Skip to main content

Our unique operating model

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

 
 

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 operate St. Jude. In the years ahead, an estimated 87% 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—because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Although we accept insurance, St. Jude is a research hospital, so many of the treatment and services we provide are not covered by insurance and will not be in the future.

 
 
Our unique operating model icon

In the years ahead, an estimated 87% of the funds necessary to sustain and grow St. Jude must be raised from generous donors.

 
 

The treatments for pediatric cancer can last up to three years or more and cost on average $425,000, 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 hospitals in the world, St. Jude treats about 8,600 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 normal 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 four housing facilities with nearly 300 rooms specifically designed and managed by us for families of children with cancer and other diseases. Construction of a new housing facility containing an additional 140 units is underway.

At St. Jude, we pay for all treatment; travel for a patient and a parent; housing for up to four in a family with options for bigger accommodations; and a daily food allowance for our cafeteria as well as food gift cards so families can prepare meals in one of our three housing facilities. Our onsite school allows patients to keep up with their school program back home. We offer numerous other services for our families, including psychosocial help for caregivers and siblings coping with a child’s cancer diagnosis; child life specialists, concierge services to help families with everyday tasks like delivering groceries, translation help for those who do not speak English as a first language, babysitting and much more. 

Planning for the needs of today and tomorrow

Like any responsible organization, we have a reserve fund, because it now costs nearly $1.2 billion per year to operate St. Jude and the cost is estimated to grow to more than $1.8 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.

On March 25, 2021 the St. Jude Board of Governors approved the largest strategic investment in our nearly 60-year history, committing $11.5 billion during the next six years. The Six-Year St. Jude Strategic Plan focuses 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 and infectious diseases. The plan calls for an additional 1,400 jobs; the expenditure of $1.9 billion in new construction, renovation and capital needs; and the development of new research areas.

The new 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 a new $412 million cancer research center currently under construction and expected to open in spring 2021. This facility 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 will have 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, including efforts to raise global childhood cancer survival rates for six of the most common forms of childhood cancer from 20% to 60% by 2030. This includes a multi-million-dollar investment St. Jude made with World Health Organization after WHO selected St. Jude to be its first and only WHO collaborating center for childhood cancer. Over the next six years, St. Jude will more than triple its investment in international efforts coordinated through St. Jude Global and the St. Jude Global Alliance, representing an investment of more than $470 million. St. Jude is also developing a multimillion-dollar Pediatric Cancer Global Drug Access Program – in collaboration with the WHO, other UN Agencies 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, up from 4% in 1962, and the survival rate for medulloblastoma, a type of brain tumor, increased from 10 percent to 85% today.

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 in low- and middle-income countries will not survive. St. Jude, ALSAC and our supporters are working hard to change this.

 
St. Jude research icon

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

 
 

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

Transparency is important to us

St. Jude and ALSAC are governed by a Board which is responsible for approving our strategic plans and budgets as well as reviewing our operational and financial performance. The ALSAC and St. Jude annual financial reports are prepared according to generally accepted accounting principles; 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 have to 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 our Board made up of independent directors only who are advised by an outside, independent compensation expert. Our salaries fall within the 50–75 percentile of the market average for organizations of similar size and scope.

We are proud of the cultures of St. Jude and ALSAC. St. Jude was named on the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by Fortune magazine for seven years in a row and named in the Top 50 Best Workplaces for Diversity list by Fortune as well. ALSAC was named in 2020 by Fast Company as the best workplace for innovators. The morale in our organizations and enthusiasm for our mission have never been higher.

Questions?

Contact us at annual.report@stjude.org or see our financial statements for more information, and learn more about why you should support St. Jude.