Dialog Box


Cure Brain Cancer Foundation CEO response to misleading claims about costs

Michelle Stewart, CEO, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation

When you donate to Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, you are contributing to the most efficient, fastest, and effective possible way of finding a cure for the disease.

In the last year, you have helped fund the biggest brain research push in Australian history with more than 62 cents in every dollar you donate being directly invested into the cause, which is world-class research, advocacy and awareness. As you can see from this infographic, it is having a huge impact.


We work hard to keep our independently reviewed administration costs low, at just 15 per cent – not 65 per cent, as has been implied. And while there are also costs associated with our fundraising, every dollar invested in this endevour generates four dollars for the brain cancer cause. Keeping costs low means more money can be put into research, advocacy and awareness, and we are proud of what has been achieved with your support in the last 12 months.

More importantly, your donations help Cure Brain Cancer Foundation make significant and constant improvements to a system that that has failed to increase brain cancer survival in more than 30 years. This would not have been possible by funding research alone.

Our investment in advocacy and awareness has resulted in a Government-backed $100 million national plan to double brain cancer survival in ten years. I am proud the Foundation has delivered such a significant return on our donors’ money, and Australia now leads a consolidated global effort to beat brain cancer.

Our administration costs are down, year-on-year, and far from aiming to grow, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation’s ultimate goal is to be out of business as quickly as possible by finding a cure for brain cancer, regardless of cost. 

That’s why we have invested more than $13 million into world-class research over the last five years to provide Australians with access to quality treatments as soon as they are available anywhere in the world.

Every day, five Australians are diagnosed with brain cancer. For those people, months, even weeks, can mean the difference between life and death. We owe it to them to devote all resources necessary to find a cure as fast as possible.

Whether that’s lobbying government, encouraging pharmaceutical companies to focus on brain cancer, funding international research collaborations, or backing fundraising campaigns to generate more funds for research, we must do it, if it will lead to increased survival.

Brain cancer is finally a national priority. There is now a Government-backed plan to rapidly beat brain cancer, and we must work together as a team to ensure it succeeds, rather than competing.

We must unite with one strong voice and continue to raise funds, advocate, and increase awareness, so we can rapidly improve survival outcomes for Australians with brain cancer.

Brain cancer is a global problem that requires a global solution. We know that we are unlikely to find a cure by working alone, so our strategy deliberately focuses on collaboration, across multiple disciplines, to expedite breakthroughs. In the year ahead we will continue to work with many like-minded individuals and organisations across the world to find a cure. 

Thank you for your incredible and continued support.

Michelle Stewart,
CEO, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation


More about the impact of your donation

Five years ago, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation took a strategic decision to do things differently - think laterally and drive more rapid breakthroughs. Since then, our impact has grown stronger every year. Less than a decade ago, we raised about $1 million a year and funded a single lab based in NSW. But since developing our strategy and launching our mission in 2013, our level of collective impact has increased significantly.

Since then, we have supported 34 research projects and formed an independent committee of leading researchers who ensure we only fund quality research that is most likely to improve brain cancer survival. This has only been possible thanks to your support, which has enabled a strong focus on research, advocacy and awareness, fundraising, and good governance and administration.

Naturally, and aligned with our strategy, our greatest investment was in research, with 44% of funds going to world-class projects to rapidly increase survival. We invest in smarter solutions that expedite breakthroughs more than traditional research methods and work collaboratively across disciplines, teams, and borders, locally and globally. We also encourage, catalyse and seed fund new research initiatives.

Investing in advocacy and awareness is every bit as important as investing directly into research when it comes to impact and increasing survival. Research is the only way that we will find cures for brain cancer, but our funding alone will not be enough, and we need to encourage others to contribute. By funding advocacy, we moved brain cancer from a “forgotten cancer” to the nation’s number one health priority through the Australian Brain Cancer Mission. Consequently, an additional $100 million over ten years has been committed from Government and the private sector to double survival in ten years.

We invest in fundraising to raise as much money as possible to eradicate this disease, as quickly as possible, so that we can avoid losing a classroom of children and more than 1,000 adults each year to this disease. This year, fundraising represented 23% of funds raised, which allowed us to generate $10 million for the cause. We are proud that every dollar invested in fundraising generates four dollars for our mission. Fundraising costs include our events, which brought together more than 20,000 people from around Australia, who raised much needed awareness and funds. Events provide an important opportunity for the community to come together, build connections, and physically join the brain cancer movement.

We work hard to keep our administration costs low, with only 15% of funds raised in the 2017 financial year spent on administration, which is consistent with previous years. Administration is important, as it allows us to maintain good governance, including having our financials externally audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers and having an independent scientific advisory board. It helps us ensure that your hard-earned funds are invested in world-class projects that will increase survival as quickly as possible. The administration function includes the costs of running charity operations, such as
finance, human resources, facilities management, technology, compliance, training, planning, evaluation, internal systems and risk management.

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