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Why Donate to Prevent Cancer Now’s Advocacy Work?

Prevent Cancer Now is a not-for-profit organization. We do not have charitable status because much of our work to get carcinogens out of the environment means we need to advocate to regulators and legislators. The Canada Revenue Agency says that charitable organizations can carry out only a very limited amount of advocacy work. So that we would not compromise our ability to carry out our mission, the Board of Directors of Prevent Cancer Now chose not to pursue charitable status, but to establish a separate, charitable foundation, the Hills of Erin Cancer Prevention Foundation.

Why Donate to the Hills of Erin Cancer Prevention Foundation?

The Hills of Erin Cancer Prevention Foundation was established to raise funds for research, education and community development to support the prevention of cancer. It received its charitable status in February 2010.

As a charitable organization, the Hills of Erin Cancer Prevention Foundation can issue charitable receipts for tax purposes. If you would like a tax receipt, please make your donation here.

About the Hills of Erin Cancer Prevention Foundation

Activities of the Cancer Prevention Foundation
Purpose of the Cancer Prevention Foundation
Projects eligible for funding by the Cancer Prevention Foundation
Examples of charitable activities
Scope of Activities

Activities of the Hills of Erin Foundation

Six years ago, a group of people gathered in a home in the hills of Erin, northwest of Toronto, Ontario. All had been touched by cancer, as most Canadians now are, either directly or through loved ones. Frustrated with the elusive search for a cure, they drew upon their knowledge of the environment to gather information about the links between cancer and our environment. They learned about clusters of cancers, centred around geographic locations or places and types of work. The group recognized the need for an organization that focused solely on cancer prevention, specifically environmental or occupational causes of cancer. In 2007, they formed “Prevent Cancer Now!”. Founding directors were Liz Armstrong, Guy Dauncey and Elizabeth May.

After almost two years of operation, the group realized that, while it could play an important role in eliminating the preventable causes of cancer, its lack of charitable status hampered its ability to raise funds and support broader education and research into cancer prevention. As such, the board of directors of Prevent Cancer Now and other interested individuals decided to form a charitable foundation, whose aim is to fund research, education and community development to support the prevention of cancer. Forming a separate foundation allows the group to reach out to other organizations involved in cancer prevention and fund their worthy projects, giving it a broad scope of understanding of cancer prevention initiatives across Canada.

Currently, only two per cent of cancer research is devoted to primary prevention. The Foundation hopes to raise the profile of, and funding for, cancer prevention such that it receives equal footing with cancer detection, treatment and support. It also promotes action on cancer prevention, based on the current knowledge we have about carcinogens. The Foundation plans to do this by raising and distributing funds on its own, and in partnership with qualified donees. In some cases, the Foundation will enter into partnerships with other organizations to fund and promote prevention activities. In such cases, the Foundation will maintain control of the funds through agency agreements.

Purpose of the Hills of Erin Cancer Prevention Foundation

The Hills of Erin Cancer Prevention Foundation was established to:

  • Prevent sickness and disability, specifically cancers of all kinds, caused by exposure to environmental or occupational carcinogens and contaminants.
  • Advance education and increase public understanding regarding carcinogens and contaminants in the environment by delivering public workshops and seminars.
  • Conduct and/or publish research into safe alternatives to carcinogens and contaminants in consumer products.

The Foundation will determine which activities it wishes to carry out, and arrange for them to be conducted through agency agreements with qualified organizations, including Prevent Cancer Now.

Projects eligible for funding by the Cancer Prevention Foundation

Projects hoping to receive funding from the Hills of Erin Cancer Prevention Foundation will need to meet specific criteria established by the Board, including:

  • Projects must focus on cancer-causing agents not being addressed by other organizations, as demonstrated by the applicant.
  • Projects must have a national focus, or address an issue that affects Canadians nationally. Local projects will be considered if they have applicability outside their geographic area, or could serve as a pilot or development project for broader application.
  • Projects may focus on education or research.

Examples of activities that will meet our charitable aims are outlined below:

1. Education – The first step to preventing illness is understanding its source. While existing cancer organizations promote individual behaviour changes, such as smoking cessation, a healthy diet and exercise to prevent cancer, there are wide-ranging sources of carcinogens that most of the public is unaware of. To meet our first aim, to prevent sickness and disability, we plan to provide people with the information they need to avoid carcinogens where they live, work and play. Using the principles of population health, which addresses the health of large groups of people rather than that of individuals, we plan to support initiatives and organizations that reach people with clear messages and programs on how to reduce carcinogens in the environment. For example, personal care products, such as soap, shampoo, deodorant and cosmetics continue to be formulated in Canada with known or suspected carcinogens. Efforts will be supported to make people aware of safer alternatives, and to encourage companies to change formulations to substitute safer alternatives.

This will be done through grants to organizations that:

  • conduct public forums, conferences and workshops
  • promote reliable, credible information through websites, newsletters, the media and other electronic, print and face-to-face communications vehicles
  • make such information available to all members of the public, free of charge
  • engage individuals and community groups to raise awareness of carcinogens in the environment.

2. Research safe alternatives to carcinogens – The Foundation will fund research into safe alternatives to existing products; for example, processes that use natural products to eliminate lice on children, as opposed to the carcinogenic products (lindane) currently in use. Groups and individuals interested in pursuing such research will be invited to submit proposals to the Foundation, through the public process outlined in Appendix A. As noted, the call for proposals will include postings on the Foundation’s website, requests for posting on the websites of related NGO’s, and requests for proposals disseminated through electronic listservs and other means to reach interested groups and individuals. The Foundation’s scientific advisory committee will review proposals and make recommendations to the Board for the allocation of resources to deserving candidates.

Scope of Activities

The Hills of Erin Cancer Prevention Foundation will operate at a national level, accepting proposals for funding from organizations across Canada, which benefit people across Canada. As noted above, local projects will be considered if they have applicability outside their geographic area, or could serve as a pilot or development project for broader application.

All Canadians will benefit from an environment free of toxins. The Foundation may, from time to time, identify particular populations that are more vulnerable and may require a greater focus of effort. For example, the social determinants of health approach confirms that the greatest influences on a person’s health status is not genetics or the availability of health care; rather it is income level, education, housing, social supports and family structure, and working conditions. Chief among these is poverty. When addressing cancer, we know that poor people are more exposed to toxins in their environment than their wealthier neighbours, both where they work and live . Certain cities, such as Windsor and Sarnia, have a higher level of toxins in the environment than others. Based on data that identifies vulnerable populations, the Foundation may choose to focus on particular groups at various times.