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Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections. It also obstructs the pancreas and stops natural food absorption. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation funds and accredits approximately 115 CF care centers, 95 adult care programs and 50 affiliate programs, and has 80 chapters and branch offices nationwide.
Not only is the Foundation a leader in CF research and care, it is one of the most efficient organizations of its kind. It has received a four-star rating for sound fiscal management from Charity Navigator, the largest independent charity evaluator in the United States, and is an accredited charity of the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance.
The Foundation's business model has been featured in some of the nation's most prestigious media outlets, including Forbes and BusinessWeek. It has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health, is emulated by a growing number of nonprofits and is the subject of two Harvard Business School case studies.