A recent study found first-time principal female researchers receive about $41,000 less than first-time male awardees in federal grant funding. A new initiative from the American Cancer Society (ACS) in Illinois called, “ResearcHERS: Women Fighting Cancer,” takes aim at this imbalance by calling on female business and community leaders and influencers in the state to raise funds for women cancer researchers. As reported by Philanthropy Women, the women ambassadors are now sharing scientific discoveries, promoting the undertakings and accomplishments of women in research, and fundraising with a goal to raise $2,500 each. About 70 women are currently participating.
"We've been given the gift of time. We've been given the gift of these amazing researchers, who every single day get up believing that there is something more to be learned, to be discovered, to be shared. What can we do? We can invest in them,” Connie Lindsey, executive vice president of Northern Trust, who credits cancer research as one of the reasons her husband is living today, told ABC.
Lindsey is one of the three co-chairs of the inaugural ResearcHERS of Illinois campaign, along with senior vice president of AAR Cheryle Jackson (a breast cancer survivor) and Dr. Michelle Le Beau, a researcher who is one of only 8 female National Institutes of Health-Cancer Center Directors in the U.S.
“[ACS] has already been identified as a front-runner in feminist-leaning philanthropy,” Maggie May of Philanthropy Women explains. About half of the researchers ACS funds are women, and many are in the early stages of their careers. This is “when funding can be difficult to secure but can also lead to significant scientific breakthroughs,” May points out.
ResearcHERS has an overall goal to raise $500,000 in its first year. It has already reached $708,412 in donations and is still going strong. ACS calls on the public to, “Help us raise the funds needed to fuel HER next big discovery.” See a full list of participant and sponsors at the ResearcHERS site.