Who thinks about funding models?

We do! We do!

When you start a non profit, the term “funding model” isn’t really the first thing on your mind.  Neither is charter, bylaws, accounting software, or endowment, but it turns out that you learn a whole lot when you start a non profit.

It’s fascinating, but I won’t bore you with my nerdy tendencies.

Except to say that when you’re raising money for research, then funding models become very important.  You see, it turns out that events like the annual TE5K are pricey.  Whoever thought up portapots was a serious genius, but man, those things can sap your profits, especially when you include race timing, t-shirts, course fees, etc.

Last week we dropped off a $10,000 check to Trevecca Nazarene University for esophageal cancer research.  It was one of the easiest checks I’ve ever written, but it’s really hard to write a check for t-shirts or portapots when we know what that money could be doing.

Turns out there is a more successful funding model for small non-profits.  Something called peer-to-peer fundraising.  What is that you ask?  Let me illustrate it for you.  A friend of Team Emmett asked to raise money for research by participating in a triathlon.  She’s going to train and compete while raising money for Team Emmett.  That is peer-to-peer fundraising.

Now you don’t have to be a star athlete to raise funds.  You simply set a goal, use one of your talents, or host an event.  Our friend Catherine is doing a triathlon, but last year someone hosted a spaghetti supper at their church and donated the money to Team Emmett.  Have a New Year’s resolution to lose weight? Bike across the country? Like to cook? Enjoy throwing a party? Just get creative and ask people to sponsor you.

So why not weave a little charity work into accomplishing those New Year’s resolutions?  If you’re interested in raising money for Team Emmett by running, cooking, hosting a party, making a CD, or setting up a lemonade stand, then check out the possibilities here.  Contact us with your ideas and we’ll help you get started.

If you can’t host your own event, then check out the upcoming events here, and donate to a worthy cause.

Join the team and make a difference while you accomplish your goals.


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Great News!

I’m so excited it’s hard to write this because I keep wanting to get up and do a happy dance.

We’ve been working, reading, meeting, thinking, talking, and collaborating, but Team Emmett is excited to announce its first donation to esophageal cancer research!

Associate Professor Alisha Russell from Trevecca Nazarene University here in Nashville has been awarded the first ever Team Emmett research grant for $10,000.  She has a PhD in Cancer Biology from Vanderbilt University and is passionate about steering the best and brightest students into cancer research by giving undergraduates the opportunity to work in the lab doing ground breaking research.  Her overall goal is to, “improve treatment options for esophageal cancer patients by understanding the response of esophageal cancer cell lines to molecularly targeted therapeutics while inspiring the next generation of researchers to do the same, and educating future healthcare workers on the importance of research.”

They will be expanding their work on cancer cells into esophageal cancer research for the first time, studying a drug that targets the HER2 receptor in certain lines of esophageal cancer.  I’d go into more detail, but it involves a lot of words I’m not sure I can pronounce, much less spell.  If you’re interested in reading the research proposal, simply email me at, and I’ll be happy to send you a copy.  You can check out some highlights of what they’ve already been doing with breast cancer cells in the latest issue of the Treveccan (page 7).

Research is why we’re here.  Research is what we fund.  Research is what will save lives.

Keep reading below to find out more about Alisha and her team.  If you’d like to give directly to her research in esophageal cancer, you can make your donation through Team Emmett, and simply note Trevecca in the special instructions section or send me an email if you’re interested in connecting with Trevecca directly.

Below is a picture of Alisha with some of her students.  Form left to right: Anthony Dikhtyar (senior double biology chemistry major), Dr. Alisha Russell (Associate Professor of Biology), Briana Corzine (senior double biology chemistry major), and Eeleyah Singh (sophomore biology major).


Here are some quotes from Alisha and her students about the opportunity to expand their research into esophageal cancer:

Alisha: “I’m so thankful to be able to educate my students regarding cancer, especially esophageal cancer, and to introduce them to research so that they know its importance and have an opportunity to know if it is what God has called them to do as a career.  For those that go on to become physician assistants, doctors, or nurses I want them to understand how research contributes to their field, and, hopefully to contribute to clinical research.”

Eeleyah: “It (stopping  esophageal cancer) can be done.  It is a stepwise process and I’m glad to be starting.  I can’t believe that thanks to this grant I get to spend this coming summer working  on researching esophageal cancer – is not just cool, it’s COOL!”

Briana: “Researching diseases is what I want to pursue as my carreer.  Having the opportunity to do undergraduate research at Trevecca has opened the doors for me at the University of Kansas and Vanderbilt. I’m so excited to look at esophageal cancer cell lines and discover something about the disease that no one has researched before!”

Anthony: “Cancer research, aside from its practical importance in contributing to science, has given me an opportunity to think critically and solve problems with other students.  It has given me valuable insight into the process of discovery and what it means to be a scientist in general.  As a future MD I look forward to working with researchers.”


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Sharing your story

Here at Team Emmett, we are passionate about telling people’s stories.  For several months now we’ve been putting together a way for people to share their stories to encourage, inspire, and motivate.  I am so happy to announce that the story portion of the website is up and running!

Check out the featured stories here.

Check out the story submission pages here.

Pass these links along to people you know who’ve been affected by esophageal cancer.  We’d love to hear more stories of amazing people.


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Yes! Yes! and Yes!

I love this blog post by a breast cancer survivor.  This quote made me even say, “hallelujah!” out loud:

“What is most unfortunate is that well-meaning people are willing to buy pink products, even pay a little extra, because they think they are helping to do something to “cure” breast cancer or to provide “hope” to breast cancer patients.  Why is this sad?  Because those dollars spent on pink flowers, pink shirts, or a pink box of crackers or spaghetti sauce could be going to research, our only real “hope” of beating this horrible disease.”

I love what breast cancer advocates have done to help women.  I love how women have rallied for change in the last few decades and made a difference.  But I am grieved that we have commercialized people’s desire to help others, using compassion to push a product.

The message of this cancer survivor, of millions of bereaved, of millions of struggling is this: research gives hope of a cure.  Give to research and give to hope.  Save the extra $5 you’re spending on that pink trash can and send it in to your local cancer hospital or university, earmarked for cancer research.  Therein lies the real hope for a cure.

So keep your eyes open for an exciting announcement from Team Emmett coming your way soon.

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I don’t know about you, but I have slept a lot these past couple weeks after such a great race!  We’ve been working on the books and are about to meet as a board to decide on the first research donation to give at the end of this year.  There is still time to donate if you want your money to go towards a cure!  Just see the donation section of our website.

Also we are collecting stories to debut a new stories section of our website.  Have you or someone you loved been affected by esophageal cancer?  Email us your story at  We’d love to put it up as part of a rotating group of stories.  And don’t worry if you’re nervous about writing.  We’ll help you polish your story, so send it on in!

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Pictures are up!

Check out the TE5K pictures here!

There are some beautiful smiling faces crossing that finish line.  Check for yours in there today!

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Race Results are In!!

The race results are in!  Check out your place and time here:

Courage to Conquer 5K 2013 Results

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Today was an amazing day for a race alongside the Little Harpeth River.  The smell of jasmine and honeysuckle kept me going when I wanted to stop, and the smiling faces and determination of the other runners and walkers was a truly beautiful sight.  I am so honored to have met the survivors, fighters, and family members of those who have struggled with esophageal cancer.  If I ever get discouraged, the faces of these people and the knowledge of their stories keeps me going.

Thank you to those who helped, ran, donated, and sent kind words.  I am always amazed at how just showing up can change another person’s life.  Pictures will be posted soon and more blogs will follow, but tonight we are going to rest and recover.

Thank you all for an awesome day!

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Last Minute Registration

Haven’t registered yet?  No worries!  You can sign up on race day at the course.  Remember it’s at Edwin Warner Picnic Shelter #9.  We’ll see you there bright and early tomorrow morning!

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Team Emmett Spirit Night

This Thursday at the Brentwood Chick-fil-A!!  Eat chicken, pick up your registration, and contribute to a worthy cause.  Print the flyer below and bring it with you or tell them you’re with Team Emmett so we can get a percentage of the profits.  Thanks for coming out.  See you there!

Team Emmett Spirit Night

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