American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is the non-profit, non-partisan sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society. ACS CAN is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major public health problem through voter education and issue campaigns aimed at influencing candidates and lawmakers to support laws and policies that will help people fight cancer.
Cancer research, prevention and treatment. - Make it an issue.
Up until now, the American Cancer Society has been limited in how we can do legislative advocacy to protect the interests of cancer patients and their families. That’s why the American Cancer Society formed the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc. ACS CAN.
What is ACS CAN? ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan sister organization to the American Cancer Society. It was launched as a pilot in December 2001 to advance the Society’s advocacy mission. ACS CAN enables the Society to use a new set of advocacy tools and tactics, because of the way it is classified as an organization. The American Cancer Society is a 501(c)(3) (or “c3”) organization, and therefore is subject to restrictions on its advocacy activities. ACS CAN is a 501(c)(4) (or “c4”) organization, meaning it is free from many of those restrictions and can engage in more direct advocacy.
How is ACS CAN different from the American Cancer Society? Because your contribution to ACS CAN is not tax-deductible, the IRS is less restrictive on the organization when engaging in electoral and legislative activity. With ACS CAN, the Society is allowed to hold legislators accountable for their votes on issues related to cancer.
Why did the American Cancer Society form ACS CAN?
- Previously, the Society had one hand tied behind its back in the advocacy arena. With ACS CAN, our volunteers can use both hands to advocate for cancer patients.
- ACS CAN allows the Society to take Advocacy to the next level.
Advocacy (changing public policy) work is essential to our lifesaving 2015 goals, including the more immediate 2002-2005 interim outcomes.
- ACS CAN allows the Society to become a more effective advocate at the local, state, and federal levels of government.
- ACS CAN opens the door to a world of advocacy tactics and tools not currently available to the Society, and allows us to appeal to a whole new set of constituents.
- ACS CAN provides certain legal protection to the Society, allowing us to steadily grow advocacy efforts without jeopardizing our c3 status or violating guidelines.
What specifically will ACS CAN do? Among other activities, ACS CAN will:
- Engage in more active lobbying and public policy efforts on cancer issues for our constituents.
- Educate the public and media more directly.
- Hold our lawmakers accountable for their votes on cancer issues.
- Create and distribute voter guides on specific health-related issues to volunteers and donors.
- Host debates, town forums, and other events where candidate views on issues are tested and discussed.