Michigan Cancer Research Fund                                                                                            American Cancer Society

The Need for Research Funding

As of July 2015, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has over $441 million invested in 820 active research grants in the United States, with over $20 million invested in 30 grants in the State of Michigan. Each year, a national peer review process rates approximately 23% of the grant applications received as outstanding and worthy of funding. However, the American Cancer Society typically is able to fund only 73% of its approved grants, leaving 27% of these outstanding grants unfunded due to limited resources. As a result, a significant number of potentially life-saving research ideas may not be pursued by promising investigators. These approved but unfunded applications are designated "pay-if", i.e. approved to pay only if funds become available.

The Solution

Led by founding chair William Y. Campbell, the Michigan Cancer Research Fund ("MCRF" or "Fund") was established in 2008 by a group of cancer-concerned philanthropists to fund critical cancer research projects that would otherwise remain unfunded. The Fund is an initiative of the American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society volunteers Mr. and Mrs. Scott A. Reilly (Scott and Huong) are current co-chairs of MCRF, which is administered and administratively supported by key executive staff of the Lakeshore Division of the American Cancer Society. MCRF Trustees provide both the funding and the research investment direction.

MCRF Trustees

Each MCRF Trustee makes a minimum gift of $50,000, typically payable over five years, in support of American Cancer Society approved but yet unfunded cancer research grants. Trustees serve five-year terms during which they participate in the selection of  research grants which will receive MCRF funding. These Trustees are uncompensated volunteers who, through MCRF, are provided the unique opportunity to actively participate in seeking a cure for cancer utilizing the resources of the American Cancer Society, the most respected cancer fighting organization in America. Upon completion of their first five-year terms, Trustees may, with their ongoing financial support, continue to serve indefinitely.

Research Project Selection

MCRF Trustees are able to take advantage of the American Cancer Society's world-renowned peer-review process which evaluates the most innovative cancer research projects currently seeking funding. MCRF Trustees play a key role in selecting the projects funded each year. They have the opportunity to ask questions before selecting which projects to fund. In cases when immediate opportunity to fund Michigan-based “pay-if” grants arise, and based upon availability of funds, the MCRF Chairs may approve research project funding on behalf of the Trustees.