By Lisa Lacy

The fund industry's participation in the fight against cancer has taken many forms this year, ranging from fund raising and special events to seminars, among other events. Several industry firms are pitching in to do their part. Both on an individual employee level and corporation-wide, MassMutual, American Century, SalesPage Technologies, State Street, Investors Bank & Trust, JPMorganChase, Beacon Consulting Group and Mutual Funds Against Cancer, among many others, have enlisted to battle the disease in some form or another.

In recognition of October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, MassMutual is combining seminars for women with its fundraising efforts. The firm says it is working to raise awareness and to provide a minimum donation of $100,000 to local research, detection and treatment programs to support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. MassMutual’s U.S. Insurance Group will make charitable contributions of up to $3,000 to local cancer organizations in the name of each agency that conducts its “Pearls of Wisdom” financial educational seminar in October. The firm’s Pearls of Wisdom seminar is an interactive video-based seminar that includes women telling stories about how their financial lives are impacting their personal lives. MassMutual says it is encouraging agents to present these seminars in their communities to raise awareness of financial preparedness, especially when it comes to breast cancer and other unexpected life events. An estimated 200 to 250 agents, representing MassMutual’s more than 80 agencies, are expected to participate. “We’re on the hook for about $250,000,” says Susan Sweetser, second vice president of MassMutual’s Specialized Markets division. In addition, the firm sponsored the Danskin Women’s Triathlon, which donates 10% of entry fees to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. In conjunction with that sponsorship, MassMutual made donations to the Foundation on behalf of triathlon participants who attended MassMutual’s “Pearls of Wisdom” seminar. On another front, an industry executive has established “Mutual Funds Against Cancer" or MFAC. MFAC is an advocate in the fight against cancer within New England’s mutual fund and financial industry that hosts several events throughout the year. The organization’s mission is to proactively find a cure for cancer by raising funds and awareness through event-based programs and charitable donations. For instance, in November it will hold its Third Annual Expect Miracles Wine & Spirit Extravaganza in Boston. Founded in 1995 as a grassroots family-and-friends group, MFAC has raised $1.2 million to date. What started with a golf tournament has since expanded to include the Wine Extravaganza as well as the First Annual State Street 5K Challenge at the Nicsa Technology Summit next month. Proceeds raised by the organization benefit The Jimmy Fund, the fund-raising arm of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dana-Farber provides care to children and adults with cancer while advancing the diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of cancer and related diseases. As a former CFO and treasurer of The CGM Funds, founder and chairman Frank Strauss says he "felt in a position to rally some industry folks around me and get something going, and I never dreamed it would grow [to this point].” Strauss is now principal of the Beacon Consulting Group.

MFAC’s board consists of approximately 25 executives from State Street, Investors Bank & Trust and JPMorgan Chase. Last month, customer relationship management, or CRM, software company SalesPage Technologies made a more indirect contribution to the cause: It donated software and support to MFAC. MFAC will implement the SalesPage CRM offering to streamline fundraising and awareness efforts as well as to leverage its growing list of data and contacts. Michael Pessetti, vice president of sales and marketing for SalesPage, says SalesPage is providing the hardware, software and infrastructure in order to help MFAC keep track of donors and sponsors as well as planning and communication around events such as marketing to potential participants. “We recognize they’re a virtual organization and they don’t have a lot of staff or even a physical office location,” Pessetti says. “We felt we could do something effective.” For its part, American Century has struck up a partnership with a celebrity spokesman and launched a new brand and advertising campaign to raise awareness and support for cancer. Via a campaign featuring Lance Armstrong and the catchphrase, "Put Your Lance Face On," the firm is encouraging investors to tackle investment decisions with determination and focus. Company spokesman Chris Doyle says the firm rebranded target-date funds and asset allocation funds under the “Livestrong” moniker. In addition, American Century has “made a financial commitment” to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which is devoted to raising cancer awareness. Doyle says there is a minimum level of commitment and that if the funds prove to be more popular, the amount of commitment can go up. Like Armstrong, American Century’s founder, Jim Stowers, Jr., is a cancer survivor. Also like Armstrong, Stowers is using his position to help fight the disease. He has created a biomedical research facility, The Stowers Institute for Medical Research.

By Editorial Staff

Mutual Funds Against Cancer held its 13th annual “Expect Miracles” Golf Classic on June 7 at Pinehills Golf Club in Plymouth, Mass., followed by dinner and an awards ceremony at Waverly Oaks Golf Club. Presented by title sponsor JPMorgan Fund Services, the event attracted 380 financial executives and raised $350,000 for cancer research, which will go to the Center for Applied Cancer Sciences at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

In addition to JPMorgan Fund Services, more than 65 other companies also sponsored the event. To date, the organization has raised more than $1.5 million for cancer research.

“It was an amazing day to bring the mutual fund industry together as one for an incredible, important cause,” said Frank Strauss, founder and chairman of Mutual Funds Against Cancer and a principal at Beacon Consulting Group. “This industry is extremely powerful, and together we can make a difference in the fight against this deadly disease.”

“The mutual fund industry clearly demonstrated its commitment to helping the fight against cancer,” said Lisa Onorato, vice president at JPMorgan Fund Services. “[We are] proud to be among Mutual Funds Against Cancer's supporters and a sponsor of this important event.”

October 8th, 2007 was a proud day for all at MFAC as staff and board members rang the Opening Bell for the New York Stock Exchange!'

MFAC Opening Bell

View the video clip (Windows Media)

Golf event expected to raise $650,000 for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston
By Sue Asci

More than 400 executives from 50 mutual fund and financial services companies are expected to raise $650,000 June 12 at the 14th annual Expect Miracles Golf Classic, sponsored by Mutual Funds Against Cancer. The sold-out tournament, which raises money for research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, will take place at the Pinehills and Waverly Oaks golf courses in Plymouth, Mass.

Donations to the Hingham, Mass.-based charity have increased 60% during the last three years, said co-founder and chairman Frank Strauss, a principal at Beacon Consulting Group in Boston.

Those are "not bad returns," Mr. Strauss said.

Through its golf tournament and other fundraising events throughout the year, Mutual Funds Against Cancer raised $570,000 last year, up from $360,000 in 2006, $225,000 in 2005 and $156,000 a year earlier.


"The organization has impact," said Ken Starr, vice president of interactive data pricing and reference data at Interactive Data Corp. of Bedford, Mass., and foundation sponsor for 2008 and 2009.

"It's the mutual fund industry making a statement to a challenge: cancer research. It is important to a lot of people," he said.

Interactive Data has made the group one of its preferred charities and is sponsoring the golf event to build awareness about the organization, and to generate donations.

"It's an important organization to the industry we work in," said Doug Miller, executive vice president at State Street Corp. of Boston. "We have an opportunity to be leaders and to attract firms to this organization."

"It's a tremendous cause," said Jeff Masom, managing director of institutional services at Legg Mason Inc. of Baltimore. "It's a great opportunity for us to partner up with some of our competitors and our clients to support this great cause."

A 20-year veteran of the financial services industry, Mr. Strauss was chief investment officer at The CGM Funds of Boston when he started the organization. His mother had been diagnosed with leukemia, and he "saw a lot of children in the hospital when I visited my mom. She won her battle against cancer. It all came together."

The first friends and family golf tournament attracted 40 players who raised $6,000. "The banquet was me flipping burgers on my back deck," Mr. Strauss said.

Mutual Funds Against Cancer, which receives donations from more than 100 financial firms, most of them mutual funds, has funded several research programs, said Nancy Rowe, director of the Jimmy Fund Golf Program at Dana-Farber. "The money was unrestricted and is used wherever it was needed," she said.

For the past two years, donations have been directed to Dana-Farber's Center for Applied Cancer Science, which researches some of the most challenging cancers, such as melanoma, multiple myeloma, and colon, pancreatic, brain and lung cancer, Mr. Strauss said.

"They are doing some very cutting-edge research in the field of the major cancers," Ms. Rowe said. "There are breakthroughs that will happen because of the MFAC support. It's going to have a huge impact."

MFAC was proud and honored on June 26 at Fenway Park when founder and chairman, Frank Strauss accompanied 
5 year-old cancer patient, Luciano “Little Papi” Quagliaroli for the opening pitch.

Luciano’s Fight

LucianoAt four years old, Luciano had what any parent would assume was just a bump on the head. Their family practitioner and the specialist agreed the bump was merely a fatty cyst, but to be certain the specialist recommended surgery to remove it. In the two weeks leading up to the surgery the bump had grown to 1/3 the size of a golf ball. The surgeon found the lump to be larger than was expected, and, after running tests, discovered that the lump was not a cyst.

A week later Luciano’s parents returned to the doctor’s office only to learn that Luciano was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Luciano’s family had decisions to make. Looking to their faith and with the support and prayers of family and friends, they were able to sort through the sad and difficult time, and make the choices that would give their son a fighting chance to overcome Leukemia. Up-rooting their lives, they moved from Florida to Boston, in effort to give Luciano the best care in the country.

Children’s Hospital Boston and the Dana Farber Institute worked together to map out a treatment plan for Luciano, which would span a minimum of 25 months. On the day following his first day of treatment, his parents recall Luciano rocking out to the Who’s “Love reign over me.” It was clear that his battle against Leukemia was one that he would fight. Luciano has a wild imagination, extraordinary spirit, and a big heart. He writes on the hospital’s blog his parents created thanking people for their kind words and support. Like every child, Luciano enjoys snowball fights, pizza, hash browns, hot coco, and playtime with his 8 year-old sister, Talia. However, Luciano’s reality is very different from that of most children. During his treatment, he spends a lot of his time in a hospital bed hooked up to IVs, monitors, and machines, and pulls clumps of hair from his head, but he finds humor even in that; “Bald is beautiful,” he says with a laugh.

This June, Luciano was selected to throw the first pitch at the June 21st Red Sox game at Fenway. True to character Luciano joked that the catcher should consider some extra padding for his mitt. Afterall, his “Swiffle ball” zooms hundreds of miles to Africa!

The day arrived and Luciano’s name was announced over the speakers. The Fenway crowd erupted in cheers for the little comedian as he threw the first pitch. His parents recall the proud moment, hearing the crowd’s reaction and watching their little boy on the baseball diamond throwing his “Swiffle ball”.

Luciano is responding to treatment and he is on his way to recovering, but his fight against Leukemia is all but over. His adoring family fights with him every day. They keep his spirits strong and his laughter even stronger. Luciano, the little comedian, is fighting the battle and he is fighting to conquer.

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