|Motto||Unity is strength, knowledge is power and attitude is everything.|
|Chandini Portteus (President and CEO)|
The Livestrong Foundation, formerly known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation, is a United States nonprofit organization (501(c)(3)) that provides support for people affected by cancer. The foundation, based in Austin, Texas, was established in 1997 by cancer survivor and former professional road racing cyclist Lance Armstrong. The "Livestrong" brand was launched by the foundation in 2003. After being found guilty of doping, Lance Armstrong resigned from the foundation in 2013.
The Livestrong Foundation states that its mission is 'to inspire and empower' cancer survivors and their families. The foundation also aims to provide support to guide people through the cancer experience. As of 2005, the foundation began phasing out its support of cancer research, and as of 2010, it no longer accepted research proposals.
In 2008, Demand Media reached an agreement with the Livestrong Foundation to use the Livestrong name to create a spin-off website, Livestrong.com (unconnected to Livestrong.org), a commercial health and wellness site, supported by advertisers. Demand Media hired Armstrong as a spokesman.
The foundation was a title sponsor of Major League Soccer club Sporting Kansas City's home stadium from March 2011 to January 2013, when the naming agreement was terminated. Originally thought to be because Armstrong admitted that he had used performance-enhancing drugs, the deal was severed after both sides blamed the other for failing to live up to their agreement.
Among its activities, the foundation lobbies governmental agencies, conducts research on cancer survivors, and funds a number of smaller non-profit organizations. The cornerstone of the foundation's work is the providing of free, direct, personalized support services for people navigating the physical, practical, emotional and financial challenges of having cancer. In this effort, the foundation aims to make the cancer care system more patient-focused.
The Livestrong wristband is a yellow silicone gel bracelet program launched in May 2004 as a fund-raising item. The bracelet was developed by Nike and its advertising agency, Wieden+Kennedy. The band became a popular fashion item in the United States by the end of the summer of 2004, and appeared on a majority of the contenders at the 2004 Tour de France.
To date, 80 million Livestrong bracelets have been sold, and have inspired several other charitable organizations to start their own bracelet selling programs. Following Armstrong's lifetime ban for doping by USADA, CNN reported that people were crossing out the "V" on the wristband so that it read "LIE STRONG".
Armstrong doping scandal and rebranding
Due to the Lance Armstrong doping scandal in 2012, the former cyclist was banned for life and was stripped of his Tour de France victories. As a result, Armstrong resigned as chairman of the foundation in October 2012 and from the foundation's board of directors in November 2012. Armstrong admitted to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, and prior to the interview, the foundation released a statement which said:
We expect Lance to be completely truthful and forthcoming in his interview and with all of us in the cancer community... Regardless, we are charting a strong, independent course forward that is focused on helping people overcome financial, emotional and physical challenges related to cancer... Inspired by the people with cancer whom we serve, we feel confident and optimistic about the Foundation's future and welcome an end to speculation.
Following the departure of Lance Armstrong, the foundation considered whether its highly visible brand image was a liability, linking the foundation and its activities too tightly with its founder. The conclusion was that a radical change would go against the foundation's key message: "It has never been about one person." The foundation changed its name from the Lance Armstrong Foundation to the Livestrong Foundation in November 2012. This decision and the strategy it adopted was primarily driven by the foundation’s own "strong sense of itself" and the "importance of its story." In the end, in a process some critics called "subtle but substantive," the foundation’s story was told through a variety of ongoing initiatives explaining the foundation's key promise, which was designed to help distinguish the organization from other organizations in the oncology community.
As a result of the scandal, on May 28, 2013, Nike announced that it would cut ties with the foundation after a nine-year relationship. After the 2013 holiday season, Nike ceased production of its LIVESTRONG line of products, honoring its contract with the organization which expired in 2014.
Figures provided by the foundation to the ESPN media organization, in October 2012, revealed that, despite the 2012 Armstrong doping controversy, revenues were up 2.1 percent, to US$33.8 million, through September 30, 2012—according to ESPN, this total represented a 5.4 percent increase from 2011, with a 5.7 percent increase in the average dollar amount of those donations (from US$74.88 in 2011 to US$79.15 in 2012). Over the duration of its existence, the foundation has generated more than US$500 million worth of funds. The foundation revealed that its 2013 budget was 10.9 percent less than its 2012 budget.
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- Note: The maillot jaune is a yellow jersey worn by the leader of the Tour de France.
- Where the Money Goes; Livestrong.org; retrieved January 14, 2013.
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