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January 25, 2021
Pan-Mass Challenge Raises, Donates $50M to Dana-Farber
Pan Mass Challenge logo

December 8, 2020 — The Pan-Mass Challenge, a Needham nonprofit that organizes the largest athletic fundraising event in the country, yesterday announced it raised $50 million this year for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, surpassing its goal, which was scaled back when the 2020 event went virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Like many nonprofits challenged to convert in-person events to virtual events, the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC), according to The Boston Globe, scaled back this year’s goal, from $65 million to $41 million, but was able to beat its goal by 28%. Last year’s event raised a record $63 million.

The funds constitute the largest single annual contribution to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, to support adult and pediatric cancer treatment and research, accounting for 64% of funds raised by the Jimmy Fund, Dana-Farber’s fundraising arm.

PMC said this year’s event generated the highest event weekend fundraising results it has ever experienced – $4 million from July 3-Aug. 3.

In addition to funding ongoing cancer treatment and research, PMC funding this year helped Dana-Farber transition to telemedicine and invest heavily in patient and visitor safety protocols in response to the pandemic.

Included in this year’s donation was $4 million that was fast-tracked to Dana-Farber in May to kick start its COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for patients and their families, as well as approximately $8 million in major gifts from donors.

“The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to many aspects of our daily lives this year, but cancer stops for nothing, and the PMC refuses to stop either,” said PMC founder and executive director Billy Starr. “I am incredibly proud of our community’s resiliency and dedication to our mission, which resulted in a very impactful $50 million gift that will support lifesaving cancer research and treatment as we continue to navigate this public health crisis.”

Laurie H. Glimcher, president and CEO of Dana-Farber, said, “This year more than ever, I am extremely grateful for the unwavering commitment from the Pan-Mass Challenge and its riders, volunteers, and donors. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unexpected challenges for the cancer community and this incredibly generous gift will make an unparalleled impact on our work in the fight against cancer.”

When the pandemic worsened in Massachusetts last spring, PMC in May redesigned the annual event to encourage riders to move forward with individual activities on or off their bikes.

More than 9,600 participated in a summer-long PMC 2020 Reimagined campaign, which enabled riders to adhere to local public health recommendations and engage with more than 13 hours of livestreamed video content. It also included a special toast where hundreds of cancer patients and came together via video chat to celebrate life and the progress that had been made in the fight against cancer.

The Red Sox Foundation was the lead sponsor for the event. In addition, more than 200 corporate sponsors provided more than $7 million in essential funds, products, and services to support operations in the year leading up to the ride.

While PMC normally requires riders to commit to raising a minimum amount, virtual riders did not have to commit to raising a minimum amount this year. Virtual riders could ride their own long-distance route, log miles over time, or never get on a bike. According to PMC, “When you register for the PMC, you are signing up for a fundraising mission first, and a bike ride second.”

The PMC raised $10,200 through its first ride in 1980, pioneering charitable fundraising via athletic events. To date, it has raised $767 million for Dana-Farber.

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