$10.3 Million Awarded by the V Foundation in 2020

All-Time Grant Total More Than $260 Million

CARY, NC (January 28, 2021) – The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a top-rated cancer research charity, announces $10.3 million in grant funding for 2020. It was a year unlike any other, and that was reflected in the composition of the 42 grants awarded. Of significance, three Abeloff V Scholars tied for the highest grant score, and the Foundation expanded the V Clinical Scholar program, after a successful pilot program was initiated at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Total grant funding by the V Foundation has now surpassed $260 million.

“This year’s collection of V Foundation grants tackles the most vexing cancer problems confronting both adults and children, using technologies that push the state-of-the-art in order to change the game for these life-threatening diseases,” said William Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the V Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee. “In addition, support is directed at innovations in cancer ‘Thrivership’ and at promoting equity in cancer treatment. Even in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, a new generation of V Scholars, the best and brightest of young cancer researchers, are prepared to ‘never give up’ in pursuit of new ways to improve cancer outcomes.”

The V Foundation awarded 18 V Scholar Grants in 2020. These grants are $200,000, paid over two years. V Scholar Grants advance innovative young scientists early in their research careers and provide them a competitive edge to earn additional funding from other sources. Three of the grants were funded through the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund, which was created to stop disparities. The V Scholars funded through the Stuart Scott Fund are from minority ethnic groups underrepresented in science. Additionally, the special designation of the Martin D. Abeloff Scholar Award, typically given to the single highest-rated V Scholar, was granted in 2020 to three scientists, all tied for the top spot.

“It is an incredible honor to receive a V Scholar Grant and the Martin D. Abeloff Scholar Award from the V Foundation,” said Sam McBrayer, Ph.D., assistant professor at Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern. “The support provided by the V Foundation will be instrumental in advancing our efforts to test a promising new strategy to treat brain tumors. Unfortunately, there are few effective therapies available to brain tumor patients and my laboratory is dedicated to developing novel treatments for this disease. I am grateful for the opportunity to partner with the V Foundation to pursue our shared goal of achieving victory over cancer.”

To accelerate cancer treatment and cures, the V Foundation’s V Clinical Scholar program aims to nurture the careers of clinicians who will become leaders in developing programs of clinical trials based on hypothesis-driven research. This year, two candidates were chosen to receive a $200,000 grant, paid over two years. These recipients have a thorough knowledge of clinical trials and cancer biology. This program is distinct from the V Scholar program, which is for early investigators, many of whom are not engaged in clinical research.

The V Foundation awarded five Translational Grants in 2020. These grants fund projects that bring cancer research from the bench to the bedside. Translational Grants are $600,000 awards distributed over three years. Two top Translational Grants are named in honor of former V Foundation CEO Nick Valvano and former Scientific Advisory Committee Chair Robert Bast, M.D., to recognize their many years of service to the Foundation. In addition, three, three-year grants of $600,000 total were awarded through the Robin Roberts Thrivership Fund. This fund provides competitive grants for research into the biological basis and prevention of common long-term adverse effects experienced by survivors, such as second cancers, decreased fertility and premature death.

The V Foundation’s highly competitive grant-making process is overseen by the V Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee, made up of world-class researchers from leading cancer centers. This rigorous process ensures proposals meet the highest standards of scientific merit. The V Foundation holds 10 consecutive 4-star (highest) ratings from Charity Navigator, America’s largest evaluator of charities, making the Foundation among the top 2% of all charities evaluated. The V Foundation is also a GuideStar platinum-rated charity.

For more information about the V Foundation, its grants program, the Scientific Advisory Committee or to donate, please visit v.org. A complete list of the 2020 grant recipients can be found here.


About the V Foundation for Cancer Research  
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator. The V Foundation has funded more than $260 million in game-changing cancer research grants nationwide through a competitive process strictly supervised by a world-class Scientific Advisory Committee. Because the V Foundation has an endowment to cover administrative expenses, 100% of direct donations is awarded to cancer research and programs.  The V team is committed to accelerating Victory Over Cancer®. To learn more, visit v.org.