020.

Susan G. Komen®Philadelphia recently announced the awarding of $249,941 in grants to 10 Delaware Valley organizationsto advance critical and life-saving breast cancer initiatives specifically targeting medically underserved, uninsured and/or low-income populations. While early detection and free mammograms for women in need lie at the heart of the community grants program, funding will also support a comprehensive list of services—including breast health education, awareness and outreach, diagnostic and treatment services and navigation support—aimed at closing the gap in breast cancer disparities. The grant period runs from April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020. These recent grants bring Komen Philadelphia’s total community grant distribution to $63 million since the community grant program started. This is in addition to the approximate $27.5 million Komen Philadelphia has contributed to breast cancer research.

“It’s sometimes difficult for your average person to believe that in this day and age women don’t get mammograms or don’t follow-up with their doctors if there is a concern,” said Elaine I. Grobman, Chief Executive Officer, Komen Philadelphia. “But in our 15-county service area alone there are tens-of-thousands of women who still do not. Moreover, the Philadelphia metro area ranks number nine in the country for having the highest rates of late-stage diagnosis and breast cancer mortality among black women. All these women are being held back by fear, cultural or language barriers, or—despite three decades of our awareness and education initiatives—still lack the understanding about early detection and free programs that will give them access to lifesaving services.”

“Yes, we’ve made tremendous progress in this fight,” Grobman continued. “But, ironically, the intensity of our work has increased tremendously. This is because we’re now talking about reaching women in the deepest shadows of our neighborhoods. Connecting with them and motivating them to take care of themselves requires greater effort and perseverance, it requires a greater diversity and understanding of specific barriers preventing women from utilizing the resources available to them. And it takes more resources that ever to establish the trust in us that will ensure they take the steps that will save their lives. Our grantees are Komen Philadelphia’s boots on the ground. They are out in the community every day making those connections, providing the necessary understanding, motivating changes in attitude and action, establishing that trust and providing the services that save lives.”

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.

“Komen Philadelphia has been hard at work on an aggressive goal to reduce the number of late-stage breast cancer diagnoses in our local community by 10 percent by the year 2021,” said Grobman. “This goal, advanced through the work of our own initiatives and that of our grantees, is hyper-targeted to the 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 our service area is 9 percent higher than the national average. To us, this is simply unacceptable—and it is why we are being as aggressive, if not more aggressive, as ever with our community grants program.”

Komen Philadelphia’srigorous 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 2019-2020 Komen Philadelphia grants are expected to accomplish the following:

  • Screening mammograms: 858
  • Clinical breast exams: 20
  • Diagnostic services: 276
  • Community & patient navigation services: 425
  • Interpretation/translation services: 248
  • Transportation assistance: 140
  • Temporary Gap Funding/financial assistance: 210
  • Education & outreach contacts: 1,165

“I am privileged to work with our grantees almost every day and experience their extraordinarily high level of devotion to our mission, as well as to our community,” said Kelsey Mattson, Program Director, Grants & Public Policy, Komen Philadelphia. “For them the work is, of course, about saving lives. But it’s also about much more. It’s about guiding women in need on a path to a better quality of life. It’s about building trust and providing reassurance that they won’t ‘be lost in the system.’ It’s about empowering them to take care of themselves, and their families—empowering them to change not only for today but for a brighter future. All of our grantees are highly skilled and professional. They are relentless when it comes to breast cancer and focused on equality of care for one and all. They are generous. Compassionate. Focused on the mission at hand. All of these things combine to make the Komen Philadelphia grantee community one of the most formidable forces breast cancer has ever faced.”

Most of the 2019-2020 Komen Philadelphia grantees have been with the organization for the span of a decade or more and, with the exception of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, all of them received grants last year. Komen Philadelphia recognizes the importance of allowing grantee programs to continue seamlessly from year to year and so, as much as possible, the organization works to raise enough money throughout the year to maintain or increase funding. The Komen Philadelphia community grant money is a result of the organization’s fundraising efforts throughout the year, the largest contributor being its annual Mother’s Day fundraiser, the Susan G. Komen® Philadelphia MORE THAN PINK Walk™. Being held for the first time this year (May 12, 2019) Komen Philadelphia is hopeful that this new evolution of its largest fundraising event will help drive even greater grant resources for the years ahead. 

“When people hear our Mother’s Day event raises $1-2 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 practice early detection and prioritize their breast health over the past two 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.”

2019-2020 Komen Philadelphia Grantees

  • Abington 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)
  • Drexel University College of Medicine: The Drexel University Breast Health and Wellness Center(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)
  • Penn Medicine: Breast Health Initiative (screening, diagnostic & treatment)
  •  Pennsylvania Health Access Network: Consumer Activation Program for Breast Health (community navigation & education) 
  • 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)
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