2021 ISF Mission Impact

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ISF Continues to Impact Lives by Donating over $1.1 Million to Pediatric Cancer in 2021 

Written by ISF Marketing Team

“We raised $7,000 our first year and we thought we were so proud. Little did we know that one day we would be here – giving away a million dollars a year. I’m not sure I ever thought this day would come but now that it’s here I feel like it’s just the beginning.” – Erin Santos, Executive Director and Isabella’s Mom

2020 was a big year for us. It marked the first time in our foundation’s history that we were able to give away $1 million to our mission for rare pediatric cancers. With the support of our community and passion from our donors, we made a significant impact on each. Not to mention this milestone was achieved in one of the most unusual years we’ve ever experienced. The pandemic forced us to get creative and find ways to connect with you all from a distance. 

In 2021, during another back-to-back challenging year when many charities experienced a decline in donations, ISF reimagined their fundraising with an elevation in support. Not only did we once again meet this milestone of donating $1 million towards our mission, we passed it!

We are so proud, this is just as much your accomplishment as it is ours. In total, we donated $,1,118,945 towards our mission: 

2021 Giving Impact Breakdown:

💜BEAT Cancer: $880,000

💜GROW Hair: $200,000

💜LIVE My Dreams: $38,945

Last year created tremendous obstacles for charities around the country with fundraising heavily reliant on in-person events and beneficiary opportunities. Many of these could not take place, so we reinvented our focus and shifted towards establishing new programs. Thinking outside of the box was a must for survival, and the traditional mindset of fundraising took a backseat in order for new funding paths to emerge. Additionally, the emphasis turned to obtaining support from businesses that were thriving, growing individual peer-to-peer opportunities in new ways, partnering with philanthropic grantmakers, and collaborating with tribute/legacy cancer families. We have learned so many new things and made the decision to look at the endless challenges as opportunities to reimagine ISF. And we did just that, this past year changed the foundation for the better.

We now head into our 15th anniversary year, and have set even bigger goals. It’s time to take everything we have learned, try more new things as we get back to events, and kick into high gear for all the kids fighting rare cancers.

Dr. Oesterheld & Dr. Sholler


Our BEAT Cancer mission program is aimed at improving treatments and solutions for lasting impact and 70% of our mission’s efforts go towards this program. Funds raised through this program go directly to Atrium Health Levine Children’s to help continue growing the Isabella Santos Foundation Rare & Solid Tumor Program supporting rare pediatric cancer research.

Through our BEAT mission category last year, we donated $880,000 to continue helping Levine Children’s build The ISF Rare & Solid Tumor Program. This program is exceeding expectations as kids fighting rare cancers flood to Charlotte for treatment. Families looking for options have traveled from dozens of countries. Along with Dr. Sholler’s arrival came a pediatric cancer research lab where dozens of clinical trials have opened and more are on the horizon. This program is reaching new heights and is becoming exactly what we set out to do… provide HOPE for kids fighting cancer around the region, country, and the world.  With this donation to Levine Children’s, we were able to fund several vital roles to support the structure of the program.  All thanks to you, we appreciate your support in helping us build a program that is giving families hope.


Kids fighting cancer desperately need safer and more effective cancer treatments. That’s why our GROW mission categories primary aim is to strengthen treatments for rare pediatric cancers. Funds for this program make up 20% of our focus as a foundation, and is granted to national institutions that support research and important clinical trials. In 2021 we donated $200,000 to these efforts in order to continue improving trials and studies for better pediatric cancer outcomes.  


We believe that helping children and families going through a pediatric cancer diagnosis is extremely important. Our LIVE mission helps support the various struggles that come with these challenges. Struggles that include anything from counseling services, dental needs, hearing aids, scholarships, activities, and more. With the $38,945 we were able to donate to this mission category last year, we were able to do just that. 

We are beyond proud of these accomplishments, and cannot wait to see what lies ahead this new year. We truly could not do it without the support and dedication of our supporters!


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