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The SAMFund

 89 South Street, Suite LL02
 Boston, MA 02111
[P] (617) 938-3484
[F] (866) 496-8070
[email protected]
Samantha Watson
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 20-6018710

LAST UPDATED: 03/08/2016
Organization DBA Surviving And Moving Forward: The SAMFund for Young Adult Survivors of Cancer
The SAMFund for Young Adult Survivors of Cancer
The Samfund
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

The Samfund proudly provides relief and support to young adult cancer survivors who are struggling financially. Through direct financial assistance and free online support and education, The Samfund helps young adults move forward with their lives after cancer.

Mission Statement

The Samfund proudly provides relief and support to young adult cancer survivors who are struggling financially. Through direct financial assistance and free online support and education, The Samfund helps young adults move forward with their lives after cancer.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2015 to June 30, 2016
Projected Income $744,000.00
Projected Expense $743,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Grants program
  • Online Alumni Community
  • Webinar series: "Moving Forward With Your Financial Health"

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

The Samfund proudly provides relief and support to young adult cancer survivors who are struggling financially. Through direct financial assistance and free online support and education, The Samfund helps young adults move forward with their lives after cancer.

Background Statement

The Samfund provides support for young adult cancer survivors in the United States as they recover from the financial toxicity of cancer treatment. Through its unique programs, The Samfund helps young adults move forward towards their personal, professional, and academic goals.

The Samfund is the first and largest nonprofit organization in the country that provides direct financial assistance and free online support and education to young adults, regardless of where they live or their specific cancer diagnosis. Since 2005, we have awarded $1.5 million in grants and now provide a free Webinar series, “Moving Forward With Your Financial Health,” and a new online program (currently in the last stage of development) called “Finances 101: A Toolkit for Young Adults With Cancer,” offering young adults the tools and guidance they need to face their financial struggles and take steps to overcome them.

Impact Statement

2013 marked The Samfund's 10th anniversary of helping young adult survivors of cancer recover from the financial devastation of cancer. To date, we have awarded a total of $1,500,000 in direct financial assistance to young adult survivors across the country and provided support and guidance through our free Webinar series, "Moving Forward with Your Financial Health," to hundreds more.  We are currently in the process of developing a new program, "Finances 101: A Toolkit for Young Adults With Cancer," to help young adults make better-informed financial decisions during and after cancer treatment.
Our grants cover a wide range of "real life," post-treatment needs, such as (but not limited to): living expenses (rent, utilities, groceries, car insurance, etc), medical bills (both current and residual, as well as prescription co-pays and health insurance premiums), wellness (gym/yoga memberships, mental health expenses), student loans, family building expenses (adoption, infertility treatments, etc) and more.
We also provide online support through our blog (, a private Facebook community for alumni, and an open Facebook group for supporters, volunteers, and young adult survivors across the country to come together, share stories and learn from one another.


Needs Statement

As our programs are primarily funded through individual contributions, donations remain our greatest need. Historically, we have awarded grants once annually, but seeing the growing need (due to rising healthcare costs as well as increased awareness/visibility of The Samfund as a resource), we implemented a second grant cycle in January of 2016. Ultimately, this will allow us to provide more timely support to more people throughout the year. However, it also means that we need to scale up our fundraising efforts to support the growing grants program.

For our Webinar series and Toolkit program, the greatest need is for professionals who are willing to donate their time and expertise to provide content. Specifically, we are looking for professionals in the fields of finance, human relations, insurance, and others who can address some of the most common challenges faced by cancer survivors and give them the tools and information to overcome them.

CEO Statement

We are always careful not to say that we empower young adult cancer survivors - rather, we provide them the tools and the confidence to empower themselves. By becoming informed, harnessing the resources that are out there, and connecting with others who are dealing with (or have dealt with) similar challenges, young adult survivors are better equipped to move forward with their lives and achieve their goals.

Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

We serve young adult survivors of cancer across the United States.

Organization Categories

  1. Diseases Disorders & Medical Disciplines - Cancer
  2. -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Grants program

The Samfund is one of the only organizations in the U.S. designed to provide direct financial assistance to young adults with a cancer history, regardless of the specific diagnosis, for help with a wide range of post-treatment needs. Applicants must be between the ages of 21 and 39, residents of the United States, and either finished with planned treatment with no evidence of disease, one year following the completion of planned therapy, or on long-term hormonal or long-term targeted therapy. Since 2005, we have awarded over $1,500,000 to recipients across the country.

Grants provided cover a wide range of post-treatment financial needs including (but not limited to):

  • health insurance premiums

  • rent/mortgage assistance

  • car payments, insurance, or repairs

  • continuing education and student loans

  • family-building expenses

  • gym memberships

  • mental health expenses

Budget  $215,000.00
Category  Diseases, Disorders & Medical Disciplines, General/Other Cancer
Population Served Other Named Groups
Program Short-Term Success 

In the short term, immediate financial assistance can make a tremendous impact to a young adult survivor’s day-to-day living needs. Our grants have, as a few examples, allowed young adult survivors to: stay in their homes when facing eviction; keep their heat and electricity on; take their prescription medications; maintain their health insurance so they may receive follow-up medical care; assist them in paying for family building procedures; pay off medical debt; improve their credit ratings; build their post-treatment health with a gym or yoga membership, or physical therapy or massage sessions; continue or complete schooling; and provide simple necessities such as gas or groceries.

Program Long-Term Success 

By addressing survivors’ financial needs, The Samfund provides a stopgap which allows them to fulfill their educational, housing, transportation, and/or health-related needs. We specifically focus on investments in young adults which help them to help themselves. After years of watching their peers move forward with their lives, young adult survivors deserve the opportunity to do the same. With our help this becomes more possible.

The impacts of this assistance are far-reaching. A consistent theme among those we help is a sincere desire to give back to the community and a commitment to improving the lives of other disadvantaged individuals. Some of our recipients have gone on to become oncologists or nurses. Others strive towards careers in social work or cancer research. Many volunteer for or otherwise support cancer organizations in gratitude for the support they received throughout their cancer experiences.

Program Success Monitored By 

At a basic dollars-and-cents level, program success can be judged by the amount of funds and number of grants distributed each year. However, The SAMFund prefers to measure success through the follow-up data collected from recipients at 6-months, 1-year and 2-years post-award. Recipients are asked to report on their living, professional and educational situations, and their satisfaction with each. They are also asked to answer qualitative questions about what their grant has allowed them to do, and what their goals are for the near future.

Examples of Program Success 

The SAMFund has provided $900,000 to over 400 young adult survivors since 2005. Their words are the most powerful examples of program success.

“The SAMFund helped me greatly with my mortgage. I don't know how I would have possibly paid it without the help I was given. Thanks to [the grant] I was able to keep a roof over my son's head.”

“I am so grateful to the SAMFund for a membership at the gym in my neighborhood. I have lost approximately 18 pounds gained during treatment since receiving my grant, because I go to the gym at least 5 days a week! I have started running on the treadmill to regain some of my lung/cardio function after transplant, and I can now go for 3 minutes without stopping to catch my breath. Maybe an athlete would laugh at that, but I am totally proud of myself!“

“The SAMFund grant that I received made it possible for my wife and I to afford some of the extra costs of doing an IVF procedure. Because we were able to finally do the IVF my wife is now pregnant!”

Online Alumni Community

We have a private Facebook community to add an additional layer of online support for our grant recipients. This online community is a safe place where members can share experiences, strength and hope. The group has over 350 members.

Budget  $0.00
Category  None of the above
Population Served US
Program Short-Term Success 
Having a private community to share often brings immediate relief and hope to alumni members, empowering them to seek advice from their peers and discuss issues.
Program Long-Term Success 
This private group enables alumni to have a safe place to support one another, ask questions, and share experiences. Ongoing communication strengthens the bond between group members, sparking more conversation and encouraging more alumni to participate. 
Program Success Monitored By 
We know the group is "working" by the number and type of conversations happening at any given time. Over time, comments on posts have consistently grown and more members have started participating by sharing milestones and struggles. Our message to the group is consistent with our mission, empowering alumni to move forward together as a strong and supportive community of young adult survivors.
Examples of Program Success 
Since participation is by invitation-only, members can be assured that the group represents only Samfund alumni. The growth in members is a success factor as are the number and breadth of conversations within the group.

Webinar series: "Moving Forward With Your Financial Health"

In early 2011, we developed a Webinar series called "Moving Forward With Your Financial Health" to address some of the most common financial challenges faced by young adult cancer survivors after treatment. Presented in partnership with financial professionals and other organizations, our webinars provide information, tools, and guidance to overcome these challenges. Accessible 24/7 on Samfund TV, the YouTube library includes topics such as rebuilding your credit after treatment, reducing medical debt, family building, tackling workplace issues and more.

Budget  $26,000.00
Category  Diseases, Disorders & Medical Disciplines, General/Other Cancer
Population Served People/Families of People with Cancer
Program Short-Term Success 

The SAMFund aims to reach a total of 50 people (live listeners and listeners after the fact) for the each webinar. As we hold an average of five Webinars per calendar year, this figure totals approximately 250 users. Our goal is to measure a 5% improvement in survivors’ financial situations at 6 months post-Webinar.

Program Long-Term Success 

By arming young adult survivors with information, helping them learn to advocate for themselves and establish their financial self-sufficiency, we are furthering The SAMFund’s mission to help survivors get back on their feet. Ultimately, The SAMFund will help hundreds more survivors improve their financial situations than what is possible with our grants program alone, all in a cost-effective manner.

Program Success Monitored By 

The success of this program is measured via overall user satisfaction, usefulness of information provided, and number of participants. Participants are asked to complete a brief pre-Webinar survey, assessing perceptions of their current financial situations and answering topic-specific questions that gauge current need and interest, allowing panelists to tailor their presentations to the audience. Participants are also asked to complete a survey immediately post-Webinar rating the quality of content and usefulness of information. Six months after the Webinar, users are asked to complete a survey to evaluate the application of this information over time. The SAMFund also tracks these indicators for people who access the recorded versions of the Webinars.

Examples of Program Success 

The SAMFund received overwhelmingly positive responses to the first year of the program. In calendar year 2012, 256 individuals completed our pre-Webinar survey (over 4 Webinars total). After the presentation on insurance options, one participant wrote, “My COBRA payments had increased to $1,200 a month and my out-of-pocket expenses had doubled… Just when I thought I’d lose everything—from where I lived, to the food on my table—I heard about The SAMFund’s webinar. During the Webinar, I learned all of the options for health insurance in my state. I am now enrolled in MHIP and my insurance will only cost me $400 a month. Without The SAMFund, I never would have known this existed. The importance of Webinars like these cannot be measured. That single one changed the course of my life. So thank you... and keep up the good work.” (Beth S, 7-year survivor)

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Grants: The largest (and longstanding) challenges facing our grants program include meeting the need of our target population, and making the program scalable in the long-term. While we have been fortunate enough to steadily increase our giving nearly every year since 2005, the number of applications we receive has similarly increased. As a small organization, maintaining the capacity to manage grant distribution is an ever-evolving process.

Webinars: The Webinar series has created phenomenal opportunities for strengthening relationships with our cancer community partners. We’ve been fortunate to bring in professionals in a broad range of fields (such as insurance options, employment issues, family building, medical debt reduction) and have expanded our organizational connections, as well as providing this information to our survivor community.


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Samantha Watson
CEO Term Start Apr 2003
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience The CEO of The Samfund, Samantha Watson, brings both personal and professional experience to her role. She is a two-time young adult cancer survivor who also holds an MBA in Nonprofit Management from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She founded The Samfund in 2003, became its full-time Executive Director in August of 2006, and was promoted to CEO in late 2015.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Michelle Landwehr COO --


Award Awarding Organization Year
"Make a Difference, Taste a Difference" Award Hood Simply Smart Milk 2012
Survivor Circle Grant ASTRO 2012


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


The Samfund is proud to be a charter member of Critical Mass (formerly the LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance)  and a collaborating partner on many Boston-area cancer conferences, including Dana-Farber's annual young adult conference and Friends of Mel's annual "Art of Living" conference for those touched by cancer.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 5
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 50
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 5
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 4
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Mr. Steven Bandrowczak
Board Chair Company Affiliation Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Board Chair Term Mar 2015 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Steven Bandrowczak Hewlett Packard Enterprise Voting
Jeffrey Cooper Reis Cooper LLP Voting
Cynthia Eisenstein Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Voting
Glenn Eisenstein Independent Bridge Professional Voting
Victor Feldman Treasury Equity, LLC & Gemshares, LLC Voting
Lex Friedman Midroll Voting
Morley Goldberg Dumont & Blake Investment Advisors Voting
Melissa Jacoby First Financial Trust Voting
Sharon Karsten Treasury Equity, LLC & Gemshares, LLC Voting
Corey Peterson Lenox Advisors Voting
Barry Seigerman Independent Broker Voting
Samantha Watson The Samfund Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Kyle Greaves Alumni Leadership Council --
Erin McCabe -- --
Valerie Sun Alumni Leadership Council --
Kate Wimbiscus Sievers Alumni Leadership Council --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mark Bennett Bayer Pharmaceuticals NonVoting
Adam Carr Hewlett Packard Enterprise NonVoting
George Padula Modera Wealth Management NonVoting
Katie Price Hewlett Packard Enterprise NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 12
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 4
Male: 8
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Advisory Board / Advisory Council
  • Board Governance
  • Executive
  • Investment
  • Nominating

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2015 to June 30, 2016
Projected Income $744,000.00
Projected Expense $743,000.00
Form 990s

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

2010 Form 990

2009 Form 990

Audit Documents

2015 Audited Financial Statements

2014 Audited Financial Statements

2013 Review

2012 Review

2011 Review

2010 Review

2009 Review

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Revenue $575,654 $410,665 $330,883
Total Expenses $412,404 $354,957 $313,906

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- $23,750
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $520,044 $303,716 $179,562
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $4,382 $5,196 $2,555
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $46,928 $101,753 $125,016
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $4,300 -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Program Expense $318,612 $329,713 $291,598
Administration Expense $49,930 $6,835 $12,042
Fundraising Expense $43,862 $18,409 $10,266
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.40 1.16 1.05
Program Expense/Total Expenses 77% 93% 93%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 8% 5% 3%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Assets $531,812 $345,142 $283,306
Current Assets $336,909 $222,517 $184,368
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $5,965 $9,628 $3,500
Total Net Assets $525,847 $335,514 $279,806

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $200,000.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage(If selected) 5.0%
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 56.48 23.11 52.68

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

In FY14, The Samfund received a very generous bequest, which was unrestricted by the donor. The Board decided to utilize some of the funds for the endowment and the majority of the funds to internal infrastructure (specifically, additional staff). The bequest was received almost two-thirds of the way through our fiscal year, so we were not able to spend it until FY15. This explains why, in our audited financial statements, it appears that we had leftover cash in FY14 and much more in expenses than income in FY15.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Specific revenue breakout detail was provided by the organization for fiscal year 2012.  Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

Our main goal at this stage is to raise awareness, both of The Samfund and our work, and also of the issue of financial toxicity related to cancer. To that end, we recently published our first peer-reviewed paper in Cancer Medicine, entitled "The cost of cancer: a retrospective analysis of the financial impact of cancer on young adults" (found here: As we continue to grow and be recognized as a unique resource in the cancer community, it will be critical to raise additional funds to be able to appropriately scale our existing programs and develop new ones.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

Over the past year, we welcomed three new staff members to our team: a Program Assistant, a Development Associate, and a Social Media Marketing Associate. Working collaboratively as well as individually, our team of five is now able to accomplish exponentially more than before, and we are finally able to dedicate time and effort to brand awareness and fundraising and development, as described above.

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

In addition to having five full-time staff members, we are also fortunate to have 42 Sambassadors and Alumni Leaders (volunteers who make a year-long commitment to The Samfund and help with fundraising and outreach efforts) and 6 Advisory Council Members (professionals who share their specific expertise with our staff and Board). Together, we are developing strategies to strengthen The Samfund's presence in cities where we have had events (New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco) and increase visibility in new areas across the country.

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

The clearest metrics for success are 1) increased donations, 2) greater number of local events hosted by volunteers (rather than Samfund staff), and 3) more referrals from more hospitals and cancer centers across the country.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

Our Sambassadors have begun to raise awareness of The Samfund in their own communities and we are looking forward to having them all together at a retreat in April of 2016 to brainstorm new goals and strategies for the remainder of the year. We saw an increase in donations at the end of 2015, thanks in large part to having additional staff and more volunteers, but haven't yet seen an increase in donations in Q3 and Q4, which will be critical to our ability to scale up our programs and help more young adults in the coming year.