Make a Difference In Style with The Isabella Santos Foundation

Article by Rachel Wood | Photography by Isabella Santos Foundation

Originally published in South Charlotte City Lifestyle Magazine, pg 30-31

Founded in 2007 and local to South Charlotte, The Isabella Santos Foundation (ISF) was created by the parents of Isabella Santos who passed away from a rare cancer at seven years old. Fifteen years later, Isabella’s mom and ISF Executive Director, Erin Santos, leads a team of 7 women who work every day in her daughter’s name.

On most days you can find the women of ISF holding meetings from their kitchen tables or in the school carpool line. Several team members have been with the foundation since the early days, some are new. But each of them has their own reasons for working for a pediatric cancer charity, and are die-hard passionate about making a difference for kids fighting like Isabella.


In its 15th year, ISF is celebrating its successes with several events. The foundation has donated just over $1 Million for two consecutive years and is hoping they will be able to beat those give-back numbers with the comeback of in-person events. Earlier this year, ISF held a Women’s event that raised $190,000, as well as a Golf Tournament raising $70,000. Both events were hosted in the South Charlotte area. Coming up is their 5K/10K for Kids Cancer 15th Anniversary Event presented by Hendrick Luxury Group on Saturday, October 15th. This event includes a 5K,10K, Fun Run, Brunch (with additional fee), kid’s zone, and raffle!

But if you need a reason to get dressed up and help ISF celebrate in style, here’s your chance. The foundation invites you to join them for their Black and White Bowtie Ball on Saturday, November 12th at the Ballantyne Hotel. Put on your best black and white formal attire and get ready for an evening with dinner, live music, dancing, and the best auction in Charlotte to support research programs supporting kids fighting rare cancers at Levine Children’s.  

“We raised $7,000 during the foundation’s first year and 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

ISF has donated more than $6 million to its mission which has been carried out both locally and nationally through funding several pediatric cancer initiatives. The Foundation is most proud of what they are building here in Charlotte, the Isabella Santos Foundation Rare & Solid Tumor Program which is the first of its kind in the country. This program, established in 2020, provides the most comprehensive care and treatments for pediatric cancer in our community and across the globe. All in Isabella’s legacy.


Isabella fought cancer for 5 years and simply ran out of treatment options. This is the case for so many other kids who are diagnosed with rare cancers. Childhood cancer is not just one disease. It is made up of 12 major types & over 100 subtypes and rare cancers fall into the category with little to no funding. It’s up to private foundations like ISF to raise funds for research and programs.


The Isabella Santos Foundation is celebrating its 15th Anniversary with upcoming events including their 15th Anniversary 5K/10K for Kids Cancer presented by Hendrick Luxury Group on October 15th and the ISF Black & White Bowtie Ball on November 12th.  All proceeds benefit pediatric cancer and the ISF Rare and Solid Tumor Program at Levine Children’s Hospital. For more information or to make a donation, visit To become a sponsor at either event, contact