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Calgary cancer charities under pressure as corporate donations fall

Calgary cancer charities under pressure as corporate donations fall
WATCH: Calgary cancer charities are struggling to cope with a drop in corporate sponsorship. As Heather Yourex-West explains, some groups fear they'll have to cut programs if new funding sources aren't found.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story quoted Heard as saying “people don’t always realize funds raised for prostate cancer during Movember do not stay in Calgary.” In fact, Movember Foundation says it has invested over $6 million into Calgary since 2011, including a recent grant to University of Calgary researcher Dr. Tarek Bismar. You can read the updated story here and see a breakdown of the funding and programs in Canada here.

Several Calgary-area cancer charities say they’re noticing a drop in the amount of money coming in from corporate sponsors.

“We’ve had a few partners that had to drop off that have been really dependable partners for years, but I think the economy has just taken a toll,” said Genine Neufeld, development manager for Kids Cancer Care.

Calgary’s Prostate Cancer Centre says for the first time in its history, it’s had to dip into reserve funds to make ends meet.

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Until now, the non-profit has relied heavily on funding from home builders and oil companies but in the current economic climate, the future of those partnerships is in jeopardy.

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“I think the temperament in this town right now is such that people are worried about the future and are acting accordingly,” said Pam Heard, executive director for Calgary’s Prostate Cancer Centre.

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Heard says people don’t always realize that funds raised for prostate cancer during Movember do not stay in Calgary.

That’s why the Prostate Cancer Centre is currently running a campaign asking donors to “Keep It In Calgary” to help support the organization with the work it’s doing for men in southern Alberta.

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“Last year at this time we had raised $50,000 in our campaign and this year we’re at $20,000 so we’re struggling,” Heard said.

The Alberta Cancer Foundation says it’s also noticed a drop in corporate donations.

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The charity says it’s concerned it will not be able to meet its $38-million fundraising target by the spring.