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How does St. Jude work?

Unlike other hospitals, the majority of funding for St. Jude comes from generous donors.

St. Jude patient Yates with his mom, Jessica

St. Jude patient Yates, with his mom


St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC), exists solely to raise the funds and awareness necessary to run St. Jude. In the years ahead, an estimated 89% of the funds necessary to sustain and grow St. Jude must be raised each year by ALSAC from generous donors who are united with us in a common goal: Finding cures. Saving children®

We're dedicated to providing the best care for patients and research that leads to cures

To do that, we need to continue to be at the cutting edge of the latest medicine and research in fighting catastrophic pediatric diseases such as cancer and sickle cell, all while freeing families from the biggest burden in getting life-saving healthcare: the cost.


Why your support matters

Unlike other hospitals, the majority of funding for St. Jude comes from generous donors.  

Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. Although we accept insurance, St. Jude is a research hospital, so many of the treatment and services we provide are not covered by insurance.

Our unique operating model icon

In the years ahead, an estimated 89% of the funds necessary to sustain and grow St. Jude must be raised by ALSAC from generous donors.


The treatments for pediatric cancer can last up to three years or more and cost on average $425,000, not including housing, travel and food but the individual cost of care can vary greatly. At St. Jude, we have children whose care can surpass more than $1 million per patient for a variety of reasons. If a family has insurance, we will bill the insurance company, but no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for care and no family is asked to pay co-pays or deductibles. More than 50 percent of our patients are under- or uninsured.

We are proud that 82 cents of every dollar received from donations, research grants, insurance recoveries and investment returns goes to support the current and future needs of St. Jude. Our donors can trust that their giving has helped save the lives of thousands of children. 

Our responsibility to our patients

St. Jude is a specialty research hospital for children, not a general children’s hospital. We focus on providing exceptional care to patients with pediatric cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Acceptance to St. Jude is generally based upon having a disease that we treat and study, and may be based on potential eligibility for an open clinical trial.

As one of the largest pediatric cancer research hospitals in the world, St. Jude treats more than 8,000 patients each year with 73 beds in operation and a license to go up to 80 beds. But our approach is different and has been since we opened the hospital. We believe a child should live as typical a childhood as possible, even when battling life-threatening diseases. That’s why most of our patients are treated as outpatients and stay in one of our housing facilities with rooms specifically designed and managed by us for families of children with cancer and other diseases. Construction of a new housing facility is underway.

At St. Jude, we pay for:

  • all treatment
  • travel for a patient, a parent and another adult of the family’s choosing
  • housing for up to four in a family, with options for bigger or other accommodations in one of our housing facilities
  • a daily food credit for use in our cafeteria, and a stipend for food purchased outside of our cafeteria
We also provide:
  • an onsite school that allows patients to keep up with their school program back home
  • psychosocial help for caregivers and siblings coping with a child’s cancer diagnosis
  • child life specialists to help children cope with their diagnosis and new surroundings
  • concierge services to help families with everyday tasks, like delivering groceries
  • translation help for those who do not speak English as a first language
  • numerous other services

Planning for the needs of today and tomorrow

Like any responsible organization, we have a reserve fund, because it now costs nearly $2 billion per year to run St. Jude and the cost is estimated to grow to approximately $2.2 billion per year by 2027. Our pioneering research can take five to 10 years or more per project to complete and can cost millions. For instance, the St. Jude Pediatric Cancer Genome Project, which is revolutionizing how cancer is treated worldwide, has been underway since 2010 and has cost more than $100 million.

July 13, 2022 marked the beginning of the largest strategic investment in our 60-year history. The Six-Year St. Jude Strategic Plan commits $12.9 billion to focus on the expansion of patient care and clinical and laboratory-based research related to pediatric catastrophic illnesses, including work in:

  • cancer
  • blood disorders
  • neurological diseases
  • infectious diseases

The plan calls for:

  • 2,300 additional jobs
  • $2.3 billion in new construction, renovation and capital needs
  • the development of new research areas
  • $100 million in annual funding for global initiatives
  • more collaboration with other research institutions, focusing on areas with the greatest potential for pediatric cancer and catastrophic disease (by 2027, St. Jude plans to support 11 collaborations)

As part of the new plan, funds will go to multiple construction projects, including:

  • Domino’s Village, a 140-unit housing facility for patients and their families
  • Family Commons, a treatment-free zone for patients and their families within the hospital
  • two 15-story towers dedicated to patient care and clinical research

The $12.9 billion Six-Year Strategic Plan builds on the previous plan, which, at the time, was the largest expansion in the institution's history and resulted in $7 billion in investments. That plan included the Inspiration4 Advanced Research Center, a new $412 million, 625,000 square-foot facility cancer research center that opened in spring 2021. The center accommodates as many as 1,000 employees and will play a key role in the way the world understands, treats and defeats catastrophic illnesses of childhood and is a significant resource in how we treat and cure cancer. The research center has the latest technology in labs devoted to:

  • immunology
  • neurobiology
  • cell and molecular biology
  • gene editing
  • advanced microscopy
  • immunotherapy 
  • and other fields

We have committed to equip the brightest minds in science with the world's most sophisticated technologies and equipment so that we can continue to speed discoveries that will save children.

In addition to the new research facility, St. Jude made the initial investment of $100 million to help save more children globally when it launched St. Jude Global in 2018.

The mission of St. Jude Global is to improve the survival rates of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases worldwide through the sharing of knowledge, technology and organizational skills, especially in low- and middle-income countries where 4 of 5 children who develop cancer die of their disease. The World Health Organization named St. Jude its first and only Collaborating Centre for Childhood Cancer in March 2018. With the designation, St. Jude supports efforts to improve detection and treatment of childhood cancer around the globe, including a multimillion-dollar investment to create the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer with a goal to improve global survival rates for six of the most common forms of childhood cancer from 20% to 60% by 2030. St. Jude is also developing a multimillion-dollar global medicine distribution platform— in collaboration with the WHO and international organizations — to distribute an uninterrupted supply of anti-cancer drugs for childhood cancer treatment in low- and middle-income countries.

Curing catastrophic diseases in children is a multi-trillion dollar, multi-year problem and we must continue our work no matter what happens with the economy or in the event of a disaster. The public and our amazing partners make it possible for us to save children together. 


What we've accomplished with your support

Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall survival rate for childhood cancer from 20% when the hospital opened in 1962 to more than 80% today. In addition, St. Jude has achieved a 94% survival rate for ALL. The survival rate for ALL was only 4% when St. Jude opened in 1962. The survival rate for medulloblastoma, a type of brain tumor, is 85% today for average risk disease.

Despite all that progress, one in five children in the U.S. who are diagnosed with cancer will not survive. Globally, four in five children with cancer will not survive. St. Jude, ALSAC and our supporters are working hard to change this.

Our donor contributions have saved the lives of thousands of children, and we won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. 

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St. Jude has increased the survival rates for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) from 4% before opening in 1962 to 94% today.

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We’re proud that 82 cents of every dollar received from donations, research grants, insurance recoveries and investment returns goes to support the current and future needs of St. Jude.


St. Jude values transparency

St. Jude and ALSAC are governed by Boards that are responsible for approving our strategic plans and budgets, as well as reviewing our operational and financial performance.

St. Jude and ALSAC's annual reports are prepared according to generally-accepted accounting principles. They’re then reviewed annually by an audit committee made up of independent directors only, approved by our Board, and audited by an outside, independent public accounting firm, Deloitte.

Curing children with cancer is serious and difficult work. We pay competitive compensation to attract and retain the best doctors, scientists, nurses, health professionals and employees of all types. Compensation for our senior executives is determined by a compensation committee of Board members, composed entirely of independent directors who are advised by an outside, independent compensation expert. Our salaries target the 60th percentile of the markets where we compete for talent.


We're proud of the cultures of St. Jude and ALSAC. St. Jude was named on the list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by Fortune magazine for seven years in a row. In 2020, ALSAC was named as the best workplace for innovators by Fast Company, and in 2023 St. Jude was named one of the Best Places to Work by Glassdoor, as determined by our employees’ feedback throughout 2022.

Buildings on the St. Jude campus.

A view of the St. Jude campus