Challenge grant could transform breast cancer nonprofit | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Challenge grant could transform breast cancer nonprofit


GLENDALE – “ABCD,” a local nonprofit that seeks to connect people affected by breast cancer with volunteer mentors, has been given a big boost.

The organization’s full name is “ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis.” It’s in Glendale but serves patients, families and friends from anywhere at all. ABCD connects them with trained volunteer mentors.

There’s always been a challenge in getting the word out about this “Match Mentoring” program, with the nonprofit’s budget of under $1 million annually. The nonprofit has close ties to the local Jewish community (see “After Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Jewish values”). Now, it’s been offered a “challenge” grant of up to $2 million and with that a chance to reach more people.

Ellen Friebert Schupper

The plan is to use the funds to “elevate awareness about our services by deepening and expanding relationships with healthcare facilities, making a significant investment in marketing and outreach initiatives, and expanding services to underserved populations,” said Ellen Friebert Schupper, ABCD’s executive director.

Based on projections, the organization expects to serve 1,500 people through 2017. With the new challenge grant, Schupper acknowledged that there’s “a high expectation that there’s going to be significant growth” after that.

About the grant

Keith Mardak is chairman and CEO of the Hal Leonard Corporation, the world’s largest print music publisher. Mardak offered the challenge grant for a minimum of two years to a maximum of four years.

The $1 million allocated for the first two years requires ABCD’s own fundraising to show a year-over-year increase of $1 for each $2 in Mardak’s grant.  ABCD must meet satisfactory performance metrics by the end of year two to be considered for another $1 million in years three and four.

As the largest single contribution in ABCD’s 18-year history, the grant will allow the organization to significantly expand its peer-to-peer support services, according to a news release. The organization will also be able to recruit and train more volunteer survivor mentors around the country.  “We serve breast cancer patients, their families and friends throughout the U.S.A with a focus on the State of Wisconsin,” Schupper said.

“Our vision is that every woman or man who is diagnosed or living with breast cancer knows about ABCD and has access to our critical services,” said ABCD Board President Wayne C. Oldenburg in a news release. “No one else – not a nurse navigator, a helpline, or a website – provides the personalized connection that we do at ABCD.”

The Chronicle has previously reported that women of Ashkenazic Jewish heritage are somewhat more likely to get breast cancer and some old research indicated Milwaukee’s North Shore was a “hot spot” beyond what even genetics could explain. Mutations in a pair of genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, can create a higher risk of breast cancer and the mutations are more common in women of Ashkenazic (European Jewish) ancestry, according to medical experts. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta recommends genetic testing for individuals of Ashkenazic Jewish ancestry with at least a “moderate” family cancer history.

For more information about ABCD, visit or call 414-977-1780.