Perseverance - A Letter from our Co-Founder, Gretchen Witt

Perseverance - A Letter from our Co-Founder, Gretchen Witt
If there is a word that sums up 2023 it would be perseverance. As a team, it has taken perseverance and determination to navigate through the challenges a global pandemic presented which jeopardized the life of up to a third of U.S. nonprofits. Since March 2020, uncertainty has been the norm and flexibility the requirement. But this year, we’re back to where we were pre-pandemic which is gratifying and affirming.

Year After Year

Perseverance takes many different shapes from every supporter - from grassroots hosts like Daniela Ortiz from Loveland, CO who set a goal to raise $100,000 by the time she graduated high school, a high bar but one she was determined to meet. In September she met that goal, two years early as a 10th grader, and has now raised $104,000 through her annual Galaxy Cookies event. Daniela, who has her sights set on working for NASA one day, has extra motivation – her mother Jill has been battling cancer for several years. (If anyone knows someone at NASA, please share Daniela’s story.) Another example of perseverance is Amy Christenbury who started with a bake sale in her front yard in Charlotte, NC in honor of her son Grier’s battle which has grown to a city-wide event with dozens of locations throughout North and South Carolina and has raised more than $1.4 million. Amy is the one who coined the phrase, “Take what you want, give what you can”. And then there’s Shep Pounders, a high school senior in Richmond, VA who took over the bake sale his mom started when he was in third grade. Every year he grows his bake sale by recruiting more of his friends and classmates to get involved. As an Eagle Scout, Shep knows the importance of service and demonstrates it with his commitment year after year. He’s now training his younger brother Colston to take over for him and carry the bake sale torch. All three of these extraordinary Good Cookies could have given up during the pandemic, but they didn’t. They persevered and kept innovating.

Overwhelming Response

This year also saw the return of our signature Chefs for Kids’ Cancer event in New York City, the first time since 2019. After such a long hiatus, we weren’t sure what to expect. The response from the chef community as well as supporters was overwhelming. To say it exceeded expectations would be an understatement. Not only did everyone leave reminded of how good it feels to be gathered in person, but we raised a record amount.

For the Kids

And then there’s the perseverance from the kids who benefit from the treatments we help to fund as a direct result of your support. Kids like Ber, who received three of those treatments and is off to his freshman year of college and Aidan who also received multiple treatments that received funding from our grants and is now a senior in high school and ready to take on the next challenge. These examples of perseverance helped us raise a record amount for kids’ cancer research this year, saw our grants top more than $21 million and earned us a top rating from Charity Navigator.

Renewed Commitment

The mission continues….it has to. Cancer is the #1 disease killer of kids under the age of 18 in the U.S. And, as someone who has been a supporter of ours knows, the cancers kids get are different than adult cancers which is why they require treatments specific to them. As we look towards 2024, we are so humbled and grateful for the perseverance you have shown us and in turn we renew our commitment to you, to keep persevering to help make a difference…one good cookie at a time.

Signature of Gretchen Holt Witt

Gretchen Holt Witt

Larry, Liam, Ella and Gretchen Witt


Three Year End Ways To Make an Impact NOW:

1) When you donate to Cookies for Kids' Cancer, you are helping fund critically needed childhood cancer research to find safer, more effective treatments for children fighting cancer. Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization and your donation is tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S. law. * DOUBLE Your Imact: Our friends at OXO have jumped in to support our mission by matching dollar for dollar what is raised through 12.31.23. You'll see your donations matched automatically up to $100,000. *

2) JOIN The Cookie Jar and give monthly. When you become a Cookie Jar partner, you are joining a powerful network of supporters making a deep impact each month. Your tax-deductible donation helps fill our jar - ensuring that we can continually fund the critical research that saves the youngest of lives.

3) SEND an 'Off to a GOOD Start' Gift for 2024 - Our cookies are a New Year gift that feels as good to send as they do to receive with 100% of the proceeds benefiting childhood cancer research. Don't forget that when you order two or more boxes going to the same address, you get $5 flat rate ground shipping!


IMPORTANT UPDATE: Our Board of Directors just approved our 2023 grants bringing the total funded to more than $21 million. This year’s grants support innovative research projects into brain tumors, solid tumors, sarcomas and leukemia. The approved projects are thoroughly reviewed and recommended for funding by our Medical Advisory Board using the same rigorous criteria as the National Cancer Institute in order to ensure we’re funding the strongest science. The 2023 grants also include a dollar-for-dollar MATCH of what the federal government gives for every child enrolled in a phase one clinical trial through the Children’s Oncology Group Pediatric Early Phase Clinical Trial Network (PEP-CTN) which is available at 42 hospitals. We are the largest private funder of this program. Pediatric cancer is the #1 disease killer of kids in the U.S. and the cancers kids get are completely different than adult cancers. It’s why they need research specific for them and it’s why we’re here. We ONLY fund research for new, improved and less toxic treatments which have the best chance to help kids in the shortest period of time possible. Today, two-thirds of kids treated for cancer deal with significant long-term side effects from the treatment which, in some cases, lead to secondary cancers that are untreatable. Clearly, we need to do better by our kids. Our 2023 grant recipients include: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, UCSF and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

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