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Dana-Farber launches $2 billion fund-raising drive

Dana-Farber donors Karen Hale (left), her husband Robert T. Hale, Jr., and his mother Judith B. Hale.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on Monday announced a campaign to raise $2 billion for cancer research and treatment, its largest fund-raising drive ever.

Michael Eisenson, a Dana-Farber trustee who is leading the campaign, said the money will help recruit and retain doctors and scientists and advance work in early detection of cancer and immunotherapy and other treatments.

“The field has really exploded . . . in terms of our understanding of cancers and our ambitions to treat cancers,” said Eisenson, founding partner and managing director of Charlesbank Capital Partners. “Patients at the Dana-Farber have access to more than 1,000 clinical trials.”

The cancer institute began the quiet phase of fund-raising in 2017 and is more than halfway toward its $2 billion goal. The effort relies on wealthy philanthropists, but Dana-Farber already has received donations from hundreds of thousands of people, including those who participate in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a fund-raising bike-a-thon.


Last week, Judith B. Hale, her son, Robert T. Hale Jr., and his wife, Karen Hale, pledged $50 million to Dana-Farber to study, detect, and treat pancreatic cancer.

Dana-Farber, in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area, competes with a number of other prestigious medical institutions for donations. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, for example, raised $1.75 billion in a seven-year drive that ended in 2020 and Boston Children’s Hospital raised $1.5 billion in its last campaign, which ran from 2012 until 2019. Massachusetts General Hospital is in the midst of an effort to raise $3 billion over seven years.

The donations at Dana-Farber, though, will be focused entirely on cancer.

“The challenge will be for us to get our fair share,” Eisenson said.

Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.