Non-Profit Spotlight: Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation

By Shirley Folkins-Roberts, Executive Director of the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation

What is NNCCF?
Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation (NNCCF) is a locally-founded and operated non-profit whose purpose is to ease the financial and emotional burden of a child diagnosed with cancer while advocating for better treatment and more research. The NNCCF staff and community give help, hope and courage to children and their families when their world has been turned upside down by a devastating diagnosis.

How did NNCCF get started?
Our generous community has helped support northern Nevada childhood cancer families for 19 years. NNCCF was officially named in 2009 after a merger of two local organizations; each of whom were started in the memory of two brave little boys who lost their lives to this devastating disease. Angel Kiss Foundation served families in the Reno area since 2000 – formed in memory of five-year-old Jarryd by his grandparents. The second organization, the Keaton Raphael Memorial, a Sacramento-based non-profit, expanded to Reno in 2004 in memory of five-year-old Keaton.

What does NNCCF offer to clients and/or to the community?
NNCCF helps alleviate the financial upheaval and emotional burden childhood cancer places on local families. Parents often call NNCCF a sanctuary, a place to find comfort through a devastating diagnosis. Families become part of the NNCCF community and are assisted financially during treatment and any needs that may arise as a consequence of treatment. We provide compassionate support programs such as monthly family events, counseling reimbursement, “No More Chemo” bell ringings, scholarships and more. NNCCF offers our generous donors an opportunity to assist some of the families who have been overwhelmed by the consequences of a cancer diagnosis. NNCCF provides the opportunity for community donors and volunteers to help families through donations, including our Hope for the Holidays program which provides gifts to our families during the holiday season.

What has NNCCF accomplished and what are you most proud of?
The comfort we provide families is the most rewarding; both emotionally and financially. In its 19 years of service to the community, NNCCF has provided 3.9 million dollars in financial aid to local families and raised more than 2.8 million dollars for childhood cancer research. NNCCF has brought our community together to rally behind local families and continues to raise awareness of childhood cancer.

What is great about running a non-profit in Nevada?
Our community inspires us with its benevolence. People walk into our office daily with a warm, generous heart asking how they can help local children with cancer. Our partners and supporters donate everything from critical household repairs to a wig for a little girl. They give their time as volunteers along with financial support of our programs. Many partners have been with us since our inception and provided support to comfort families and strive to find new and less devastating treatments through our advocacy and fundraising for research.

What would you say are some of the most difficult things you face as a non-profit organization?
The burden created by childhood cancer in our community is evolving rapidly as healthcare, treatments, community resources and our world changes. It is imperative that we are utilizing our limited resources the best way we can. There is a constant need to evaluate and adjust given the flexible nature of healthcare, community resources, available funding and other factors. NNCCF works tirelessly to have the flexibility to meet the unique needs of each family and their situation.

Are there any Nevada organizations or individuals that you would like to give a “shout out” to?
Our heroes are the children who have battled this disease, the family members who stood by their sides, the neighbors who delivered homemade meals, the friends who offered to help care for siblings and pets and every person who has gone above and beyond to support families as they fight for their child’s life. Our heroes are our donors. From those who raise tens of thousands of dollars in their community events to our original founders and long-time donors, every dollar donated helps support families and we are continuously amazed by our generous community.

How can an individual or business assist you in your efforts?
We value all of our supporters, volunteers, donors, community partners. We hold five signature fundraisers a year, but we have numerous community partners that create their own fundraisers to benefit NNCCF. Our five signature events include:

  • Childhood Cancer Awareness Tailgate, August 30, 2019 — The 2019 Childhood Cancer Awareness Tailgate kicks off Childhood Cancer Awareness month.
  • 15th Annual Tournament of Hope, September 16, 2019 — This annual golf tournament is one of our signature events and contributions to this event help aid our foundation’s mission.
  • 12th Annual “All In for Childhood Cancer” poker tournament, October 17, 2019 — A fun night playing poker and raising funds to support local children and their families in the fight against childhood cancer.
  • Know the Gold Radiothon, January 31, 2020 — Our 12-hour Radiothon Event is the finale for the Know the Gold Campaign.
  • Shave for the Brave, March 20, 2020 — In partnership with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. we ask the community to “Shave for the Brave” and go bald in support of childhood cancer research.

In addition to our annual events, individuals or businesses can contribute to our organization by volunteering or providing financial support. For more information on how to donate and our annual events, please visit