Since the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) was founded in 1998, thousands of individuals, companies and charitable foundations have entrusted their philanthropic dollars to the fund.
From day one, the Spielman Fund has made good on its promise to donors through smart fiscal management and a prudent spending plan that ensures funds are allocated where they are needed most. When donors designate their charitable contribution to the Spielman Fund, they can trust that their gift—along with the generosity of others who share their desire to help find a cure for breast cancer—will make an important and strategic impact.
Made up of an endowment and current use fund, the Spielman Fund has been engineered to guarantee that both the long-term vision and current needs in breast cancer research have been well accounted for. The fund’s investment approval team includes OSUCCC Director and James CEO Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, OSUCCC – James Senior Executive Director for Administration Jeff Walker, and Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center Director William Farrar, MD—as well as Chris Spielman.
A Long-Term Vision for Success
The endowment portion of the Spielman Fund, with its current principal balance of more than $9 million, provides long-term, reliable income for breast cancer research. Because the principal of the endowment is invested, with only the interest spent, the endowment portion of the Spielman Fund will provide critical funding for breast cancer research in perpetuity.
The Ohio State University’s Office of Investments manages the endowment, striving to earn the highest possible return on the principal while closely monitoring the performance of the endowment portfolio and making adjustments as needed. Currently, the university makes a distribution of 4.25 percent of the average market value-per-share of the endowment during the past seven years. For the Spielman Fund, this provides nearly $400,000 annually.
This funding has established a designated chair in breast imaging and designated fellowship for breast cancer research, provides discretionary support for the breast cancer research program leader, and applies other discretionary dollars to fill critical needs at the behest of Dr. Caligiuri.
“The endowment through the Spielman Fund is an important tool in the fight against breast cancer, as it provides funding we can count on no matter how the economy is performing,” Caligiuri says. “It guarantees that each and every year, the OSUCCC – James is at the forefront of new advances in cancer research that will save lives.”
Rapidly Working Toward a Cure
The majority of donations made to the Spielman Fund are designated as current use gifts—meaning they are to be spent in full rather than invested for the long term. The total amount of current use giving fluctuates each year but has averaged approximately $2.25 million in recent years.
The current use portion of the Spielman Fund connects the OSUCCC – James team of physicians and experts to vital research dollars meant to rapidly advance promising science. Investments made by the fund have enabled Ching-Shih Chen, PhD, to study novel therapeutic agents that selectively target metabolic and survival machineries in breast cancer cells; Sarmila Majumder, PhD, to explore the emerging role of microRNAs in drug-resistant breast cancer; creation of a designated fellowship in breast cancer research; and more.
And, according to OSUCCC – James Executive Director of Development Jennifer McDonald, current use dollars may soon create a new multi-investigator grant opportunity that will connect OSUCCC – James researchers to those at other institutions doing novel work. “One of the ways we’re going to beat breast cancer is by collaborating with other institutions across the country,” says McDonald. “This grant, similar to an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), would provide seed funding for investigators to prove that their work has merit and is worthy of additional funding from NIH or the National Cancer Institute.
“Whether we’re talking about the endowment or current use components of the Spielman Fund, the fact is that donors have made—and continue to make—an enormous difference through their giving,” she adds. “Ohio State researchers are changing lives and working quickly toward a cure, thanks to the generosity of people who care and give to the Spielman Fund.”