The Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan has changed its name more than 60 years after its services outgrew what its branding implied.
Effective immediately, the foundation, based in Farmington Hills, is changing its name to The Blood Cancer Foundation of Michigan. The name change reflects the organization’s larger mission and focus, which is to support any patient or family member in the state affected by any type of blood cancer or precancerous blood condition. This includes leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and other blood-related diseases.
“Our new name strengthens and helps us grow our roots to support additional patients and their families,” says Heidi Grix, president and CEO of The Blood Cancer Foundation of Michigan. “The Blood Cancer Foundation of Michigan is dedicated to empowering patients and families to cope and heal – from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, and beyond. We’ve been tailoring programs and services that meet their acute emotional, social, and financial needs for decades, and now we have a name that better identifies our work and connects with those who need us.”
The foundation was established in 1952 with the goal of helping children with leukemia. In 1957, it expanded its services to patients with other types of blood cancer, including adults, as well as family members.
“After years of questioning whether we should change our name, we feel the time is right now, based on feedback from key stakeholders,” Grix says. “We believe our new name will make it easier for adult patients and patients with all forms of blood cancer to find our organization and that it will help us attract and establish partnerships with new sources for patient referrals and funding.”
Preparation for the name change began a year ago when the foundation partnered with Royal Oak’s Berline, a marketing, advertising, and digital communications agency, to conduct market research and finalize messaging. In addition to internal strategy sessions, interviews were conducted with patients, families, referral sources, and past, current, and prospective donors. The research showed that the brand created confusion and that a change was necessary.
“After extensive research and planning, we are excited to announce our new name, which more accurately reflects our mission and work,” says Jim Berline, chairman of BERLINE and board chair of The Blood Cancer Foundation of Michigan. “This change represents a new chapter for our organization and sets the stage for The Blood Cancer Foundation of Michigan to expand its presence and services in the years to come.”
The foundation, which is funded entirely by philanthropy, has faced financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, experiencing a 35 percent reduction in funding due to the cancellation of the spring fundraising season.
“Fortunately, we have carefully invested funds to ensure there are resources available for downswings in philanthropic giving. I am pleased to report that we are standing on solid financial ground,” Grix says. “Our transition to remote service delivery was quick and seamless. Also, we did not reduce any programs, with the exception of in-person events that were on schedule.”
The foundation is working to ensure blood cancer patients and families will continue to be supported through the pandemic.