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‘Cancer Does Not Stop for Anything’

When she took on the role of CEO/President of the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation (FBCF) in January 2020, Tracy Jacim’s previous career as a broadcast journalist had prepared her to always brace for the unexpected. 

So when COVID brought the world to a grinding halt two months later and upended everyone’s daily routines, she was ready to take on the all-new challenges of a pandemic while still leading her team in their fight for a cure. 

“Breast cancer does not stop for anything, so neither did we,” Jacim points out. “I’m really proud of our staff for their openness to adapting, and I’m proud of our partners and volunteers for sticking with us and giving us their support. Because of them, we’ve excelled in our mission.” 

While nonprofits have certainly navigated a bumpy 18 months of unprecedented difficulties, Jacim says that FBCF is actually coming off a banner year. It’s exactly the solid beginning she wanted to establish before launching this year’s growth strategies.

“We had our best year to date during the pandemic,” she says. “Last year, we laid a foundation to address this new reality and its new challenges. This year, we’re building on that success: This coming year FBCF we’ll grant out nearly an additional $300,000 which means, true to our driving goal, we will be helping even more women, men and families who need it.”  

In addition to the grants FBCF provides to both the scientific research community, the educational grants it gives to other nonprofits and the foundation’s own educational outreach efforts, Jacim is excited about her organization’s “rapidly expanding programs.”

“We want to support ongoing education within our community so people can reduce their risks of getting breast cancer,” she says. “Ninety percent of breast cancer cases are not hereditary, they’re environmental. While we don’t know exactly what those environmental factors are, we do know some things: what you eat, whether or not you breastfed your children, if you drink a lot, if you don’t exercise, all these things can affect your risk.”

The foundation also provides direct service grants that provide mammograms to individuals in need, for the first time this year FBCF will also fund nonprofits that supply medical items like wigs and lymphedema compression sleeves, and they will continue to offer grants to bridge the gap in insurance that might cover cancer treatments but not corollary ones. Those grants also go to other nonprofits that have the mechanisms in place to help cover living expenses for cancer patients currently in treatment. “They already have enough to worry about: They shouldn’t have to worry about keeping a roof over their families’ heads, too,” says Jacim.  

She adds that a primary pillar of FBCF’s efforts is being as hands-on and proactively supportive as possible, as a guiding force and helping hand can make all the difference.

“When we help someone, we don’t just point someone to getting a mammogram or give them educational information and then they’re on their own,” she says. “We are all about supporting them for as long as they need us.” 

The signature education program FBCF sponsors is a prime example of how the foundation is determined to provide a “full continuum of care.” Founded by a breast cancer survivor, MASS (Mammograms After Sunday Service) focuses its efforts on underserved segments of population, partnering with trusted spiritual leaders to educate as many women—and men—as possible about the necessity of preventative screenings that can dramatically increase their likelihood of beating breast cancer, as well as connect them with helpful state programs.

“Early diagnosis is key: If breast cancer is found early, your chances of survival are amazing with current technology and medical advancements,” Jacim affirms. “We’re partnered with the state of Florida so as long as they get their mammogram under the umbrella of that Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, their continuum of care is covered by the state.” 

FBCF is an avid, ardent supporter of numerous other initiatives, too. Key partnerships include Pickups for Breast Cancer, a free service that picks up donations of gently used clothing and household items, ensuring a portion of those proceeds helps fund breast cancer education, scientific research, advocacy and direct service programs in Florida.   FBCF also has a campaign with the state where each $30 purchase of an End Breast Cancer license plate garners $25 to the foundation to fund breast cancer research and education programs in the state.

Dedication to the cause, operational transparency and fiscal efficiency keep earning FBCF the kind of stellar ratings that make nonprofit-assessment organization Charity Navigator laud it as a foundation that donors can support with confidence. And as the foundation runs headlong toward a future Jacim is excited about, that’s one thing she knows won’t ever change.

“That ranking is what we hang our hat on,” she says. “Even though we’re a statewide organization, our 100% for accountability and transparency makes us the number-one-rated breast cancer organization in the country. We are super proud of it and it is the compass by which we operate when we make decisions. We want to maintain that high level of accountability and transparency.”


Florida Breast Cancer Foundation
South Florida office: 11900 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 288, North Miami | (305) 631-2134
Central Florida office: 1755 Oviedo Mall Blvd., Oviedo | (321) 972-5534