Be Fearless Spotlight: 3 Lessons Learned About Building A Kinder + Braver World

This Spotlight is a part of a special blog series curated by the Case Foundation featuring Be Fearless stories from the field. Follow along with us as we meet people and learn about organizations that are taking risks, being bold and failing forward in their efforts to create transformative change in the social sector. This Spotlight is authored by Maya Enista (@MEnista), Executive Director of the Born This Way Foundation.

Five years ago this month, Born This Way Foundation launched with the opening of a dialogue. At an event hosted at Harvard University, our co-founders Lady Gaga and her mom Cynthia Germanotta were joined by researchers, educators, experts, parents and—most importantly—young people. There, we unveiled our ambitious plans for an organization that would work online, in communities and in schools to harness and support the power of young people to build a kinder and braver world.

Four years ago last month, I first became a parent (a title I’ve earned twice over now) and in my role as a parent and as Executive Director of Born This Way Foundation, I am grateful for our commitment to building a kinder and braver world. I spend a lot of my time away from my children (as I am now, headed to Los Angeles for our first ever Kind Monsters EDU convening in partnership with Monster High) and I’m hopeful that in a few years they’ll be able to quote more than Lady Gaga lyrics when they are asked about the work that I do. I’ve learned some things about taking risks, being bold and failing forward—in parenting and at Born This Way Foundation—that I’m honored to share with the Be Fearless team, the young people that the foundation works with each day and my own children in the hope that these lessons learned will help others own their own fearless journey to create positive change in the world.

Lesson #1: Kindness Isn’t Just Nice, It’s Necessary

Kindness can seem like a quaint idea, but a growing body of research shows that it is fundamental to well-functioning communities and healthy, productive individuals. Acts of kindness are good for those performing them as well as those on the receiving end. And, in turn, encouraging stronger norms of kindness build the sorts of communities we all want to live and raise our children in.

This belief that kindness is not just “nice” but necessary has informed every aspect of our work. It’s why we’ve launched programs such as Channel Kindness, which is recruiting young people around the country to document acts of kindness in their communities. It is also why we’ve worked with our Research Advisory Board, chaired by Dr. Susan Swearer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, to develop metrics to measure kindness and bravery and incorporated those into the Foundation’s Born Brave Experience Studies.

Lesson #2: Dare To Be Honest—and Be Brave Enough To Be Vulnerable

 A core component of Born This Way Foundation’s work has always been encouraging young people (and everyone else!) to share their story. We know this isn’t always easy and often requires its own measure of fearlessness, but it can be a deeply powerful exercise. Our co-founder Cynthia saw this potential firsthand when her daughter began touring. On stage, Lady Gaga would share her story—speaking openly about her experiences with bullying, loneliness, anxiety and depression. This honesty was healing for her, but it left an impact on the young people listening… who began to share their own stories.

At Born This Way Foundation, we’ve seen the healing, comfort and inspiration that can take root when someone is brave enough to share their story. It can release pent up emotions that have been allowed to fester. It can foster connection—with close friends or complete strangers. It can change minds, tear down stigma and erase shame. And all it takes is being brave enough to be vulnerable.

Lesson #3: The Mind is as Important as the Body

Raising healthy kids can’t just mean protecting them from disease or physical harm. In order for children to flourish, they need resources to ensure their mental wellbeing and the development of strong social and emotional skills. These are the factors that will govern their ability to cope with adversity and interact productively with teachers, employers, friends and family members—ultimately shaping their long-term wellbeing and success.

That’s why Born This Way Foundation has made a point of reaching beyond our bubble and working with dozens of partner organizations to reshape the way we view of how to educate and raise healthy kids, advocating for a model that takes the whole child into account. This is no simple task, but it starts by putting resources behind their mental and emotional wellbeing and fostering positive school climates that serve as safe, welcoming places to learn.   

Feeling inspired? If you’re ready to begin your own Be Fearless journey start by downloading the Case Foundation’s free Be Fearless Action Guide and Case Studies.

Be Fearless Spotlight: Crossing the Canyon for Brain Cancer Research

This Spotlight is a part of a special blog series by the Case Foundation featuring Be Fearless stories from the field. Follow along with us as we meet people and learn about organizations that are taking risks, being bold and failing forward in their efforts to create transformative change in the social sector. This Spotlight is authored by Nicola (Nike) Beddow, Director of Communications and Partnerships at Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2). ABCis a current grantee of the Case Foundation and partners with leading entrepreneurs, scientists and researchers to drive cutting edge research and treatments to find a cure for brain cancer. On October 11, 2016, Beddow hiked the Grand Canyon, rim to rim, with the 3000 Miles To A Cure team. Her story below originally appeared on the ABC2 blog, and exemplifies the organization’s commitment to living the Be Fearless principles. 

The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Its breathtaking rock layers tell our planet’s history. Over five million people a year visit this spectacular and twisted carving in the earth. They come to the Canyon to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones in their lives. For a group of 18 hikers, including myself, we crossed the Canyon, rim to rim in one day, for brain cancer research. Some of us ran it, most of us hiked it, all of us successfully completed the crossing with a renewed sense of purpose and hope (despite a few blisters and varying levels of physical exhaustion!)

“We have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknown river to explore,” said John Wesley Powell, an American naturalist who led a geographic expedition to explore the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon in 1869.

Fortunately, we knew a lot more than Powell when we began our descent into darkness at 5 am from the North Rim. We all had trained for the 23.5 mile hike that crosses the Colorado River, but trust me, there were still a lot of unknowns. First and foremost: Would our group make it out unscathed? Trail signs warned us, “Down is optional; Up is Mandatory.” Over 250 people have to be rescued from the Canyon each year.

Crossing the Canyon for Brain Cancer Research team pose for a photo at 5 am before they start their descent into the Canyon from the North Rim.

I was eager to start this journey. I didn’t think about whether or not I could make it—I had to make it, there was no other option. I wanted to honor the tenacity and grit of my sister Dana who died of brain cancer at the age of 31. I wanted to share stories of Dana’s life and legacy with her daughter Kati. I wanted to dedicate stretches of my hike to friends in the brain tumor community who have faced this hideous disease and have inspired others. I wanted to raise critical research dollars to help 3000 Miles to a Cure and ABC2 (Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure) speed new treatments for brain cancer patients.

Crossing the Colorado River.

Twelve hours after we began hiking, the last few steps out of the Grand Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail were exhilarating and bittersweet. Thirty years ago, when my sister Dana and I were in our early 20’s, we took a trip out West to visit the Grand Canyon. After a fun night of camping on the South Rim, the next morning we decided to just hike the Bright Angel Trail…no water, no preparation, nothing! The trek seemed easy for a while, until we got to Plateau Point and realized we had to climb all the way back up before sunset. I was on the verge of heatstroke and Dana was begging other hikers for water. Yes, we were idiots. We trudged our way back up in time and laughed at our foolish attempt to be cool hiker girls. We promised we would return to the Canyon one day. Sadly, that never happened. I miss my sister. I’m sure she was with me in spirit (and she probably made the last few miles even harder just to kick my behind!)

Nike with her sister Dana (left) and their friend Lee (right) at the Grand Canyon in 1986.

I am grateful to Maria and Lucia Parker from 3000 Miles to a Cure for leading this expedition and introducing me to so many passionate and committed individuals, including the amazing team at Primacy. Primacy is a digital agency that is developing an innovative virtual reality platform for cause-driven organizations like 3000 Miles to A Cure and ABC2 to share our missions and tell our real-life stories in more compelling ways. They shot 360 degree video in the Canyon and interviewed a number of us. As the project develops, I’ll be providing updates.

The Crossing the Canyon 2016 team.

I will forever carry street cred that I crossed the Grand Canyon, Rim to Rim! Most importantly, I’ll carry with me the conversations I had with my fellow hikers who had lost someone to this hideous disease or that had encountered other struggles in their lives, but found hope and healing through this communal experience.

Feeling inspired? If you’re ready to begin your own Be Fearless journey start by downloading our free Be Fearless Action Guide and Case Studies.

Be Fearless Spotlight: Ashoka

This Spotlight is a part of a special blog series by the Case Foundation featuring Be Fearless stories from the field. Follow along with us as we meet people and learn about organizations that are taking risks, being bold and failing forward in their efforts to create transformative change in the social sector. This Spotlight is authored by Laxmi Parthasarathy (@laxmisarathy), Director of Global Media and Framework Change Partnerships at Ashoka.

How does a 35-year-old organization stay nimble, innovate and create meaningful change? By setting out on an audacious journey to redefine leadership. Over the last three decades, Ashoka has sparked the dreams of entrepreneurs from around the world and today it continues to be a fearless trailblazer by making big bets focused on helping society see that the world has shifted from patterns of repetition to a world defined by change. The organization is currently advancing a new model for leadership in “framework change”—changing individual mindsets at a large scale and ultimately changing behaviors or norms across society as a whole. As our founder, Bill Drayton notes, Ashoka’s role is to ensure that this change is for the good of all.

From Fellows to Framework Change

In the early 1980s, Ashoka set out to ensure that social entrepreneurship would be studied in universities, would become a common model for philanthropy and would eventually become a new norm for the civil society sector. The program proved to be successful and Ashoka is well-known around the world for its robust Fellowship program that includes more than 3,000 Fellows from 89 countries. We could have stopped there—satisfied with the impact of this program, but we took pause to assess our potential for impact. We knew there was even more that we could do as an organization and network. Today, we are advancing a new framework change. We are helping society envision that more people than ever before can contribute to change. An integral part of this work is ensuring that generations of young people develop cognitive empathy-based ethics and practice the skills of leadership, teamwork and changemaking.

This shift, even for an organization that specializes in identifying, nurturing and supporting changemaking, was not easy, and we have learned a few lessons along the way.

Lesson #1: Building a decentralized, but integrated organization

Electing Fellows in 89 countries and operating offices in more than 30 cities required a shift in Ashoka’s own internal leadership and organizational structure from solo entrepreneurship to collaborative entrepreneurship. Driven by the urgency to ensure another generation of young people would not grow up without being prepared for the 21st century, my colleagues and I took a courageous step to shake things up and build what we called the “Ashoka hub structure.” Rather than opening more country offices and increasing operating costs, Ashoka began to hire framework change leaders in five regional hubs to ensure that our focus was on an integrated global goal. This shift in our structure caused some unease within the organization as it was different from anything we had done before, but ultimately, the organization’s leadership encouraged the urgency of our work to conquer the fear of something new.

Lesson #2: Leading from the middle

It was important to start implementing changes from the middle of the organization to ensure that our vision ‘Everyone a Changemaker’ was not just a slogan, but rather an ethos. Working with staff other than leadership was integral, as they would be the ones to experiment, implement and authentically lead the uptake of new ideas in the organization. Ashoka has always hired highly entrepreneurial staff—we ask tough questions, challenge the status quo and are keen to experiment—so trusting our colleagues to help guide this organizational shift was a natural progression for an organization of changemakers. For example, staff in various regions understood how to incorporate cultural context, local partnerships and leverage existing programs in their own unique ways.

Lesson #3: Team of teams collaboration

For many years, Ashoka’s focus was on supporting systems-changing social entrepreneurs (Ashoka Fellows). Thousands of Fellows later, the insights we have gained and the collaborations we have launched are what position our network to focus on framework change.

Ensuring that cognitive empathy-based ethics are recognized as critical for navigating today’s world defined by rapid change, we brought together a group of Ashoka Fellows who had this expertise and who had been working with children and young people for many years. We didn’t stop there; we began to find, elect and connect a new community of change leaders within primary and elementary schools around the world, branding them as Changemaker Schools. This was one of the most profound and significant changes to the core business of our organization. Along with natural self-doubt about whether we were on the right path, many would ask what business we had working in education. We knew, however, that our commitment to our big bet and the collaborators we were bringing together would propel us forward as we continued experimenting, learning from failure and refining our processes.

As our founder, Bill Drayton says, “a team is not a team unless everyone is an initiatory player.” We had a clear methodology for spreading the idea of social entrepreneurship and are applying this again. We are collaborating with Ashoka Fellows, corporations, media, entrepreneurs and a new community of educators as our “team of teams.” A team of teams structure meant breaking down silos between programs within Ashoka and recognizing that every new project ahead would require a new set of team members—staff and partners—with unique contributions to make along the way.

Managing to redefine an organization’s leadership in the social sector required creativity, an entrepreneurial spirit, empathy and distributed leadership; however, Ashoka’s methodology used to strategically tip the idea of social entrepreneurship provided the foundation and courage to Be Fearless.

Be Fearless Spotlight: Mama Hope

This Spotlight is a part of a special blog series by the Case Foundation featuring Be Fearless stories from the field. Follow along with us as we meet people and learn about organizations that are taking risks, being bold and failing forward in their efforts to create transformative change in the social sector. This Spotlight is authored by Katrina Boratko, Communications Manager at Mama Hope.

Mama Hope was built from love. In 2006, our founder Nyla suddenly lost the person closest to her in the world—her mother Stephanie. While she was ill, Stephanie and Nyla made plans to travel to Kenya and meet a young man she had helped sponsor through school and corresponded with since he was a boy. Unfortunately, Stephanie was never able to make that trip; but in a twist of fate Nyla was posted in a United Nations placement near to his village soon after her mother’s death. When she arrived, Nyla was greeted by the whole community singing Amazing Grace and holding a service for her mother. As it turns out, Stephanie had done more than just sponsor one boy. She had been holding small fundraisers in the living rooms of her Marin, CA, friend’s homes to help support a women’s business group in the community. Nyla learned that the humble investment she made from afar had truly transformed the lives of the women, their families and the whole community.

When the money Stephanie raised was put into the right hands, a small investment made a huge impact, the likes of which Nyla hadn’t seen working at government organizations and multinational NGOs. That day she learned the first rule of Mama Hope: the communities we work with know what they need and our biggest job is to listen. Nyla decided to take her love for her mother and build an organization that listens—Mama Hope. Love is the common connection that runs through everything we do; from our partnerships to our Global Advocates to our Stop the Pity campaign. To us, to Be Fearless is to choose love over fear, disconnection, apathy and hate.

Working from a place of love comes with its own unique set of risks. Every day we make huge bets on the power of connection and the value of human capital. We believe that every human has the capacity to become a global leader, regardless of his or her birth—and we treat everyone in our sphere according to that belief. When Mama Hope connects with a community leader, our first questions are: “What is your vision?” and “How can we support you in achieving your goals?” We then align our team and resources. We have built a relationship of mutual trust and true respect with all of our partners, and we credit this relationship for all of our successes.

In 2011, we experimented with a new approach to scale the reach and impact of the program—we introduced a Global Advocate Program (GAP). The GAP is a rigorous nine-month training program for social entrepreneurs. Our Advocates each commit to raising at least $20,000 for a sustainable project initiated by one of our partner communities, and they travel to the field to live and work directly with our partners to help bring the projects to life. We take a risk with every Advocate we train—investing money, training and staff time into an individual with the expectation that they will rise to the fundraising challenge and open their hearts to our partners. This risk has reaped massive rewards: since 2011, we’ve worked with 64 Advocates who have raised over $1.3M to fund over 60 projects that, working in tandem with local experts, employing local builders and using local resources, have improved the health, education, food, water security and livelihoods of over 150,000 people in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Guatemala.

We are not building projects that will only help people get from one day the next, but that will help our partner communities thrive for generations. And beyond the impact numbers above, there is a much deeper ripple effect in communities that grounds our work and was brought to life in a fabulous chalkboard drawing by a staff member in our Queen Elizabeth Academy (QEA) partnership in Mlali, Tanzania.

MamaHope Inline photo

“Our benefits aren’t easily seen right now, like they would be if someone came and said “here, take these clothes” or “take this money”, and you took them. We don’t give things out like this because our primary focus is giving education to these children. Later, they will be employed and they will return that benefit here, just like Kilines (the founder & director of QEA) did. She wanted to help her own community. The benefits of her education have returned home, and many people have felt them. And when these children study with the education that they get here, later when they find work they will also return that benefit home. One might start a health center, another might start some kind of industry and employ many people, another might start something else. You can’t do this without education. This school is producing something with benefits that will last from generation to generation.”

Mama Hope’s goal is to eliminate global poverty through inclusive entrepreneurship and by creating a global network of organizations bound by collaboration. We think that many organizations and companies are too restricted by their silos: nonprofit, for-profit, brands, media, grassroots, multi-national and community-based. We believe that we will see true change in this world when we all reach beyond our bubbles and work together across cultures, borders, profit margins and mission statements. We believe that when we focus on what makes us similar over what makes us different and hold each other’s dignity in the highest regard, we can shake off the ropes of competition and ego that hold us back. We believe in the power of an individual to change the world, and we believe every person can—and must—in order for us to rebuild a thriving planet. We believe that all of this is only possible if we are fearless with our love.

Feeling inspired? If you’re ready to begin your own Be Fearless journey start by downloading our free Be Fearless Action Guide and Case Studies.

June: Turning Interest Into Action

Awareness raising. Relationship building. Network development. Experimentation. Tipping point. Sustained action. That is the anatomy of a movement. At the Case Foundation, we aim to be movement catalyzers around social innovation. Right now we are focused on driving two major movements—impact investing and inclusive entrepreneurship. And we are intent on bringing a Be Fearless approach tipping the scales from good intention to meaningful action that can change the world. Over the next several months, we are going to highlight the key phases of movement catalyzing and our associated work in those areas. This month we are highlighting the importance of turning interest into action and recognizing the need to be intentional about doing so in our own programs.

Over the next few weeks, Jean and Steve Case and members of the team will be traveling from coast to coast and participating in various events that demonstrate the power and potential of turning interest into action. In some cases, we will be the ones encouraging and educating others in service of catalyzing our core movement areas, while in other cases we will be the ones learning and open to taking action ourselves.

Here are some of the action-oriented events we are participating in this month:

National Geographic Explorers Week, June 13-17
National Geographic was one of America’s earliest social enterprises, established in 1888 with the mission to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge. During this year’s National Geographic Explorers Week, we’ll have the opportunity to hear some of the world’s leading scientists, conservationists and explorers as they come together to connect and share the ways they are disrupting the status quo and using storytelling as a vehicle for turning interest into action that changes, maybe even saves, the world as we know it.

Forward Cities, June 14-17
Entrepreneurs, at their core, are problem solvers. And we believe that the most powerful entrepreneurs work to solve problems they’re personally connected to. That’s just one of the reasons we need a diverse set of voices and entrepreneurs at the table if we want to solve today’s most pressing social challenges. We’ll be on the ground in Cleveland, OH, at the final city convening of Forward Cities, hearing directly from local entrepreneurs who are helping to revitalize their city—one startup at a time. In so doing, they are part of a four-city cohort that aims to identify innovative solutions and share them as part of a larger effort to develop local leadership and foster a network of inclusive entrepreneurship.

MCON/The Millennial Impact Project, June 21-23
Over the past six years, our investment in the Millennial Impact Project has resulted in one of the largest bodies of research on the Millennial generation to date and one of the nation’s leading convenings on next gen engagement called MCON (also known as the Millennial Engagement Conference). Each year, the report and convening have revealed powerful insights into how this generation gives, gets engaged and connects with social causes. Later this month, we’ll be releasing preliminary findings from this year’s research and hosting MCON in our own backyard at the National Geographic campus in Washington, DC. Speakers including Chef José Andrés, DeRay Mckesson, Jay Newton-Small and our very own Jean Case will take the stage with a focus on turning that interest into action and finding creative solutions for social issues. There’s still time to get your ticket and join us!

Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2016, June 22-24
At the Case Foundation, we believe in the power of entrepreneurship to tackle global challenges. For this reason, we are so excited to take part in GES 2016, a convening of the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs, investors and policymakers who are putting their belief that business and innovation will drive economic growth and social well-being into action. Our CEO Jean Case and our Chairman Steve Case will both take the stage, celebrating the role that entrepreneurs around the globe (and the investors who believe in them) play in creating real, transformative impact, in driving innovation and in solving some of the world’s biggest challenges.

Aspen Ideas Festival, June 23-July 2
From innovations in science and technology to new models in early childhood education, many great ideas have been hatched and grown at the Aspen Ideas Festival throughout the years. This year, we’re excited to have our CEO Jean Case take part in a session on courageous philanthropy. She’ll be joined by Carrie Penner of the Walton Foundation and Ann Limberg of Bank of America, sharing opportunities to apply the Be Fearless principles to move interest in risk-taking, experimentation and making big bets to action in the philanthropic sector.

In addition to sharing highlights from these events, throughout the month of June we’ll be showcasing organizations and leaders who exemplify the ideals of turning interest into action for our community. We see this as a great learning opportunity and hope you will share your own experiences or best practices around the conversion of interest into action. Join us in person at one of these events, or share your thoughts with us via social media using @CaseFoundation and #Interest2Action on Twitter.

Be Fearless Spotlight: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

This Spotlight is a part of a special blog series by the Case Foundation featuring Be Fearless stories from the field. Follow along with us as we meet people and learn about organizations that are taking risks, being bold and failing forward in their efforts to create transformative change in the social sector. This Spotlight is authored by Karabi Acharya (@KarabiGlobal), Director of Global Ideas for U.S. Solutions at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Being fearless means imagining the “impossible.” Martin Luther King, Jr. asked us to imagine the impossible when he asked for a world where his children would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. Harriet Tubman, the slavery abolitionist, spoke about how her capacity to imagine the impossible guided her in her fight, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” And Anne Kronenberg—Harvey Milk’s campaign manager—has said of the gay rights leader, “He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us.” Imagining a different world is the first step toward building a different world.

My colleagues at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and I ask ourselves every day to imagine something that some may believe is out of reach: a Culture of Health in this country. In a Culture of Health, being as healthy as you can be is part of everything we do as a society. In a Culture of Health, we define being healthy as more than not being sick. And, in a Culture of Health, we support practices and policies that address the excessive influence that income, education, ethnicity and even a zip code has on Americans’ health and wellbeing. We don’t think we can do it alone—so we’re asking others to join us—and we are not adhering to a rigid blueprint to guide us. Instead, we are allowing ourselves to be open to emerging strategies that we discover along our path to ensuring everyone is able to live the healthiest life possible.

It’s a shift for us. We’re moving away from the traditional 18-month strategic planning process and toward the belief that the strategies to achieve our vision will emerge as we proceed—fearlessly. This new, fearless direction—reflected in the Case Foundation’s Be Fearless principles—is a decision to not just reach beyond our bubble, but to burst it wide open. As one of the largest foundations in the U.S. and the largest dedicated to domestic health, we’re often encouraged to speak up and lead. But we’re putting ourselves in rooms with people and organizations that have no idea who we are and building unlikely partnerships, where our only purpose is to listen and learn.

My work at RWJF is to lead a team of colleagues to identify and learn from countries around the globe that have already achieved or are making notable progress toward building a Culture of Health. We’re looking at countries that have stopped defining health as simply not being sick—and the policies and practices reflect this knowledge. We’re looking at higher-income countries like Denmark, where primary care physicians actively coordinate the care of their patients, and a sophisticated electronic health record (EHR) system contributes to this effective coordination, as well as better outcomes and improved quality. We’re looking at countries like Wales where data and collaboration are serving as effective deterrents to violence. We’re looking at the Netherlands to see what they are doing in response to the link between climate change and health equity. We’re looking at Singapore, where they are better positioned to contend with an aging population than we are by acknowledging it, experiencing the consequences and making efforts to mitigate them. And we’re looking at middle- and lower-income countries as well. We’re looking at Cuba, for example, where the emphasis on prevention and primary care, community-level clinics and a low physician-patient ratio leads to outcomes that rival most high-income countries, including our own.

We understand that innovation happens at intersections, and we aren’t going it alone. We’re learning from the successes and failures of others, and finding the best and most innovative solutions.

But it’s much more than looking for powerful models or best practices that we can bring to the U.S. Actively learning from other countries unleashes our collective imagination. It provides us—and our partners—with the inspiration we need to make our way along the difficult and long path toward the kind of world in which we want to live. We can better imagine what a Culture of Health will look like by seeing it in practice.

An Invitation to Be Fearless

There are a few ways we hope the Be Fearless community can join us and help us to continue to imagine the possibilities. First, if there’s someone with whom we should be speaking, please let us know. Secondly, if you have stories of ideas or approaches that have come from abroad and taken root, we want to hear them. We believe strongly in the value of a global perspective and want to strengthen this argument by collecting and sharing examples. Thirdly, if there are events that we should be attending in the U.S. or overseas that would expose us to the kinds of ideas we’ve described here or the people we want to meet, please share your recommendations. For all of these, please email us at globalideas@rwjf.org.

Finally, we recently launched our first call for ideas, which is open through May 31, 2016. We are looking for projects, programs and models from other countries that promote a Culture of Health with a commitment to equity. We’re looking for applicants who represent organizations from a wide range of fields and disciplines—both within and outside the health sector. We will support grants from $50,000 up to $250,000 (USD), for up to 18 months. If you have an idea you’d like to share, we encourage you to check out our website for more information.

Feeling inspired? If you’re ready to begin your own Be Fearless journey start by downloading our free Be Fearless Action Guide and Case Studies.

Uniting for Hope One Fearless Step at a Time

Race for Hope Raises $2 Million for Brain Cancer Research and Honors Vice President Joe Biden

 
This past Sunday, 10,000 individuals from across the globe gathered for one purpose—to make a big bet to find and fund a cure for brain cancer. Together they raised $2 million to benefit Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) and the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) at the historic Race for Hope – DC. For nearly 20 years, Race for Hope has rallied individuals and organizations together to fearlessly raise more than $27 million for brain tumor research and honor those affected by the disease.

The need to do so is more urgent than ever before, as there are almost 700,000 people living with a primary brain tumor diagnosis in the U.S., and within the next year, more than 210,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with a primary or metastatic brain tumor.

This year, Vice President Joe Biden was in attendance with his family at the event where they received the Triumph of Spirit Award in memory of his son Beau Biden, who passed away from brain cancer in 2015. The award honors their dedication and commitment to advocating for the National Cancer Moonshot initiative to end cancer as we know it. He shared with attendees that the brain cancer research field is changing exponentially and the U.S. is investing billions of dollars in cancer research to find a cure. He encouraged all attendees to, “Keep running [and] keep the faith. There is hope. It’s not a false hope.”

Race For Hope 2016 Biden
Vice President Jo Biden and Nitin Ramachandran (young brain cancer survivor).

At the beginning of the race, a Survivor Tribute featuring more than 350 fearless brain tumor survivors—such as 13 year old brain cancer champion Nitin Ramachandran, photographed here with Vice President Biden—who marched together towards the starting line as a symbol of hope and strength in their battle against brain tumors. Among the participants was: Deanna Glass-Macenka, a neurosurgical oncology nurse who is in her ninth year of running the Race for Hope and is the team captain for The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s team; Julie Frank who was diagnosed with brain cancer in March of 2008 while in graduate school at George Washington University; and Beth Ann Telford, Ironwoman and brain cancer champion has raised nearly $1,000,000 for ABC2. Next up for Telford is the 2017 World Marathon Challenge, in which she will run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days to benefit ABC2. Attendees also paid tribute to those we have lost to brain cancer, including Dana Daczkowski who was the younger sister ofABC2’s own Nike Beddow, both co-founders of the Race for Hope, and Pamela Sue, the daughter of Race For Hope co-founders Lionel and Sandy Chaiken.

David Cook, previous American Idol® winner and Honorary Chair of the Race for Hope – DC, brought his Team for A Cure back this year and raised more than $92,000. David and his team participate in memory of his brother Adam who passed away due to brain cancer. As an ABC2 Ambassador, David is champion for the cause throughout the year.

Race For Hope 2016 Case Foundation Team
In Honor of Dan Case, the Case Foundation, Revolution and PathNorth join together at the 19th annual Race for Hope, including (pictured here): Cassaundra Maximin, Seth Kwiecien, Doug Holladay, Shelby Murrin, Sheila Herrling and family, Melanie Horsford, Kim Vu, Bob Woody, Beth Sims, Julia Power, Julie Cohen, Jessica Zetzman, Brian Sasscer, Aman Fiseha and Chris Hughes.

This year the Case Foundation team gathered to walk in honor of Dan Case, brother of Steve Case. In 2001, Dan was diagnosed with brain cancer. Discouraged by a lack of information and limited treatment options, Dan, his wife, Stacey, and Steve and Jean Case, co-founded ABC2. The organization (which is a grantee of the Case Foundation) is driving cutting-edge research and treatments for brain tumors and has awarded more than 100 grants totaling $20 million in brain tumor research.

To learn more aboutABC2 and how you can help in the search for a cure for brain cancer, visit abc2.org.

Header photo (from left to right): Max Wallace, ABC2; Roberta Liss, Cushman & Wakefield; Jeff Kolodin, NBTS; Johnathan Weinberg, ABC2 ; David Arons, NBTS.