Grantee Stories

The Samfund

Connecting a community at the Sambassadors Retreat in Chicago held in May 2016 (Richard Straesser from GFF on left)

Support for young adult cancer survivors

The Samfund is dedicated to helping young adults recover from the financial impact of cancer. Their financial assistance program has distributed more than $3 million to survivors nationwide since 2005. Grants are awarded to help young adults regain their financial health so that they can live independently and stay healthy after cancer treatment that is often not only physically draining but financially devastating. From their own research, which was published in Cancer Medicine in 2016, the average net worth of grant recipients is -$35,000. Samfund merged with Expect Miracles Foundation in 2019.
 
Samfund programs fill such a vital role because young adults are an overlooked and underserved population that face a unique set of challenges as a result of their stage in life, with few other resources available to them. Samfund grants support young adult cancer survivors in getting their lives and finances back on track.

OUR INITIATIVES 

GFF has been partnering with the Samford since 2014. With two major initiatives, a total of 105 GFF grants to young cancer survivors have been awarded through mid-2021.  

  • The first initiative has been to increase support for survivors of Hodgkins Lymphoma, a blood cancer that is most often diagnosed in the early 20’s. With GFF targeted funds, Samfund was able to encourage applicants with Hodgkins Lymphoma to apply and expanded awards to them each year.  Awards have covered diverse needs including car payments, car repairs, student loan payments, mortgage or rent payments, medical debt and untreated dental work. Whatever the specifics, recipients share a sense of burdens lifted from their shoulders and a great sense of relief. 

 

  • Then with the onset of the COVID pandemic, GFF approached Samfund with the idea to launch a new Emergency Fund to help young survivors of all cancers remain in their homes. GFF provided the lead gift and continued support for a rapid response fund to help survivors with the additional financial burdens caused by the pandemic. Helping to keep a roof over the heads of young cancer survivors and their families has been some of our most important work during COVID. 

We are incredibly grateful for the Graham Family Foundation's partnership and support over the past seven years. In that time, Dorothy and Rich have transcended the typical role of a funder and become active partners, not only helping to support our young adult cancer survivor community but also helping us make our grants program more efficient.

They are unique in their ability to create meaningful dialogue and make strategic recommendations while recognizing the bandwidth of a small organization and providing the resources necessary to accomplish our goals. They are thoroughly committed to reducing disparities in healthcare and removing barriers to access, and have helped us address both of these issues more effectively.

Both Dorothy and Rich have made a tremendous and meaningful difference in our organization as well as the lives of the people we've been able to help because of them.

- Samantha Watson, Founder and Managing Director of Stewardship
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In direct grants to young adult cancer survivors to date.

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Grants for Hodgkins Lymphoma survivors from 2014-2019.

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Emergency COVID grants in 2020-21 for survivors of all cancers.

The 2015 Graham Family Foundation Award
The 2015 Graham Family Foundation Awardthesamfund.org
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This year, thanks to a generous donation by The Graham Family Foundation, we are proud to honor these three amazing young adults survivors of Hodgkin’s lymphoma with the first ever Graham Family Foundation Grants:
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Cancer Isn't Free
Cancer Isn't FreeThe Samfund Brochure
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The Samfund is the only non-profit in the United States designed to help young adults recover from the devastating financial impact of cancer treatment. We offer direct financial assistance and free online support and education through our Webinar series “Moving Forward with Your Financial Health.” It’s our goal and our privilege to help young adult survivors move forward toward their personal, professional and educational goals.
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Samfund COVID-19 Emergency Fund
Samfund COVID-19 Emergency Fund
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“Thank you to the Graham Family Foundation for their leadership gift of $25,000! As Dorothy Graham and Richard Straesser of the Graham Family Foundation recall, “As soon as the scope of the COVID pandemic began to emerge, we called Sam and asked if she had thought about emergency grants to keep young adults in their homes. We knew that Samfund grant recipients were especially vulnerable to the double health and economic risks of the pandemic.”
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Hodgkins Lymphoma Grant Testimonials

2020 COVID Emergency Housing Grant Testimonials

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Samfund COVID Emergency Fund Impact