Leading Cancer Charities and Organizations

With multiple cancer organizations and charities to choose from, it can be difficult to decide where to donate your time or money. This shortlist highlights some of the top organizations (in no particular order) that aid in cancer research and help patients and their families live their best lives. 

This article covers the LIVESTRONG Foundation, American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), American Cancer Society (ACS), and the Cancer Research Institute. There is information about their history, mission, vision, values, how they spend resources, and what makes them unique.

Read on to explore these organizations and see which align with your intentions and are worthy of your support.


Lance Armstrong for Livestrong Foundation
Tom Pennington/Getty

LIVESTRONG is a survivor itself. It was first included on this list before the fall from grace of founder Lance Armstrong, who is no longer involved with the charity but is still a donor. Nobody can dispute that Lance Armstrong went through devastating cancer treatment before his tainted Tour de France wins. He founded this organization to advocate cancer survivorship and it lives on.

The organization's motto is obviously "live strong." But it is the fighting spirit of this motto that inspires the many who face cancer. Livestrong has an excellent support website for patients of all ages.

82% of donations go directly to programs and services for people affected by cancer.

American Institute for Cancer Research

Founded in 1982, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is among the leading organizations that provide funding for research among universities, hospitals, and research centers in the United States and abroad. What makes them stand out even more, though, is that the AICR focuses its efforts on lifestyle elements, like diet and physical activity, and their significant roles in cancer prevention.​

65.2 % of AICRs funds go to programs which includes research and education.

AICR funds cutting-edge research that marries science with lifestyle changes to ward off cancer. And it is one of the only organizations with a grant review process that meets the standards of the National Cancer Institute.

AICR also dispels the myth that cancer only affects the unfortunate and educates and promotes public awareness of new findings in cancer prevention and risk reduction.

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is the largest non-governmental funder of cancer research in the United States. It has been hard at work for over 100 years and has almost countless programs and means of support and education for patients and their families.

From classes that boost the self-esteem of chemotherapy patients to fundraisers that really do bring people together, ACS provides a wide range of services for people with every type of cancer. You can find many fun ways to support them and volunteer with them as they strive to create "a world with more birthdays."

The ACS uses its resources to invest in cancer research, patient support, prevention, education, detection, and treatment. In 2018, 25% of ACS resources went towards cancer research.

Cancer Research Institute

The Cancer Research Institute (CRI) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1953. It leads the way in immunotherapy cancer research. They stand out because they've developed an international network of scientists. 

This collaborative approach pools resources from around the globe so cancer research is a team effort internationally. The model increases the efficiency of cancer research by focusing on common goals and the most promising research topics.

Almost 90% of the CRI's donations go to programs that include cancer research.

Their research aims to understand the immune system and how it responds to cancer to develop immunotherapies that treat, prevent, and control all types of cancer.

The CRI supports research by providing direct financial support to its global network of researchers through grants, awards, and fellowships. These post-doctoral fellowships allow scientists to study the link between immunology and cancer in top-of-the-line laboratories with skilled mentors.


The LIVESTRONG Foundation, American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), American Cancer Society (ACS), and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) are among the top leading organizations and charities supporting cancer research. 

Each organization has a unique history, mission, vision, and values. Some focus on screenings or cancer prevention, while others focus on treatment. However, they all stand united in supporting cancer research. In addition, they all support cancer patients in their families through education and programs.

A Word From Verywell

Giving back to your community can be rewarding, and supporting cancer research is a great way to do that. But, we know it can be overwhelming to decide where to invest your time or money. Learning about what makes each organization unique and how they spend their resources is a significant first step toward making that decision.

While we don't think you can go wrong with any of these organizations, there are many more to choose from. Don't hesitate to reach out to any of these organizations for more information before making your decision.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. LIVESTRONG. Our mission.

  2. American Institue for Cancer Research. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form 990.

  3. American Cancer Society. Facts about the American Cancer Society.

  4. Cancer Research Institute. 2021 annual report.

By Brandi Jones, MSN-ED RN-BC
Brandi is a nurse and the owner of Brandi Jones LLC. She specializes in health and wellness writing including blogs, articles, and education.

Originally written by Lisa Fayed