How One Fashion Brand has Ramped Up and Promoted its Cancer Research Funding

Around the holiday season, lots of companies start thinking about giving to charity, but what about the other 11 months of the year? One fashion brand, Geoffrey Beene, has been working hard to burnish and expand its image from a department store shirt and tie designer to a philanthropic powerhouse.

Through its foundation programs and initiatives, this company funds initial-stage, out-of-the-box research for treatments and prevention for all cancers, as well as awareness and research for Alzheimer's and heart disease. Geoffrey Beene’s fall/winter 2015 advertising campaign, starring Saturday Night Live writer and cast member Colin Jost, really drove home the point that 100 percent of GB's net proceeds go to the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

GB supports other causes, too, including women and children, veterans, and animals, but cancer support is No. 1 on the list. Geoffrey Beene was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in 2000 and passed away from the disease. Geoffrey Beene Foundation’s Trustee and CEO G. Thompson Hutton told Fashion Times, "He continued to design and do the things he loved to do, but during that period, he did have bouts where he got very sick. I would visit with him in the hospital, and he would really express his frustration about how we could send men to the moon and have all these technological advances but cancer, in many respects, we hadn't made a lot of progress with. I told him that if he would allow me, I would try to do something that would make his name as important in the scientific world as it is in the fashion world."

The recent season’s fashion line featured the biggest promotions of the company’s philanthropy, which has stayed relatively under the radar until now. The company hired the CoolGraySeven ad agency to spread the word about the founder’s legacy and the brand’s commitment to preventing and treating cancer.

Countless research studies show that compared to older generations, millenials pay attention to how the brands they wear give back. Feeling good about the brands you wear has become a big part of fashion advertising these days. The GB ads featured the tagline, “GBGB Geoffrey Beene Gives Back.”

According to fashion magazine Womens Wear Daily's coverage this past summer:

Among the breakthroughs from Beene’s cancer research funding are molecular diagnostics for targeted therapies; possible new treatments for pancreatic cancer, various leukemias, liver cancer and methods of combating breast cancer metastasis to the brain. Beene’s funds support advanced research initiatives and labs, the establishment of senior and junior faculty chairs, graduate fellowships, the annual Geoffrey Beene Symposium and the annual Geoffrey Beene Research Retreat.

The Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center was established in 2006, and the total value in combined funding to date from Geoffrey Beene is $144 million. To learn more about Geoffrey Beene’s support for cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease, check out IP’s full profile: Geoffrey Been Foundation: Grants for Disease.