Northwestern Mutual's Childhood Cancer Program marks two-year milestone by funding more than 35,000 hours of life-saving research

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Efforts in two years support nearly 3,000 families; year three kicks off with nearly $900,000 in additional funding to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

MILWAUKEE, August 19, 2014 – The urgent need to find cures for childhood cancer, the leading cause of death by disease in children under 15 years of age, is driving powerful actions across the country. In just two years, financial representatives, employees, researchers and communities have rallied strong for kids, supporting Northwestern Mutual in contributing more than $6 million in the fight against childhood cancer, and supporting nearly 3,000 families.

“When individuals and communities join our thousands of employees and financial representatives to fight childhood cancer, they create a domino effect that can topple over some of the emotional and financial impacts of the disease on children and their families,” said John Kordsmeier, president, Northwestern Mutual Foundation. “This collective effort will surely bring us closer to finding breakthrough treatments and cures for kids.”

These efforts will be strengthened by a nearly $900,000 Northwestern Mutual Foundation grant to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a nonprofit Northwestern Mutual partners with to fund cutting edge programs for researchers working toward better treatments and cures for childhood cancers.

Less than five percent of the National Institutes of Health total funding for cancer research supports childhood cancer research. That’s why Northwestern Mutual launched its Childhood Cancer Program in July 2012 to accelerate the search for cures to childhood cancers by providing research funds and support to families facing the daily struggles of this disease.

Northwestern Mutual recently marked the Childhood Cancer Program’s two-year anniversary this summer by raising more than $280,000 for ALSF during its annual Roots and Wings walk/run at the company's sales meeting in Milwaukee. The top fundraising offices were:

  • Northwestern Mutual – Raleigh, NC
  • The McTigue Financial Group – Chicago, IL
  • Northwestern Mutual – Latham, NY
  • The Striano Financial Group – Boca Raton, FL
  • Northwestern Mutual – Salt Lake City, UT

Local fundraising and family support efforts have occurred in 71 out of the 78 of offices around the country, raising more than one million dollars and supporting nearly 3,000 families.

Northwestern Mutual’s innovative approach to philanthropy

The company is investing in unique opportunities to advance innovation and collaboration in the research community. In 2013, Northwestern Mutual launched the inaugural Young Investigators Summit with ALSF. The event gathered ALSF Young Investigator Grant recipients to foster collaboration to advance scientific research for the next generation of childhood cancer researchers, offering opportunities for forging new relationships among the leading researchers in the pediatric oncology field. The company also sponsored a research summit at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Northwestern Mutual commissioned the first-of-its-kind national survey last fall among childhood cancer researchers to probe the barriers in researching life-saving cures. Study participants named a “passion to find a cure for childhood cancer” as the top reason why they chose to work in the field; unfortunately, lack of funds was the top barrier in pursuing their work. The survey proved the urgent need to support researchers and helped raise awareness about childhood cancer.

Childhood cancer program activities for year three will include:

  • Funding four ALSF’s Young Investigator Grants to further childhood cancer research projects;
  • Launching an editorial and video series via social media during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (September);
  • Sponsoring the 2014 ALSF’s Young Investigators’ Summit, October 21-22, at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia;
  • Providing funding for ALSF’s Travel Fund; and
  • Ongoing support for the fight against childhood cancer in the company's hometown of Milwaukee, Wis., including the opening of the Northwestern Mutual Day Hospital to treat outpatient cancer therapies located within the MACC Fund Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

The childhood cancer program supports ALSF’s research programs and Alex's Family Travel Fund, enabling more than 200 families to receive vital, specialized treatments from pediatric cancer hospitals by covering costly travel and lodging expenses.

The program also eases the challenging hospital experience for families with Starlight Children’s Foundation. Northwestern Mutual representatives in various communities deliver Starlight Fun Center®™ mobile entertainment units and Starlight Tablets™ to children in their hospital rooms, offering much-needed fun and distraction from medical treatments.

To learn more about the childhood cancer program, please visit www.nmfoundation.com.

About Northwestern Mutual Foundation

The mission of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation is to improve the lives of children and families in need. The Foundation has given nearly $270 million since its inception in 1992 and is designed to create lasting impact in the communities where the company's employees and financial representatives live and work. We accomplish this by combining financial support, volunteerism, thought leadership and convening community partners to deliver the best outcomes. Our efforts are focused nationally on curing childhood cancer, and locally on education, neighborhoods and making our hometown of Milwaukee a great destination.

About Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual has been helping families and businesses achieve financial security for nearly 160 years. Our financial representatives build relationships with clients through a distinctive planning approach that integrates risk management with wealth accumulation, preservation and distribution. With more than $217 billion in assets, $26 billion in revenues and more than $1.5 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers financial security to more than 4.2 million people who rely on us for insurance and investment solutions, including life, disability and long-term care insurance; annuities; trust services; mutual funds; and investment advisory products and services.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI, and its subsidiaries. Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a comprehensive approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, limited purpose federal savings bank; Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and Russell Investments.

About Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004). In 2000, 4-year-old Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of supporters across the country carrying on her legacy of hope. To date, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity, has raised more than $80 million toward fulfilling Alex’s dream of finding a cure, funding over 450 pediatric cancer research projects nationally. For more information on Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, visit AlexsLemonade.org.

About Starlight Children’s Foundation

Over the past 30 years, Starlight Children’s Foundation ® has become a leading global charity that partners with experts to improve the life and health of kids and families around the world. Collaborating with innovators in pediatric healthcare, entertainment and technology, Starlight provides a unique blend of family-centered programs and services from hospital to home. Starlight partners with more than 1,750 healthcare facilities in Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, serving millions of children every year. To learn more, visit www.starlight.org, or follow us at facebook.com/StarlightChildrensFoundation and twitter.com/StarlightOnline.

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