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Federal aid and student efforts help fund Moffitt

State budget cuts and a decrease in donations have brought tough economic times to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute. However, fundraising efforts and community donations, as well as federal stimulus money, are giving Moffitt an extra push to stay afloat.

Moffitt’s revenue stems from government grants, patient care services, philanthropy and donations. Groups such as the Moffitt Foundation, Miles for Moffitt and the student-run organization Bulls for Moffitt support the center through fundraisers and donations in an attempt to combat economic adversities.

D. Shenell Reed, the communications officer for the Moffitt Foundation, said people continue to donate money to Moffitt, despite economic troubles.

“The community’s support has elevated since so many individuals are touched by cancer in some way, shape or form,” she said.

Organizations’ and donors’ fundraising efforts account for 5 percent of Moffitt’s gross revenue, said John DeMuro, government relations supervisor for Moffitt.

“The donations that are received help with bringing new researchers and retention at Moffitt,” he said.

DeMuro said the greatest area in need at Moffitt is research, and that is where the money goes.

State and federal funding are more important to Moffitt because they account for
20 percent of its revenues, DeMuro said. But because of state budget cuts, donations and federal money are even more helpful than in the past.

“Federal government funding is steady and strong,” he said. “The state and federal governments are the No. 1 providers in funding for the center’s research.”

Moffitt is expected to receive government funds from the stimulus package, which prioritizes biomedical research, DeMuro said.

While there is a close collaboration between USF and Moffitt, Moffitt does not receive funds from the University since both are independent, not-for-profit organizations.

However, the collaboration brings other opportunities to students.

Students who are part of Bulls for Moffitt, a student organization that was started last year, help raise money for the cancer center. Fundraisers also play a major role in aiding Moffitt revenue and research.

Bulls for Moffitt help the center promote fundraising events as well as student volunteers. The organization also meets with the scientists and researchers of Moffitt and gives a tour of the facilities each semester for the public.

“These meetings and tours help bridge the gap between Moffitt and the students here at USF,” said Samantha Landolfa, president of the organization.

Landolfa said their fundraising includes selling T-shirts and tailgating.

“We recently held a DVD collection drive to help patients that have to endure long treatments in the center,” she said.

More than 100 DVDs were donated for patient use, Landolfa said.

“The fundraisers for Moffitt are helping infuse the importance of cancer research within the community,” DeMuro said. “The start of this organization began as a battle against cancer as well as a link between students and the professional opportunities that are at Moffitt.”