Stand Up To Cancer Announces Appointment Of Its First Executive Director Diane Balma - Stand Up To Cancer


Posted April 27, 2009

Stand Up To Cancer Announces Appointment Of Its First Executive Director Diane Balma

April 27, 2009 – Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), the charitable initiative created to fund groundbreaking research aimed at getting new treatments to patients in an accelerated time frame, today announced the appointment of Diane L. Balma as its first Executive Director.

Formerly Vice President of Strategic Relations at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Balma is herself a cancer survivor and will serve and collaborate with the nine-member SU2C Executive Leadership Committee (ELC). “We are proud to welcome Diane Balma, a highly respected executive with the skill and passion to refine Stand Up To Cancer’s strategy and help take this still relatively young initiative to the next level,” said Lisa Paulsen, a member of the ELC and President & Chief Executive Officer of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF). “Diane has a terrific blend of experience in fundraising, public awareness, advocacy, and policy as it relates to cancer research. The breadth of her background is a wonderful fit with our core mission: raising funds for teams of investigators who will work together to translate science from basic research in the lab to new treatments in the clinic in record time.”

Stand Up To Cancer’s distinctive research funding model is designed to eliminate barriers that have traditionally inhibited creativity and collaboration by enabling scientists from different institutions across the country and internationally to work together on Dream Teams. Since its inception in May, 2008, SU2C has raised over $100 million. A prestigious Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) has been working with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to select the first round of Dream Team grants, which will be announced this Spring. SU2C monies will also be used for some high-risk, high-impact individual cancer research projects, which are often not supported by conventional funding sources.

Widely known for an historic September 5, 2008 telecast that aired simultaneously on ABC, CBS and NBC, SU2C was established by a group of media, entertainment and philanthropic leaders whose lives have all been affected by cancer, and is administered by the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit group that serves as a collective charitable organization for the film and television businesses.

“SU2C is closely connected to the entertainment community, and that provides a unique platform to make people all over the country aware that they can make a difference in this fight,” noted Laura Ziskin, an award-winning film and television producer, who executive produced last year’s SU2C fundraising special, and an ELC member. “We want to draw on that asset wisely to help achieve a goal shared with so many cancer advocacy groups – expediting the process through which new and better treatments get from the ‘bench to the bedside’. Diane’s long-standing relationships with so many organizations in this field will help ensure that SU2C’s unique resources are utilized effectively to benefit those struggling with cancer, as well as those who will face a diagnosis in the future,” said Ziskin.

“I am honored to become a member of the Stand Up To Cancer team. Increasing the amount of translational research that gets done in this country is, in my view, central to winning the war on cancer. In that respect, I think the SU2C mandate is truly visionary. I am excited about working side-by-side with the ELC; SU2C’s partner, the American Association for Cancer Research; the superb leaders of SU2C’s Scientific Advisory Committee; the 25 member organizations that are part of SU2C’s Advocate Advisory Council, and the larger cancer advocacy community,” said Diane Balma.

“We’re very excited about Diane’s appointment,” said Dr. Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research. “This represents a major step forward for an initiative that has achieved a remarkable record of success in its first year of operations. Diane brings a wide range of experience and expertise to Stand Up To Cancer. It’s particularly important because we are on the threshold of announcing the first round of Dream Team grant recipients and launching what is an extraordinary commitment to cutting-edge translational research.”

Balma enjoyed a successful career as one of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s most respected leaders from 1998-2008, filling many roles during her tenure, including Vice President of Public Policy and most recently, Vice President of Strategic Relations. In the latter role, she was charged with cultivating new strategic alliances and relationships to promote Komen for the Cure’s domestic and global growth. Balma also served on Komen’s senior leadership team, mixing her knowledge of policy issues with strategic development to forge collaborative relationships throughout the cancer community.

Before joining Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Balma worked as a litigator in the San Francisco Bay Area. A California native, she received her J.D. from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law.

Balma joins SU2C as of May 1 and will be based in Los Angeles.


Stand Up To Cancer’s Executive Leadership Council includes Laura Ziskin, executive producer of the September 5th SU2C broadcast, who is a cancer survivor; Sherry Lansing, who is the Chairperson of the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Board of Directors and founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation; EIF President & CEO Lisa Paulsen; as well as Katie Couric; Noreen Fraser, founder of the Noreen Fraser Foundation (NFF) and a cancer survivor; EIF Vice President Kathleen Lobb; Rusty Robertson and Sue Schwartz of the Robertson Schwartz Agency; and nonprofit executive Ellen Ziffren.

Stand Up To Cancer’s major contributors include the country’s single largest individual supporter of cancer research, Sidney Kimmel, who pledged $25 million during the telecast, as well as lead donor Major League Baseball, who made a $10 million commitment. Other major supporters include Amgen, AARP, Bloomberg Philanthropies, GlaxoSmithKline, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Wallis Annenberg & The Annenberg Foundation, Alliance for Global Good, New York Giants, Milken Family Foundation, Philips Electronics, Steve Tisch, The Island Def Jam Music Group and many others. In addition to ABC, CBS and NBC, SU2C major media partners include AOL, Condé Nast Media Group, eBay Inc., Facebook, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., Hearst Corporation, Los Angeles Times, Meredith Corporation, The New York Times Company, Time Inc., and WebMD.

For additional information on Stand Up To Cancer, visit


New developments in the laboratory are revealing the way cancer begins, progresses and spreads. Stand Up To Cancer is founded on the belief that now, more than ever, there is sufficient knowledge of the basic science of cancer, and that the technologies are finally available to translate this knowledge into real advances in treatment and prevention. Today’s cancer scientists are on the verge of life-saving discoveries. But what they desperately need are the funds required to mount an all-out assault. Stand Up To Cancer is dedicated to providing this much needed new source of support for cancer research.

Funding will be provided to Dream Teams (interdisciplinary, multi-institutional translational and clinical research teams responsible for conducting collaborative, novel, groundbreaking cancer research projects addressing critical problems in patient care and delivering near-term patient benefit) as well as for Innovative Research grants, to be awarded to individuals.

The American Association for Cancer Research conducts expert scientific review of the Stand Up To Cancer research projects and administers funds raised through the initiative under the direction of a Scientific Advisory Committee.


The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), the collective philanthropic organization for the television and film businesses, has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to support programs addressing critical health, education and social issues.

# # #

Media Contacts:

Thomas Chiodo
Rubenstein Communications
212-843-8289 / 917-714-6670


Sign up to receive emails from Stand Up To Cancer.
   Please leave this field empty
Stand Up to Cancer

Thanks for signing up!
You will hear from us soon.