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Financials & Governance

The American Cancer Society invests hundreds of millions of dollars every year to fight cancer on a global scale and has earned the public trust by demonstrating a history of careful and proven financial stewardship for over a century. We raise nearly all of our money through private individual donations, which helps to ensure our independence. We encourage people to look at how effectively we deliver on our mission, in addition to how efficiently we operate. We are deeply committed to reporting to our “shareholders” – the millions of people who support us each year.

American Cancer Society is committed to efficiency and transparency and relies on direct mail (both postal and online) and special events including Relay For Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, DetermiNation, Coaches Vs. Cancer, and CEOs Against Cancer to maintain our strong volunteer and donor base as well as educate and inform the public regarding cancer prevention, early detection, and patient programs offered and available to them. We also use these events to drive a call to action for cancer prevention and screenings as well as public policy advocacy. This education and information delivery is inherent in our mission statement – to improve the lives of people with cancer and their families through advocacy, research, and patient support, to ensure everyone has an opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.

We communicate and educate by postal mail, digitally, telephone, and in person at our events not only to generate income but to fulfill our mission. As a result, in accordance with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) guideline and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines, we allocate a portion of our direct mail and special event costs to program services. 

As a nonprofit organization that is exempt from federal taxation, we ensure donors’ money is spent as efficiently and effectively as possible. For more information regarding these cost allocations, we invite you to view our audited financial statements where we disclose additional information in accordance with FASB. Additionally, please see Schedule G of our Form 990 for more information regarding Relay For Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. 


The American Cancer Society, Inc. takes its mission to improve lives seriously and therefore works to protect the resources entrusted to it by the public. The Society is governed by a single Board of Directors, which is made up of volunteers from the medical and lay communities. Our system of organizational governance ensures the input of appropriate experts on decision making and strategic oversight of comprehensive nationwide operations.