About Us

At Children’s Cancer Research Fund, we believe a world without childhood cancer is possible – but it’s going to take all of us.


Funding for childhood cancer research pales in comparison to funds available for research into adult cancers. In fact, as a percentage of cancer research funding from the federal government, childhood cancer research funding is in the single digits. It is crucial that we fund safer, more effective treatments and cures for kids with cancer. Better cancer treatment options and cures always start with donors like you. In childhood cancer, the road to new, better treatment options always starts with philanthropic support.

Chart showing how donations are spent

Our main focus is to support the research of bright scientists across the country whose ideas can make the greatest impact for children fighting cancer. We also fund resources and programs that help families who are fighting cancer stay strong, find community and take care of themselves.

In our January 1 to December 31, 2020 fiscal year, 85.4 percent of donations went toward our mission.


We want to ensure that your donation has the greatest impact, so we’ve chosen to focus our research funding efforts on three main areas:

Emerging Scientists

Young researchers often struggle to receive funding early in their careers, meaning their great ideas go unexplored. This program funds the next generation of leaders in cancer research.

Hard-to-treat diseases

There hasn’t been enough attention and funding on cancers where the survival rates remain low or have not improved in decades. In many cases, doctors have limited options for their patients with brain tumors, sarcomas, acute myeloid leukemia and other cancers. What sets us apart from other pediatric cancer organizations is our focus on these hard-to-treat cancers. We aim to bring more and better options to the table by supporting researchers who working on the most difficult to treat cancers. And because global collaboration is necessary for researchers to be successful (pediatric cancers are rare), we support initiatives that make data sharing and analytics easier and more effective.


Nearly all childhood cancer survivors will have a significant health related issue by the time they are 45 years of age. Today’s therapies cause late effects like heart issues, hearing loss, cognitive delays, infertility and secondary cancers. Our research support aims to prevent those late effects from ever occurring.


Our unique approach to funding research makes us the organization that will make your donation, big or small, stretch as far as possible. Here’s why:


Many organizations fund research at just one hospital or university – we fund researchers across the country, based on where we can make the greatest impact. We’ve funded more than 170 researchers at 22 different research institutions.


We focus on providing seeds grants that allow researchers to prove their idea, then reach for even larger grants. This model is why, on average, for every $1 CCRF invests in research, our scientists are able to secure $18 of additional funding.


Federal funding is not available to researchers until they’ve done enough research and gathered preliminary data to prove something is worth carrying forward. Even then, support is limited – as a percentage, federal cancer research funding to pediatric cancers is in the single digits. Many other funding sources don’t fund researchers or projects until late in the process, meaning some great ideas may get “stuck” without funding, sometimes for years.

CCRF’s goal is to remove the financial roadblocks these young researchers face, “unsticking” their great ideas.


We host fundraising events throughout the year, both local and nationwide, to raise awareness and funding for childhood cancer research.


In 1979, 13-year-old Katie Hageboeck was nearing the end of her 16-month battle with leukemia. Before she died, Katie asked that her savings for a new 10-speed bike be given to Children’s Cancer Research Fund (CCRF), a little-known fund at the University of Minnesota.

During this time, the government was cutting back on research spending, which stalled potentially lifesaving work. To support research progress, families in treatment at the hospital would pass around a hat in the waiting room, giving memorial gifts in a child’s name. From then on, Katie’s parents, Diana and Norm, vowed to support the University of Minnesota’s groundbreaking research.

In 1981, two years after Katie passed away, the Hageboecks organized a fundraising event called Dawn of a Dream, which has become Dream, CCRF’s signature gala. Since the event’s inception, Dream alone has raised over $22.5 million for childhood cancer research.

Today, CCRF is a national nonprofit, and thanks to donors and partners around the country, we have contributed $194 million to research, education and awareness and quality-of-life programs for childhood cancer families.