Funding the future

An endowment offers donors the profound ability to impact the lives of melanoma patients for generations to come. Funding the MRF’s endowment will enable increased investment in research grants and initiatives, a focused and sustained effort to unravel some of the most challenging medical problems and lead to new collaborations in the field.

Funds contributed to the MRF’s endowed fund are invested conservatively and professionally managed and overseen by the MRF’s Investment Committee. Each year, a percentage of the endowment’s income is used to support the MRF’s peer-reviewed research grant program that is led by a sophisticated team of renowned melanoma clinician-scientists.

The need for a cure

Twenty-five years ago, there were no FDA-approved treatments for melanoma.

A young woman named Diana Ashby, originally diagnosed in her late twenties, was now facing her third recurrence of melanoma. She was told by her treatment team that there were no options left and that she should plan accordingly. For Diana, quitting was not an option and she knew that she had to use her voice to help change the status quo for patients like her.

With the help of her friends and family she formed the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) slowly and steadily raising funds to support its first research grant. At the time, this was revolutionary as there was little funding for clinician-scientists in melanoma research — why go into a field with such poor outcomes? When the MRF made its first grant to the scientific community, it was the only funder besides the federal government.

Impact of your gift

By investing in the MRF’s endowment, you will be leveraging your support with that of others to accelerate research progress.

As a result, you will:


    the number and amount of grants awarded annually


    scientific collaborations between Breakthrough Consortium members to expand knowledge and expertise in the field


    clinical trial opportunities


    the FDA drug-approval pathway


    better outcomes for patients

Why I give

Cheryl Stratos

Melanoma changed my life forever. I was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic melanoma on November 23, 2009. Melanoma protocols had not changed for more than 15 years, with no progress toward extending life expectancy for late-stage patients. At the age of 45 the doctors gave me six months to live. I enrolled in a Phase 1 clinical trial that saved my life and changed the “why” we fight melanoma. I am dedicated to advocating for patients battling melanoma and supporting the MRF’s mission to expand treatment options and help young investigators fund research.

As a Board member of the MRF I know the importance of giving back now and planning a gift for the future. We are gaining ground in the fight against melanoma, but we need to continue to move the needle forward today and tomorrow. That is why I contribute annually and included the MRF in my estate plans to support its endowment so that the progress that has been made does not stop until we find a cure.

Doug Brodman

My family and I first discovered the Melanoma Research Foundation when I was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma. Not knowing anything about the disease, we searched for answers to our many questions. The MRF website proved to be an invaluable tool, providing us with information and support throughout every stage from diagnosis, to treatment, to survivorship.

Our family contributes to the MRF so we can carry on with the important work for the melanoma community through research, education and advocacy. We believe that it will continue to help patients, caregivers and families in the way it helped us.

Tax Benefits

An outright gift in the form of cash or appreciated securities will allow you to receive immediate tax benefits in the year you make your gift to the MRF. Many individuals also choose to fund an endowment by remembering the MRF in their estate plans and making a bequest.

On average, 84 cents of every dollar donated to the MRF goes directly to fund its programs and the people they serve. Participation in the endowment will allow the MRF to direct more funds to its research programs while ensuring financial stability for many years to come.

Gifts to the Endowment campaign can be made in the form of cash, appreciated securities, or through a beneficiary designation of a donor’s life insurance policy, IRA or other retirement vehicle, Last Will and Testament, or other appreciated asset.

Contact Information

If you are interested in more information about making a gift of stocks or securities, please fill out this short form and a member of our team will reach out to your directly:

Learn More About Gifting Stocks

For more information on how to make a gift to the endowment please contact:

Liz Reilly
Senior Development Officer – Endowment and Planned Giving
[email protected]