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Comunale Foundation contributing to local families battling cancer


The Stephen A. Comunale, Jr. Family Cancer Foundation has announced record-high grant allocations.

The Foundation is dedicated to helping patients and families that incur high medical costs and job interruption or loss due to cancer.

While dealing with cancer treatments, Stephen A. Comunale Jr., his family and friends observed repeated incidents of patients and families struggling financially due to the high cost of cancer. After his death in 2006, at age 27, the foundation was established in his name with a mission to help those struggling with basic financial needs. Today, the Foundation also honors Stephen’s mother, Jane Comunale, who died of cancer in 2011, and his aunt, Amy Comunale Klein, who died of cancer in 2007.

This year, the foundation will contribute $260,000 to ease the financial stress for families. Since its beginnings in April of 2006, the foundation has given $1.5 million in gifts. The Foundation’s Distribution Committee confidentially reviews grant applications twice a week and often responds within 48 hours to the applicants. All payments are made directly to vendors.

The largest share of this year’s record-high grant allocation will help cover urgent needs according to Executive Director of the Foundation Monica Stevens.

“We like to focus on our main mission, which is grants for financial assistance to make sure the basics are covered for families dealing with a cancer diagnosis,” she said. “We help with basic necessities, such as rent, gas and electricity. That is really our core mission.”

Stevens said 85 percent of the grant money awarded by the foundation is directed toward such essential needs for individuals and families in the Greater Akron area.

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