St. Jude loses fundraising icon

David L. McKee, chief operating officer, ALSAC/St. Jude

Memphis, Tennessee (August 18, 2012) – David L. McKee, longtime chief operating officer who for 35 years helped lead ALSAC, the fundraising organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, passed away Friday evening after a car accident in the Memphis area.

McKee joined ALSAC in 1977 and served in a variety of leadership roles during his years at ALSAC, including as interim chief executive officer, chief operating officer and senior executive vice president. He was instrumental in the creation of a number of fundraising programs and initiatives, including starting the St. Jude Country Cares radio program.

“David McKee was so much more than one of the world’s great philanthropic leaders,” said Rick Shadyac, ALSAC CEO. “He was a dear friend and mentor to me and many others who worked with him during his 35-year career at ALSAC. He also was a passionate advocate for the patients of St. Jude and for children everywhere who have benefitted from our work. We have lost one of the icons of our organization, and his family is in our hearts and prayers.”

McKee was named the recipient of the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award by Fundraising Success magazine. He helped lead the organization to record growth and its current status as the second largest health care charity.

Details about services will be made available once they are finalized.

About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital:
Since opening 50 years ago, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has changed the way the world treats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. No family ever pays St. Jude for the care their child receives and, for every child treated here, thousands more have been saved worldwide through St. Jude discoveries. The hospital has played a pivotal role in pushing U.S. pediatric cancer survival rates from 20 to 80 percent overall, and is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted to children. It is also a leader in the research and treatment of blood disorders and infectious diseases in children. St. Jude was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, who believed that no child should die in the dawn of life. Join that mission by visiting or following us on and

Angela Richmond
ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital