Helping People with Cancer

Why Pro Bono for Cancer?

Studies show that individuals with cancer often face “financial toxicity,” manifested by a mix of severe economic stress, depression, and anxiety that can exacerbate the underlying health condition. Even with private health insurance or coverage through Medicare or Medicaid, families are at substantial risk of financial catastrophe. These families experience not only a major increase in daily expenses, but often a significant loss of income due to patients’ and their caregivers’ inability to maintain full-time work.

Research shows that financial issues are the second most frequent source of distress identified by cancer patients.

37% cut back on groceries

36% deplete their savings

24% borrow against their retirements

86% of cancer survivors reporting serious financial burden had health insurance

Cancer patients are 2.65 times more likely to go bankrupt than people without cancer

Those experiencing bankruptcy are 80% more likely to die from any cause than others with cancer

FFP recognized the difference that pro bono financial planning can make in the lives of people facing cancer when in 2011 we awarded a small grant to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for their program with the FPA of Massachusetts. Now in its tenth year, this program has demonstrated that volunteer financial planners can play a key role in helping avoid or reduce the threat of financial toxicity.

How We Are Helping

Along with key partners and committed pro bono volunteer planners, we are committed to addressing the financial burden of cancer. As part of this effort, FFP’s Pro Bono for Cancer Campaign is seeking to raise $1,000,000 in initial seed funding to help grow our support of pro bono efforts for people in critical need of quality financial advice, particularly for families affected by a serious cancer diagnosis.

Over the next 3 years, FFP will also award a series of strategic grants focused on addressing the financial toxicity of cancer. Our goal is to test, refine and grow outstanding program models so that this work can be replicated and scaled, eventually helping thousands of families across the country.

FFP grants through our Cancer Program will help cover:

  • The recruitment of Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) professionals to provide their services, pro bono, to patients and their families, helping them plan for anticipated expenses, loss of income and more.
  • A rigorous training program to educate volunteer financial planners on the unique financial and other challenges faced by cancer patients.
  • Research and evaluation activities that will measure the impact of pro bono financial planning on the lives and financial health of families, enabling us and our partners to finetune programs for maximum effectiveness and to raise awareness around the issue.

Current Grantees

Family Reach

FFP has offered early support to an important new initiative that in partnership with national nonprofit Family Reach and the Financial Planning Association (FPA®) will bring comprehensive financial supports and interventions—including pro bono financial planning—to at-risk families battling a serious cancer diagnosis. Piloting this year in Boston and Seattle, the Financial Planning for Cancer program will offer important insights into the impact that pro bono financial planning can have on patients and their families.

CENTS (Consumer Education & Training Services)

As part of the Financial Planning for Cancer program and with special support from FFP, CENTS will specially train CFP® professionals and connect them with cancer patients for individual financial consultations and planning. Through CENTS, patients and families can also access patient advocates who can help with health insurance and pharma assistance, and if needed, volunteer bankruptcy attorneys.