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The Faber Daeufer & Itrato Philanthropy Committee has some new faces and fresh ideas for meeting the firm’s commitment to engaging philanthropically within its professional and geographic communities. With a directive to spend 1% of the firm’s budgeted annual revenue, the Committee has identified two major initiatives for monetary contributions and sponsorship – the Biomedical Science Careers Program (BSCP) and the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge Project.
Principal Timothy J. LaBua began chairing the Philanthropy Committee in early 2021. He explained that while the firm has continued to support a diverse group of projects and causes, this year’s committee specifically wanted to leverage the mission of the firm’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee by seeking philanthropic opportunities targeted at reducing the opportunity gap in life sciences and addressing challenges in access to healthcare.
Biomed Science Careers Program
Founded in 1991, Biomed Science Careers Program (BSCP) introduces underrepresented minority students and fellows to all facets of science and medicine while helping health care institutions, biopharma/biotechnology firms, educational institutions, professional organizations and private industry members achieve their goals of having a more diverse workforce. Its founding sponsors are the Harvard Medical School Minority Faculty Development Program, the New England Board of Higher Education and the Massachusetts Medical Society.
“BSCP leverages an amazing mentor and role model network to support its participants throughout their academic journey, and then continues to guide them through the transition to academia or industry,” said LaBua.
BSCP brings together more than 1,000 African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native students and fellows for an opportunity to connect with advisors from clinical sciences, medicine, public health, academia and the biopharmaceutical industry. These specialists engage with the participants, encourage them through their studies, and advise them regarding available resources, professional opportunities and career paths in biomedical and other science-related fields.
“BSCP offers what, for many students and young professionals, is the lone opportunity to experience together in one location a sense of community and belonging within an academic and industry space that historically lacks diversity,” said LaBua.
The first BSCP conference took place in 1992 with attendance by 300 high school, college, medical, and graduate minority students. Since that time, the event has expanded to more than 13,000 minority students and 1,200 postdoctoral trainees. Participants range from high school students to postdoctoral level fellows, representing more than 391 institutions spanning 39 states plus the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Belgium and Australia.
Faber’s Philanthropy Committee sponsorship of BSCP includes 2 prongs of financial support – the first and most significant portion of which is discretional and available for the general furtherance of BSCP’s core mission. The second prong is specifically directed to the organization’s COVID 19 Fund and its likely successor, an Emergency Technology Fund. “The COVID 19 and Emergency Technology Funds are designed to ensure that program participants whose studies and program participation have been especially impacted by COVID 19 or the lack of available technology resources have access to financial support to help secure those resources.”
American Cancer Society Hope Lodge
The American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge Initiative was the other recipient of a major sponsorship financial commitment from Faber’s Philanthropy Committee. With facilities located nationwide, each Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their caregivers zero cost housing when their most promising treatment options are located outside of their immediate geographic area. With the average course of treatment often extending across multiple weeks, the availability of Hope Lodge accommodations often means the difference between receiving or foregoing life-saving treatment.
The Cancer Society currently operates more than 30 Hope Lodge locations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Each Lodge provides a nurturing, home-like environment with private rooms and community spaces, along with advisory resources.
LaBua explained the unique significance of the Hope Lodge to Faber. “It presented an opportunity to deploy, closer to home, the firm’s historical commitment to overcoming access to care challenges – which we’ve previously addressed through our partnership to develop the Butaro Center for Cancer Excellence in Rwanda. Sometimes access to affordable accommodations that are proximate to care centers is the key variable that will determine a patient’s health outcome. The Hope Lodge initiative exemplifies how our money can increase access to care with a similar goal right in our backyard.”
Faber has fully funded three Hope Lodge Rooms for the year- one in Nashville and two in New York City. With an average stay of several weeks, LaBua estimates that the firm’s donation will directly impact upwards of 30 patients and their extended families.
In addition to these two major sponsorships, the Philanthropy Committee also monetarily supported several other projects throughout 2021. Members look forward to continuing and expanding the firm’s long standing philanthropic commitment in 2022.
To learn more about BSCP, visit their website at Biomedical Science Careers Program | BSCP.
Additional information about the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodges can be found at https://www.cancer.org/treatment/support-programs-and-services/patient-lodging/hope-lodge.html.