Two charities focused on prostate cancer announced they will merge, with a timeline to complete the consolidation by September.
The combined organization will operate under the name of ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, its 501(c)3 designation, brand, logo, and website from its Alexandria, Va. headquarters. The name and assets of Us TOO will remain in place for the Des Plaines, Ill.-based support group program which includes more than 200 support groups across North America.
The boards of directors at both organizations signed a letter of intent to merge the two prostate cancer nonprofits by the end of September, which is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Four of Us TOO’s 13 board members will join the ZERO board, which currently has 12 members, to bring the total to 16. Remaining Us TOO board members will be asked to serve on other ZERO leadership bodies, such as a Medical Advisory Board, Caregiver Advisory Board and Racial Disparities Task Force.
ZERO is the larger of the two organizations, with 48 employees and an annual budget of $8.5 million. It was recognized in the 2020 edition of The NonProfit Times’ annual Best Nonprofits To Work For, ranking No. 12 among 50 organizations, and No. 5 among small nonprofits (15 to 49 employees). It also ranked No. 9 overall and No. 4 among small nonprofits in 2019. Us TOO has a $1.3-million annual budget and its five employees will join ZERO as remote staff from its Des Plaines, Ill. office.
Both organizations have deep and substantial relationships and reach within urology practices, cancer centers, and medical professionals across the country. With complementary efforts, the organizations have successfully partnered over the past decades on numerous educational, support, and advocacy programs to help patients and their families. Active discussions started last fall on how to work more closely together. Us Too will mark its 30th anniversary and ZERO will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year.
“The merging of ZERO and Us TOO will provide critical and necessary resources and support to more prostate cancer patients, survivors, and families than ever before,” ZERO President and CEO Jamie Bearse said via a statement announcing the merger. “By combining our respective prostate cancer services into a single, stronger, and streamlined organization, we’ll have significantly more impact nationwide.”
As ZERO and Us TOO work to complete the merger, each organization’s respective scheduled slate of events will continue, including ZERO’s Racial Disparities Symposium and Run/Walks, Us TOO’s SEA Blue Walk, virtual support groups meetings, and regular educational webinars.
The organizations estimate that nearly 250,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. The unification of two prostate cancer organizations will provide a new comprehensive support system for prostate cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. In addition, the merged entity will increase prostate cancer awareness and advance research and access to care through a united advocacy platform.
Marrying ZERO’s established patient support programs and chapter infrastructure with Us TOO’s more than 200 volunteer-led support groups across the country will equip prostate cancer patients and families with a greater array of support including case management services, transportation, and local support resources.
Additionally, the fusion of both ZERO and Us TOO’s education initiatives will make a stronger and more comprehensive curriculum with expansive outreach to inform patients on important issues including ever-developing treatment options, early detection and active surveillance, diagnostics, survivorship, and emotional and physical well-being.