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Welcome to the next installment in our “Who Gives a Chip?” series, which celebrates the everyday heroes in our community.  Their passion, and commitment to ‘giving a chip,’ inspires us, and we hope it will do the same for you.

When Norma Logan’s friend, Terri Brodeur, lost her battle with breast cancer, she and her long-time friend and fellow fundraiser, Sandy Maniscalco started the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation.  The women were frustrated by the lack of funds directed towards breast cancer research as opposed to awareness and organization overheard.  Norma and Sandy decided to start their own non-profit to help fund research.  Now, the TBBCF donates 100% of gross funds raised to breast cancer research.

Sandy Maniscalco and her husband at a fundraising event for Pam's Pink Posse, a TBBCF team!

Sandy Maniscalco and her husband at a fundraising event for Pam’s Pink Posse, a TBBCF team!

We had the opportunity to speak with Sandy Maniscalco about the TBBCF.

What inspired you to start TBBCF and to create an organization that is structured the way yours is?

Numerous organizations have been founded to raise money for breast cancer research and awareness. Success in raising awareness is evidenced by pink ribbons on car bumpers and special promotions in retail stores. However, monies directed toward awareness are also monies that are not being funneled to scientists who are identifying the keys that will unlock the mysteries of this disease. Additionally, all current fundraising organizations have overhead costs that divert even more money from research. It is essential that funds shift in favor of research. Compounding this competition for research dollars is an ongoing reduction in NIH (National Institute of Health) funding.

To help address these issues, in 2005, my friend, Norma Logan (1958-2006) recruited me to help her found the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation (TBBCF). Her desire to establish a non-profit organization was from frustration at seeing successful fundraising efforts being diverted from research to cover organizational overhead. For example, between 2004 and 2005 Norma led a small group of individuals in raising $200,000 for an internationally renowned breast cancer foundation’s sponsorship of a three day walk. Upon investigating the financials of the 3-Day event, it was determined that 40% of all money raised went to overhead. Of the $200,000 raised by Norma’s group, $80,000 never made it to critical programs or research. Determined to address this issue and ensure money was directed at finding a cure, we established this unique non-profit organization, which through sponsorship and volunteerism, is able to direct 100 percent of total gross fundraising efforts to breast cancer research

Do you face any unique challenges as an organization that donates 100% of funds raised to charity?

We do. Given our business model where all donation dollars get directed to breast cancer research, TBBCF’s operating expenses are either covered by sponsorships and/or grants and volunteers. We rely on year-round volunteers to help us carry much of the administrative workload. The Foundation’s success is based on sponsor and volunteer generosity. It is what makes that 100% promise possible.

What kinds of things do you do each day, and how do those things contribute to the organization’s overall goals?

A good deal of my time is devoted to fund development. I also spend a fair amount of time involved in community outreach efforts. We continually try to broaden our reach within our community and beyond. While we have a presence in Southeastern Connecticut, ultimately we hope to broaden our reach in Connecticut and Western Rhode Island. A longer term goal is to have a larger regional presence.

What is the hardest part of what you do?

I would have to say securing sponsor dollars is the most challenging and critical part of the job but especially during those periods when our economy appears to be declining. Volunteer recruitment seems much easier!

What makes it all worth it to you?

Keeping Norma Logan’s Promise: Funding breast cancer research, year after year, without comprising our 100% commitment. As you may know, in the past nine years we have raised over $3M dollars and granted thirty $100,000 grants to up-and-coming researchers. If you visit our website and review the Grant Recipients, you will see that we have been fortunate to pick outstanding candidates who are conducting cutting-edge research and someday will discover better treatments (or a cure) for patients going through breast cancer.

What would you tell someone who is looking to make a difference in their community?

Find something you care deeply about… and if you care deeply about a lot of different things, focus on one and do whatever you can to make a difference.

To learn more about the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation, please visit their website.

P.S. – did you know that the TBBCF is featured on every bag of our Lightly Salted Reduced Fat Kettle Chips?

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