Our Story

WES Leukemia Research Foundation is a Duluth, GA based 501(c)3, nonprofit charity established by the Smith family after their 22 year-old son, Wes, succumbed to leukemia in 2005. The Foundation's primary purpose is that of collecting and distributing funds for leukemia research. 

The WES Foundation makes proceeds available to fund laboratory based leukemia research. There are thousands of charities where you can choose to send your hard earned dollars. The Foundation recognizes that choice exists and, that to deserve your consideration, the dollars you contribute must be distributed in the most judicious fashion to ultimately fund the research necessary to find a cure. Here’s how that is accomplished.

The WES Foundation has selected an Advisory Board of medical professionals to determine the most productive research recipients. These research professionals provide an invaluable service to the Foundation by judging the requests we receive and choosing the most innovative, responsible and financially judicious research recipients for funding.
 
In May of 2007, the WES Foundation Advisory Board chose the first recipients for research grants from the foundation. They are Dr. Meir Wetzler of Roswell Park Cancer Center in Buffalo, NY and Dr. Jian-Ming Li of Emory University’s Winship Cancer Center in Atlanta. To find out more, click on the Research Funded tab for descriptions of their biographies, proposals and research institutions.
 
The WES Foundation intends to be different. Technically, charities need only to distribute about 15% of the proceeds collected to charitable causes to be considered a bona fide charity.  In fact, the goal of the WES Foundation is to spend less than 20% on the administrative cost of the fund, with the balance, a full 80%, either going directly to research or into the endowment of the Foundation to build critical mass and earn interest for distribution of future research grants. To keep administrative costs down to that level, it will be necessary to either collect large amounts of contributions each year or develop the endowment to a size that supports the normal cost of operation and still provides more dollars for research. By establishing an endowment, the interest earned provides continuing income for funding research and will, in time, allow the Foundation to make substantial contributions in that regard. The WES Foundation was started with a rather generous contribution to that endowment. The establishment of the endowment at such an early date in the formation of the Foundation provides management the opportunity to properly diversify the investments of the endowment for the highest overall return balanced against the lowest relative risk. With that assurance, you can have the comfort of knowing that your contribution will benefit leukemia research for years to come.