Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the mission of the Biden Cancer Initiative?

The Biden Cancer Initiative will develop and drive implementation of solutions to accelerate progress in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, research, and care, and to reduce disparities in cancer outcomes.

Q: How will the Biden Cancer Initiative accomplish its mission?

The Biden Cancer Initiative injects a sense of urgency into the cancer research and care systems, and reimagines how the government, academia, nonprofits and the private sector can better collaborate to take on cancer, with the patient as the focus. The Initiative is a major convening force in driving new actions and collaborations toward ending cancer as we know it.

The Biden Cancer Initiative works closely with patients and patient organizations, cancer researchers, cancer hospitals and community health centers, research universities, governments, and the private and philanthropic sectors to identify and address the critical issues in cancer prevention, research, and care to achieve these goals. The Initiative brings these groups together to identify barriers, devise solutions, launch pilot projects to test solutions, and disseminate successful solutions in the form of new actions and collaborations.

Q: Where are the Biden Cancer Initiative offices located?

The Biden Cancer Initiative has been incorporated in Delaware and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Q: What is the tax-exempt status of the Biden Cancer Initiative?

The Biden Cancer Initiative is organized and operated as a charitable organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Q: How were the Biden Cancer Initiative’s board members selected? Are they being compensated by the Biden Cancer Initiative?

The Biden Cancer Initiative Board includes world-renowned leaders and experts in the fields of medical research, patient care, information technology, finance, management, patient engagement, patient experience, and public policy. The members of the Board of Directors were chosen based on their expertise and perspective.

Board members are not being compensated for their service on the Board.

Q: Will the Biden Cancer Initiative have other councils or committees?

The Biden Cancer Initiative will include an Advisory Committee of leaders providing expert evaluation, input, and recommendations on specific priority areas in cancer research and care. The Advisory Committee will create and lead standing and ad hoc working groups to engage additional experts on specific issue areas. The working groups led by the Advisory Committee members will identify and synthesize the most promising solutions to the issues the Biden Cancer Initiative is addressing and develop actionable recommendations, including action, actor (or type of actor) and timeline, around which the Initiative leadership and Board will convene stakeholders to implement—focused on how specifically the Initiative can play a role in making progress.

The Biden Cancer Initiative will also provide a venue to bring together cancer-related advocacy and patient organizations – called the Biden Cancer Collaborative – to identify common issues, to advance common solutions, and to relay important information and progress to their respective communities.

Q: Is the Biden Cancer Initiative a grant-giving organization?

No. The Biden Cancer Initiative will largely not be a grant-giving organization and will accomplish its mission through convening, connecting partners, catalyzing new actions, and providing venues to discuss progress and develop new actions and collaborations.

Q: How does the Biden Cancer Initiative relate to the Biden Foundation?

The Biden Foundation focuses on the foreign and domestic policy work to which Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden have devoted their lives, including their ongoing work to support equality for all, changing the culture around domestic and sexual violence, and Dr. Biden’s work to increase access to high-quality affordable education in the United States and around the world.

The Biden Cancer Initiative was a pillar of the Biden Foundation and was incubated and launched in June of 2017 as a separate entity to continue and expand Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden’s work in the fight against cancer.

Q: How does the Biden Cancer Initiative differ from the Cancer Moonshot?

In President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union address, he called on Vice President Joe Biden to lead a new, national “Cancer Moonshot” to dramatically accelerate efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer –  to achieve a decade’s worth of progress in five years. On January 28, 2016, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum establishing the Cancer Moonshot Task Force to bring together all Federal agencies that touch the cancer experience, charged with leveraging Federal investments, targeted incentives, private sector efforts, patient engagement initiatives, and more, to support cancer research and enable progress in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

By the end of the Administration, the Cancer Moonshot had launched a series of coordinated efforts that incentivized bold, creative, and disruptive approaches to conducting cancer research, promoting prevention, and addressing critical needs in cancer care. These efforts leveraged talent and expertise across disciplines and sectors and ensured rapid dissemination of information to the broader cancer research and care community to accelerate progress. Ultimately, these efforts capitalized and built upon the progress made throughout the Administration to accelerate biomedical research, leverage data and technology, and improve the nation’s access to first-rate, affordable healthcare. In addition to driving this progress in both the public and private sectors, Vice President Biden also helped lead the effort to pass the 21st Century Cures Act that provides $1.8 billion over seven years for the Cancer Moonshot’s scientific priorities.

Initiatives begun under the Cancer Moonshot at Federal agencies have continued, including those at the National Cancer Institute with additional funding through the 21st Century Cures Act, as will efforts started across the country in private companies, foundations and hospitals.

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden launched the Biden Cancer Initiative with the knowledge that there is much more to accomplish in the fight against cancer.   The Biden Cancer Initiative operates separately from and without funding from the federal government.

Q: Is the Biden Cancer Initiative a partisan, political organization?

Both in legal standing, and in practice, the Biden Cancer Initiative is apolitical.

Q: Do the Bidens receive any income or personal expense reimbursement from the Biden Cancer Initiative?

No, the Bidens do not take a salary from the Biden Cancer Initiative and receive no funding from the Initiative.

Q: How can I can get involved with the Biden Cancer Initiative?

The Biden Cancer Initiative is funded by private donations, so if you are interested in giving, we welcome the support. We are also interested in hearing your ideas on where the Initiative can have the most impact. If you have experiences with cancer that you would like to share, we want to hear from you. Please click here to learn how to connect.

Biden Cancer Initiative Funding

Q: Who funds the Biden Cancer Initiative?

The Biden Cancer Initiative accepts contributions from individuals and – if applicable – their affiliated private and/or corporate foundations or donor-advised funds. The Biden Cancer Initiative does not accept donations from biopharmaceutical companies or its executives.  The Biden Cancer Initiative also does not accept donations from any foreign entities – including foreign citizens, foreign governments, or private foreign companies.

Q: Will the Initiative make its donor names public?

Donor names for those providing more than $5,000 in funds is included in the Initiative’s IRS Form 990. The 2017 form is posted here, within 6 months of the Initiative’s fiscal year end.

Questions related to the Biden Cancer Initiative’s 2017 IRS Form 990:

Q: Why did the Biden Cancer Initiative receive $499,109 from the Biden Foundation?

Prior to receiving an IRS determination letter regarding the recognition of the Biden Cancer Initiative as a 501(c)(3) organization, the Biden Foundation acted as a fiscal sponsor for the Biden Cancer Initiative.  During this time, the Biden Foundation received donations specifically intended for the Biden Cancer Initiative. The $499,109 represents those donations minus agreed-upon costs associated with the fiscal sponsorship.  Donors during that time met the Biden Cancer Initiative donor rules.  Per our disclosure policy, the contributions over $5,000 made to the Biden Foundation designated for the Biden Cancer Initiative include a $500,000 donation from the Emerson Collective via the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Q:  There are contributions from sponsoring organizations of donor-advised funds or other intermediary institutions reported on the Form 990.  Who are the donors behind those contributions?

A donation from the Emerson Collective was reported as received from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.  A donation from The Mary F. Smith Family Foundation was reported as received from Pierce Fenner & Smith.

Q: What is Network for Good?

Network for Good is an online donation platform that enables donors to give to various charities.  When a donor gives to the Biden Cancer Initiative through the Network for Good website, he or she makes a donation to the Network for Good Donor Advised Fund.  The Fund then re-grants the donation to the Biden Cancer Initiative.

Q: How does the Biden Cancer Initiative report donors who gave through Network for Good who reach the $5,000 threshold?

The Biden Cancer Initiative receives the name and contact information for any donations totaling over $5,000, including those received through Network for Good. Those donations are listed as from Network for Good on the 990, as required, but for the fiscal year being reported included:

  • Amy Laurie         $10,000
  • Daniel Tierney   $15,000