Nonprofit Profile: The American Cancer Fund, empowering those fighting disease


The American Cancer Fund dates back to the 1960s, when it was a number of disparate organizations. In the late 1990s, Harry and Shari Stryder recognized the internet as a tool to consolidate these resources into a single website branded as the American Cancer Fund. Both had endured the personal loss of family and friends to different cancers, so they financed and managed ACF as a second act in retirement, relaunching it in the year 2000.


The mission of ACF is to provide free, clear, independent information and research to enable patients and their families to make smarter choices for cancer treatment with an emphasis on dignity, functionality and cure.


ACF is expanding its reach through promotion and brand awareness, and hopes to drive more donations through these efforts. ACF’s capacity to serve more people is proportional to the success of its fundraising. ACF is working to reestablish support for families impacted by childhood cancer through a dedicated web page,, and has plans to revive its newsletter. It also plans to relaunch its social media campaign, the “Kissing Off Cancer Challenge,” which asks people to take a picture kissing a loved one, post it to social media with the hashtags #kissoffcancer #kissingoffcancer #ACF #kiss, and then donate to ACF. 


ACF provides relevant and up-to-date cancer information and educational resources online at and in person via phone and email. Additionally, ACF provides cancer research grants to organizations that work on cancer cures, treatment, detection and research projects, and have shown the ability to effectively use the funds they receive.


Calling itself the “Google for Cancer,” ACF measures success by the number of visitors to its website.  The ACF website receives up to 5,000 page hits a day and serves 1.5 million people annually. ACF estimates it has served tens of millions of people since it launched.


Most of ACF’s funding is from individual donations. ACF also sponsors several charity 5K run events and sells sunscreen specially formulated for ACF and sold through the website.


Nearly all of ACF funding is through individual contributions via the ACF website, which is why donations are vital to the success of the organization. ACF benefactors are people with cancer and their families. ACF also provides grant money to numerous projects, including:

  • Support for medical research in finding effective treatments and a cure for skin cancer;
  • Promising research into the early detection and successful treatment of lung cancer;
  • Research for fighting blood cancers, leukemia and lymphoma;
  • Professional case management services provided at no cost to individuals anywhere in the United States;
  • Research and treatment of pediatric catastrophic diseases;
  • Innovative research to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer.

In brief

Where: Hillsborough

Key members: Harry Stryder, founder, president; Shari (Lerer) Stryder, founder, chief financial officer; Cynthia Johnston, founder, vice president; Hewitt Vinnedge Johnston, founder, Episcopal priest.

Conversation Starter

For more information, contact Harry Stryder at:, Shari Stryder at: or 908-413-5755.