Joe Biden, former Vice President of the United States, started a foundation for cancer research in 2017. The nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for all types of cancer was inspired by Beau Biden, son of Joe and Jill Biden, who died of brain cancer in 2015. The foundation was supposed to be an extension of a program that began during the Obama presidency to help cancer research. Unfortunately, the Democratic presidential candidate has just announced that his foundation is suspending its operations immediately.
Reasons for the Shutdown
The foundation, called the Biden Cancer Initiative, recently issued a statement regarding its shutdown. Greg Simon, executive director of the foundation, said that everyone at the remained personally and deeply committed to finding a cure for cancer. However, the Initiative unique circumstances required them to stop what they are doing for the time being.
When questioned further about what was causing the total shutdown, Simon refused to give further details. Another employee of the foundation said that the problem was with ethical concerns surrounding Biden. Biden left the foundation when he announced his intention to run for president in 2020 this past April. Since then, the Biden Cancer Initiative has not been nearly as successful as it was previously.
Problems with Partnerships
A large part of why the foundation has been less successful more recently is because of its partners. Many decided to withdraw the funding they were putting forward for cancer research because they were afraid it could affect them ethically and politically. These partners included healthcare companies, drug firms, and other charities who were important contributors before Biden announced his run.
The reduced funding has been devastating to the nonprofit. While it did receive direct government funding for some of its operations, most of the money that supported the research partnerships came from the companies and organizations mentioned earlier. These contributions from these companies are often referred to as indirect pledges.
Ethical Concerns Around Biden
Biden has promoted these kinds of indirect pledge partnerships throughout the nonprofit’s existence. However, it was recently discovered that many of the nonprofit’s partners who engage in these sorts of partnerships also lobby the federal government for funding. This conflict of interest is probably what led to the ethical concerns of many of these companies.
Biden also recently gave a speech at a health technology firm in San Francisco who hosted a conference on cancer research. Biden’s son-in-law is the chief medical officer at that firm. Biden took the time to praise his son-in-law’s firm for their work, and also thanked an entrepreneur in attendance who had raised funds for his campaign. But when questioned about some of these ethically murky problems, Biden said he would keep his staff up to date on all ethical concerns. His campaign manager issued a similar statement.