Developing and delivering the best therapies for patients with cancer is the driving force of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, but the work of Dana-Farber doesn’t stop there. Identifying high-risk patients and using preventative cancer therapies is an essential component of the fight against cancer, something that longtime supporters Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine know all too well. Inspired by the level of excellence they have witnessed throughout the years at Dana-Farber, the couple established the Lavine Family Fund for Preventative Cancer Therapies in 2020 to advance crucial research aimed at detecting and treating cancer before it progresses.
Their visionary $25 million gift—the largest ever made to advance precision prevention and early detection at Dana-Farber—demonstrates the Lavines’ confidence in our ability to bring about a new paradigm that will allow us to stop cancer in its tracks, ultimately changing outcomes for patients everywhere. It enables Dana-Farber President and CEO Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, to allocate funding to projects that show the most promise to propel exciting developments long into the future, and provides powerful momentum toward the Institute’s comprehensive campaign, currently in the quiet phase.
The gift also establishes a permanent legacy by endowing three chairs to form the Lavine Family Chairs for Preventative Cancer Therapies—the first time three chairs have been endowed with a single gift. The three incumbents are Irene Ghobrial, MD, director of the Clinical Investigator Research Program; David Weinstock, MD; and Catherine Wu, MD, chief of the Division of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapies. An endowed chair is one of the most prestigious academic appointments and will enable the incumbents to continue to investigate precursor conditions, immunotherapies, and other potential prevention strategies. This gift will also establish the Lavine Family Fund for Preventative Cancer Therapies that will provide support to enable research faculty across the Institute to develop new methods of early detection and enhance the ability of doctors to identify and test for early stage cancers.
“Early detection and cancer prevention are essential to the fight against cancer. Effective early detection methods and therapies will enable doctors to save more lives,” says Jonathan Lavine, who serves as a Dana-Farber Trustee. “We have entrusted Dr. Glimcher to allocate the fund to support leading investigators who are on a path to dramatically move the needle in their fields—the most promising people, advancing the most promising work, which in turn holds great promise for patients and their families.”
“Thanks to this extraordinary investment from Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine, our physician-scientists are poised to make breakthrough discoveries that will lead to comprehensive prevention and early detection for all patients,” said Glimcher. “Philanthropic leaders like the Lavines are instrumental to bringing us closer to our ultimate goal: reducing the burden of cancer.”
This is not the first time that the Lavines have made a life-changing gift to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The Lavines were personally impacted by cancer when Jonathan’s mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma over two decades ago. Jonathan witnessed the work of Dana-Farber firsthand as his mother received successful treatment and was inspired to give back. In 2013, Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine gave $10 million to an initiative to enhance the patient and family experience at Dana-Farber and to name the Lavine Family Dining Pavilion. Adds Jeannie Lavine, “The work at Dana-Farber saves lives and it is our honor to be a small part of making those miracles happen.”
Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine are longtime supporters of health care and other civic and charitable causes in Boston and beyond. Through their foundation, the Crimson Lion Foundation, the Lavines focus their philanthropic efforts to support numerous organizations, like Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Pan-Mass Challenge, which raises funds for cancer research at Dana-Farber.