MPN Research Foundation

Raising Funds to Cure Blood Cancers

Founded in 1999 by Chicago businessman Bob Rosen, the MPN Research Foundation raises funds to support early stage research in a group of blood cancers known as myeloproliferative neoplasms or MPNs. Over the past 20 years the Foundation raised $12 million and supported over 65 research projects leading to significant discoveries about MPNs.

In January 2018 Bob died of complications from his MPN. The loss of his leadership prompted the organization to ask, “What’s next?”  While they’ve been successfully growing their fundraising to $3 million annually, they were also getting more requests for funding complex research projects.  How much money could they raise and what were the most appealing projects to their donors, board members and scientific advisors?

Michelle Woerhle, the Foundation’s Executive Director, engaged Millennia Consulting for a Strategic Fundraising and Board Assessment. Over the course of five months, Millennia consultant Jessica Ticus surveyed and interviewed key board members, advisors, patients and families. These results were shared with the Board and staff and provided the focus for action planning session. As Michelle noted, “The careful preparation of staff and board to ensure they had the information they needed going into this meeting and the masterful facilitation and focus on ACTION allowed us all to walk away feeling invigorated and engaged around the work ahead.” The board and staff are enthusiastically committed and confident they can move their annual fundraising goal to $5 million over the next 3 years. The cause, containment and eventual cure of MPNs will surely follow.