Top 13 Cancer Charities Creating Great Impact

Top 13 Cancer Charities Creating Great Impact

In 2021, roughly 1.9 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States. That is an unthinkable number. Cancer is a frightening disease because it is so prevalent. There is no cure, and it can affect any part of your body. Thankfully, several nonprofits are out there raising funds for the research of a cure, treatment, screening, and education. These organizations raise millions of dollars every year and help individuals and families deal with this terrible diagnosis. The work of these organizations is why we are closer to finding a cure for cancer than ever before.

If you are researching which cancer charity you should donate to, our list will give you a detailed list of 10 possible choices. Each of these charities uses at least seventy percent of their revenue on programs. We have also mentioned their Charity Navigator rating for your convenience.

  1. Susan G. Komen for the Cure
  2. American Cancer Society
  3. Cancer Research Institute
  4. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  5. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  6. Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance
  7. Prostate Cancer Foundation
  8. Livestrong Foundation
  9. National Breast Cancer Foundation
  10. Prevent Cancer Foundation
  11. New York Cancer Foundation
  12. Dancing While Cancering – The Maddie Kramer Foundation
  13. arc Cancer Support Centres

Note: This list comprises 10 of the top cancer charities that are doing excellent work in cancer research, treatment, education, and more. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other good cancer charities out there. All nonprofits are striving for a better world. This list only gives you an idea of what some of the top ones are doing for providing relief from this deadly disease, and how you can be a part of their mission.


1. Susan G Komen for the Cure

top cancer charities

Mission: To save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer.

Charity Navigator Rating: 82.32% (77.4% of their expenses go towards their programs)

Breast cancer is the deadliest cancer for women and has been for generations. The Susan G. Komen organization was created in honor of Susan G. Komen, who died from breast cancer in 1980. Susan’s sister, Nancy Brinker, started the organization in 1982 with $200. Today, it is one of the largest nonprofits in the world.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has invested over 2.9 billion dollars into breast cancer research and programs. The organization has helped reduce death from breast cancer by 40 percent from 1989 to 2016.

The Susan G. Komen Organization currently provides resources and support groups to those with cancer and their family members. They also offer some financial and health insurance options for those undergoing treatment.

The majority of funds for the Susan G. Komen Organization go towards research grants. These grants are part of their goal of prioritizing metastatic cancer research and supporting emerging leaders. They also provide paid training opportunities for researchers interested in studying the disparities in breast cancer outcomes due to race and income.

How you can help:

Donors can donate or fundraise for the Susan G. Komen Organization. Since research and advocacy are significant parts of this organization, they are always looking for people to participate in surveys and advocate for the organization. Those who have been treated for breast cancer can take part in their surveys on life after cancer. Those interested in science or government can also find a role to play in this organization’s advocacy campaigns.


2. American Cancer Society

top cancer charities

Mission: To save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.

Charity Navigator Rating: 81.57% (75.4% of their expenses go towards their programs)

The American Cancer Society has been around since 1942. In that time, they have invested over 5 billion dollars in cancer research and served over 3.2 million cancer patients. The American Cancer Society educates the population on various cancer diagnoses and provides resources to cancer patients and their families.

Cancer patients receive support through one-on-one and support groups. They also provide a free place to stay and transportation for those traveling out of state to receive treatment.

The American Cancer Society also conducts and funds research that has made a difference in millions of lives. The organization researches disparities in care across race and income groups and monitors patterns and successes in cancer treatment. They also provide grants to scientists and health care providers. That is when the research is approved by rigorous peer review.

How you can help:

The American Cancer Society runs the Relay for Life fundraiser that raises over $400 million each year. This event allows donors to raise funds for the organization through their own fundraising efforts and peer-to-peer campaigns.


3. Cancer Research Institute

top cancer charities

Mission: Save more lives by fueling the discovery and development of powerful immunotherapies for all types of cancer.

Charity Navigator Rating: 93.60% (85.6% of their expenses go towards their programs)

Cancer Immunotherapy is not a term most people know, but the Cancer Research Institute has focused all of its efforts on funding immunotherapy treatments to support cancer patients. Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses the body’s immune system to prevent and control cancer. The organization admits this treatment will not work for everyone, but they have found enough success that they have kept going.

The Cancer Research Institute started in 1953. Founder Helen Coley Nauts delved into immunotherapy after her father, a respected cancer surgeon, died. His research showed years of success in providing non-surgical treatment for cancer patients.

Today, the Cancer Research Institute provides grants to promote racial diversity in researchers, testing of immunotherapy treatments, and technology advances.

How you can help:

The Cancer Research Institute is currently running a ’21 Challenge where supporters make a personal commitment to change their lives for the better. People have already decided to travel, exercise, and even bake more bread. Each of these individual goals includes a peer-to-peer campaign to raise $2021 for the organization.


4. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

cancer charities rankings

Mission: Leadership in the prevention, treatment, and cure of cancer through excellence, vision, and cost-effectiveness in patient care, outreach programs, research, and education.

Charity Navigator Rating: Passing Grade (97.33% of their expenses go towards their programs)

The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the oldest charity on our list. Founded in 1884, the organization started as a cancer hospital on the upper west side of New York. Today, the Cancer Center includes both the treatment center and the research institute, Sloan Kettering Institute.

In 1945, Alfred P. Sloan Jr. and Charles F. Kettering started the Sloan Kettering Institute in New York. The Institute was formed to research cancer treatments and provide support for those scientists doing the work on the ground. The Institute has been around for over seventy years and has focused on nine different areas of research.

According to US News & World Report, the Cancer Center in New York is one of the top two hospitals for cancer care in the country. The center also has been applauded for its pediatric cancer care.

How you can help:

The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center collects donations online for its center. They have included an in-depth webpage on planned giving that includes how to value your estate and include the organization in your will.


5. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

cancer charities rankings

Mission: Improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

Vision: for young patients to not only survive their cancers but thrive in their lives after treatment

Charity Navigator Rating: 87.11% (74.6% of their expenses go towards their programs)

Over 60,000 people will be diagnosed with leukemia this year. Over 80,000 people will be diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Both of these diseases are considered common forms of cancers in children. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is dedicated to curing leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma. They do this through research, education, support, and advocacy. Since the organization’s beginning in 1949, they have invested over 1.3 billion dollars in blood cancer research.

This organization has a strong focus on pediatric patients. Their Cures and Care for Children program invests in research to eliminate heart damage and other side effects from cancer treatments and research more effective ways to treat children with cancer.

In addition to cancer research, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society provides financial assistance for cancer patients to help with treatment costs and travel assistance. Their Urgent Need Program also provides financial support for those with cancer to help pay for rent, mortgage, childcare, food, and more essential living expenses.

How you can help:

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society makes it easy to volunteer for the organization. Their website has an online portal where you can sign up to receive more information on research internships and other volunteer opportunities in your location.


6. Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance

leading cancer charities and organizations

Mission: To cure ovarian cancer, advocate for patients, and support survivors.

Charity Navigator Rating: 92.01% (80.5% of their expenses go towards their programs)

Most cancer charities for women relate to breast cancer. Ovarian cancer is not as common, but the death rate for ovarian cancer is higher than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Unfortunately, while death rates have fallen by large percentages for other cancers, ovarian cancer remains one of the most deadly forms of cancer for women.

Ovarian cancer is the 11th most common cancer in women but the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths. Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance was formed in 1994 to fund ovarian cancer research, advocate for patients, and support cancer survivors.

The organization has spent over 100 million dollars to research ovarian cancer and has worked on capitol hill to provide federal funding for ovarian cancer research as well. While the primary focus of this organization is on research and advocacy, they are working with doctors and patients to ensure the best care and screening available.

How you can help:

The Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance has created a way for supporters to end ovarian cancer through research, advocacy, support, education, and awareness. Community Partners are local groups connected with one goal to form a strong national alliance of advocates for the organization.


7. Prostate Cancer Foundation

leading cancer charities and organizations

Mission: Funds the world’s most promising research to improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of prostate cancer and ultimately cure it for good.

Charity Navigator Rating: 84.80% (80.9% of their expenses go towards their programs)

The Prostate Cancer Foundation has been fighting since 1993 to improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America. One in ten men will be diagnosed with this cancer.

In the last ten years, the Prostate Cancer Foundation has begun focusing on precision medicine which bases care on the patients’ blood tests and targets specific variants in the DNA. This treatment has halved the death rate of prostate cancer in twenty years.

This organization has spent its time and money funding research ideas that haven’t received federal funding. The way they do this is through venture philanthropy. The grants they offer go directly to research teams with unique and imaginative ideas.

How you can help:

The Blue Ribbon Society is what the Prostate Cancer Foundation calls their recurring donors. You can give monthly or one time on their website.


8. Livestrong Foundation

list of cancer charities

Mission: to reinvent the way cancer patients and survivors are cared for and supported.

Charity Navigator Rating: 81.67% (81.8% of their expenses go towards their programs)

Most people know about this charity because of Lance Armstrong, but even after his fall from grace, the Livestrong Foundation has continued to be an organization dedicated to caring for cancer patients and survivors.

Livestrong provides education and support for patients and families through online resources, school programs, short-term counseling, and peer-to-peer groups. The organization also partners with other charities to provide help with medical expenses and explore treatment options.

This organization has additional resources helping cancer survivors dealing with fertility issues. Their education brochures and resources help men and women assess how treatments may interfere with their fertility.

How you can help:

Livestrong holds bike rides, runs, and walks throughout the year all around the world. These events are listed on their website, and supporters can either register to take part and fundraise for the organization or donate to an individual’s fundraising page already set up on the website.


9. National Breast Cancer Foundation

list of cancer charities

Mission: To help women now by providing help and inspiring hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services.

Charity Navigator Rating: 93.60% (79.60% of their expenses go towards their programs)

Detection is vital in ending breast cancer deaths. With this in mind, the National Breast Cancer Foundation prioritizes early detection and education. The National Breast Cancer Foundation was founded in 1991 by a breast cancer survivor. The organization offers programs that provide mammograms, patient navigation services, and breast health education.

NBCF was founded to ensure that every woman has access to the best care and information. NBCF works with hospitals and breast centers to give more women in hard-hit communities access to life-saving services. Their interest in communities with higher rates of poverty, lower education services, and health insurance helps women with breast cancer.

In addition to providing screening and treatment options, the NBCF offers a support system for cancer patients and survivors. This support system is a vital part of their services.

How you can help:

Community partners are essential for all nonprofits. The National Breast Cancer Foundation makes it easy for corporations to reach out to the organization and start that partnership. Their website details the benefits companies to gain by becoming a partner along with a minimum donation requirement.


10. Prevent Cancer Foundation

list of cancer charities

Mission: Saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection.

Charity Navigator Rating: 87.59% (75.25% of their expenses go towards their programs)

The Prevent Cancer Foundation is the only US-based nonprofit focused solely on cancer prevention and detection. This organization was founded in 1985 by Carolyn Aldige, who was mourning her father’s passing from cancer. Their efforts in prevention have changed the face of cancer research and treatment.

Prevent Cancer Foundation has programs in:

Research

The research funded through this foundation is high-risk, high-reward. Since 1986, the foundation has funded grants for early-career scientists working on cancer research. The goal is to invest in more creative and innovative research that does not get federal funding.

Education

The Prevent Cancer Foundation educates people on lifestyle changes you can make to avoid a cancer diagnosis, including healthy diets, vaccinations, and cancer screenings.

Outreach

Education programs with Prevent Cancer Foundation provide grant funding to spread awareness and screening programs across the country.

Advocacy

The Prevent Cancer Foundation has worked with the US Congress and federal agencies to reduce the barriers to healthcare for those living in low-income areas.

How you can help:

Donors to the Prevent Cancer Foundation can donate online or sign up for the organization’s matching gift program. Many offices will match their employees’ gifts to their favorite nonprofit. Through a matching gift program, Prevent Cancer Foundation supporters can deduct an amount from their paycheck and have their employer match that amount every time.


Donorbox Pick’s – Charities in Cancer Care

We also want to acknowledge the excellent work of a few other nonprofits contributing to the research and treatment of various types of Cancer.


11. New York Cancer Foundation

Mission: To help relieve the financial stress in cancer patients undergoing treatment.

The New York Cancer Foundation supports cancer patients and their families with non-medical expenses so they can focus on the treatment alone. Usually, the cost of cancer treatment often takes a toll on people’s financial conditions. If that’s ongoing for a long time, the family, on the whole, starts suffering. Hence, this initiative has come across as helpful for many families within the counties of New York.

On their website, patients can apply for financial assistance. Upon verification, if they are qualified, the patient and family are offered a grant. New York Cancer Foundation is known for holding a number of fundraising events throughout the year. Some of them include a hockey fight off, golf tournaments, gala, movie nights, and more. With these events, they raise the funds required for providing their beneficiaries with grants.

You can choose to have a look at their 2020 annual report for the impact and the grants given to people in need.

How you can help:

New York Cancer Foundation lets you directly donate to their cause. You can either make a one-time donation or choose to become a monthly supporter. They also have a grateful patient program through which they offer recovered patients an opportunity to help people undergoing treatment. If you’re used to giving through AmazonSmile, there’s that too – when you shop, 0.5% of your purchase price will be donated to the New York Cancer Foundation.


12. Dancing While Cancering – The Maddie Kramer Foundation

Mission: To help childhood cancer heroes fight the darker hospital moments with positivity.

Maddie Kramer was barely 3 years old when she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. She remained a happy child throughout her eight months of cancer treatment. As a note from the Kramer family on their website says, “she never stopped dancing.” Maddie was the inspiration behind the creation of Dancing While Cancering. The family committed itself to spreading the same positive energy among other kids fighting cancer in the hospital rooms.

Dancing While Cancering has partnered with various cancer hospitals including Children’s Hospital of Philadephia, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Stanford Children’s, and many more. They have also received partnership support from corporates such as Kendra Scott, Quaker, Little Beans Cafe, SpecWorks.com, etc.

They also have a little online store on their website selling t-shirts, hoodies, special kids’ collections to help raise money. You can sign in and shop or donate to further their mission.

How you can help:

You can help by donating directly on their website. It can be a one-time donation or you can choose to opt for monthly donations. Also, you can make donations to specifically have a smile pack delivered to kids in their partner hospitals. The pack comes with a set of wireless speakers, wall decor items, musical instruments, and other goodies suitable for a child. It’s quite a unique way to brighten up the lives of child patients. You can also donate to their organization through AmazonSmile or might use Facebook to create a fundraiser.


13. arc Cancer Support Centres

Mission: To provide psychological, emotional, practical, and educational support to cancer patients, families, and carers through a client centres approach.

The arc Cancer Support Centres has a dedicated helpline and email support system for patients and families who want to reach out for the tough journey ahead. They also provide counseling classes for young adults and children. There are additional events and classes for families. The team has various support groups dedicated to providing help for patients. Interested people can either drop into their centres or arrange for a virtual chat.

The arc Cancer Support Centres also provide assistance to healthcare professionals. More often than not, cancer affects oncology healthcare professionals as well. They might feel like they need additional resources to talk with child patients or to get rid of the fatigue. This organization provides all such services and more. It is also possible to refer a patient to the centres if the doctors feel the need.

What’s particularly praiseworthy is that every information or process is neatly described on their site. Any person visiting it for help or to offer help can navigate with ease.

How you can help:

You can volunteer, offer a legacy gift, host your own fundraising event to help their mission, provide counseling or therapy if you have the experience (check the positions available), and more. Getting involved is rather easy with the arc Cancer Support Centres whether or not you want to make a monetary donation. However, if you want to donate, they have a simple recurring donation form that helps you donate one-time, monthly, or annually.


Final Thoughts

list of cancer charities

Most people in the world have seen the wrath of cancer, either happening to themselves or to people nearby. The charities listed in this article are using their power to influence and advocate for everyone who has been affected by cancer. If you want to become a donor, volunteer, or just wanted more information, we hope this article gave you a good overview.

Donorbox is an online donation processor for nonprofits of all sizes. Our affordable prices make collecting donations online a reality instead of a dream. If your nonprofit wants to create a customizable donation page for a campaign or a recurring donation form to embed in the website, learn more about our features. Visit our blog for tips and resources that can help you on your fundraising journey.

Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.

Join the Nonprofit Movement
Receive our free email updates to get nonprofit tips, resources and freebies sent directly to your inbox.
Webinar banner

Join us in serving the nonprofit world!

Take your donor experience to the next level!
Join the 35,000+ nonprofits already raising funds online.
(No setup fee. Unsubscribe anytime)