The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation recently announced it will provide $25 million in new grant funding to expand or establish five Ralph Lauren cancer centers, aimed at reducing disparities in cancer care and access across underserved communities in the United States.
The funding will benefit institutions with a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation, including Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Ralph Lauren Center, as well as three additional locations that will be confirmed. The White House recognized the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation’s philanthropic pledge as a leading example of public and private sector partners coming together and answering its Cancer Moonshot call to action to accelerate progress against the disease.
In its 20-year history, this is the largest single funding commitment made by the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation, as it deepens its long-standing cancer care and prevention efforts to support access to high-quality treatment at an earlier, more curable stage in underserved communities. The programs funded through this effort will focus on providing patient navigation services, increased screenings, early diagnosis, and treatment—all of which will help to break down barriers that prevent those most in need from accessing high-quality care.
“When someone we love has cancer, it affects all of us—our families, our friends, our communities,” said Ralph Lauren, Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Ralph Lauren Corporation, and Chair of the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation. “While we have made significant progress and advancements in the fight against cancer, barriers to care and access persist, particularly in medically underserved and vulnerable communities. It is our hope that, together, we can strengthen avenues of support and generate meaningful change for families and communities who need it most. For over 30 years, this has been my personal commitment, and now, joined by so many dedicated partners, we envision a world where cancer outcomes improve for everyone and survivors thrive.”
Collaborative Efforts and Expanded Mission
The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation will continue its long-standing partnership with Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center to establish the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention in Washington, DC, as part of its $25 million investment. In 1989, Ralph Lauren cofounded the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center after his close friend and then Fashion Editor of The Washington Post Nina Hyde was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Building on the existing practices of Capital Breast Care Center, the renamed and reimagined Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention will expand its services in patient navigation and education beyond breast cancer. This expanded center’s mission will provide a range of patient navigation services to support early detection, diagnostic, treatment, and preventive measures while broadening screening capacity to include colorectal, lung, and prostate cancers—three of the most common types of cancer that disproportionately affect people in the district’s metropolitan area. Situated in the southeast part of the district, the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention will serve a diverse population and engage the community through targeted outreach and educational workshops.
Louis M. Weiner, MD
“We are deeply honored to carry the commitment of Ralph Lauren and the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation forward here in the nation’s capital with the establishment of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention,” said Louis M. Weiner, MD, Director of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and Director of MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute.
“For over 30 years, Mr. Lauren’s pioneering vision to fight cancer through the Nina Hyde Center at Georgetown Lombardi has led to remarkable progress in breast cancer research and care. This newly expanded collaboration will strengthen our ability to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and underserved members of our community, so they can more fully benefit from improved cancer prevention and early detection. This extraordinary gift will allow us, working together with the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation, to make the world a better place.”
Support for MSK Ralph Lauren Center
In addition, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation is strengthening its support of the MSK Ralph Lauren Center in Harlem, New York, with an investment that will help it continue to address cancer health disparities in the community by offering early cancer screening services, high-quality cancer care, and increased access to clinical trials. Founded in 2003 alongside Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the MSK Ralph Lauren Center serves as a clinical and operational model for high-quality, compassionate, and culturally sensitive care and strives to reduce health disparities, as well as improve outcomes for the Harlem community and surrounding neighborhoods.
Craig B. Thompson, MD
Harold Freeman, MD
“We are grateful to the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation for its long-standing support of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s mission, which includes ensuring that all people have access to high-quality cancer care and leading-edge clinical trials,” said Craig B. Thompson, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “For nearly 20 years, the MSK Ralph Lauren Center has helped to address cancer health disparities throughout Harlem and the greater New York metropolitan area. With this continued support, the MSK Ralph Lauren Center will be well positioned to meet the evolving cancer care needs of this unique community.”
“Ralph’s decades-long commitment has enabled MSK Ralph Lauren Center to create a replicable model that can bring patient navigation to medically underserved communities all across the country,” said Harold Freeman, MD, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of MSK Ralph Lauren Center. “Patient navigation ensures that at the very first indicator of an abnormal finding, and along the entire journey of care, patients are supported by trained navigators working to eliminate any barrier to timely diagnosis and treatment.”
Future Joint Ventures
Looking ahead, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation will collaborate with Conquer Cancer®, the ASCO Foundation. Conquer Cancer is the philanthropic arm of ASCO. The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation and Conquer Cancer will identify three additional NCI-designated cancer centers based on each center’s track record for clinical excellence, community engagement, demonstrated commitment to overcoming health disparities, and comprehensive plan to improve cancer outcomes for the most vulnerable and underserved patients in their communities.
Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO
“We commend the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation for its commitment to increasing access to patient navigation, screenings, and early diagnosis—all of which are needed to address persistent health disparities. We look forward to working with the Foundation as part of our commitment to advancing access to equitable, high-quality cancer care for every person, no matter who they are or where they live,” said Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO, Chief Executive Officer of ASCO and Executive Vice Chair of Conquer Cancer.
The $25 million commitment from the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation advances and aligns with Ralph Lauren Corporation’s ongoing efforts to combat cancer globally by raising awareness and making a difference for communities most in need. Established in 2000, the Pink Pony Fund of the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation supports initiatives that reduce disparities in cancer care, increase prevention programming, and integrate patient navigation into the continuum of care. Pink Pony initially focused on supporting breast cancer programs and has since broadened its efforts to encompass all types of cancers. Throughout the years, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation has directly funded grantees dedicated to providing critical services and quality cancer care to tens of thousands of people.
© 2022. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.