Working to defy cancer: Meet the Annual Giving team

This post is part of a series highlighting staff members within Dana-Farber Cancer Institute & The Jimmy Fund’s Division of Philanthropy, to give supporters an inside peek at life at New England’s favorite charity. Today, we’re talking to members of the Annual Giving Special Fundraising team: Michela D’Eramo, Senior Director; Casey Walker, Associate Director II; and Hannah McCoy, Senior Assistant Director.

Members of Annual Giving’s Special Programs team in 2019: (from left to right) Casey, Hannah, and Michela

What brought you to Dana-Farber?

Michela: I’ve always wanted to work to help people, and after my internship through Assumption University working in a small nonprofit, I found myself really interested in working in this field. Through networking, I attended a Philanthropy Information Session for interested candidates, and the rest has been history! I’ve worked in various roles and on different teams since graduating from college more than 16 years ago. 

Casey: After graduating from Quinnipiac University, I was interested in pursuing a career within the nonprofit sector. Having grown up in the Boston area, I was very aware of the impact that Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund have on the community. While in a role at the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, I met a former Dana-Farber staff member to learn more about working at Dana-Farber. Soon after, I applied for a role on the Planned Giving team and here I am today!

Hannah: I went to Northeastern University and took part in their Co-Op program. My advisor knew I was interested in pursuing opportunities in the nonprofit sector given my previous Co-Op experience and recommended I apply for the Jimmy Fund Golf Co-Op. I was able to work with the Jimmy Fund Golf team and loved everyone there. After graduating in 2016, I applied for the open Assistant position on the Annual Giving team and have been on this team ever since.

Can you describe your role here?

Michela: I oversee and help manage the many different giving opportunities we offer to the Dana-Farber community through Annual Giving (AG); our team focuses on donors who makes gifts of all sizes per year through various fundraising programs. This includes everything from naming displays to personal fundraising pages, all offering additional giving opportunities to our donors. 

Casey: I help oversee many of our giving initiatives including the Giving Page program, all AG naming opportunities (Gene Display, Imagine Display, Ripple Effect Display, Zebrafish Display), Celebration and Tribute programs, Dana-Farber faculty and staff fundraising efforts, Workplace Giving, and President’s Circle Stewardship

Hannah: I  manage several of our giving initiatives, including the Giving Page program, which just raised $2 million to support Dana-Farber in our fiscal year 2022; our faculty and staff giving campaign, which includes Holiday Patient Assistance and our President’s Circle stewardship programs.  

Are you able to share a little bit more about the Holiday Patient Assistance Program?

Hannah: The Holiday Patient Assistance program (HPA) is a campaign to raise funds to provide gift cards to eligible patients and families in critical financial need. This is the 14th year of the program and we have been able to assist thousands of patients. I feel so lucky to work on the HPA program; we’re able to see the immediate impact of the work we do.

Each year, Philanthropy assists the program leads, Ellen Casey-Magleby and Deb Toffler, MSW, LCSW. Ellen is the Director, Clinical Operations in the Division of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, while Deb is the Senior Director in Nursing and Patient Care Services. Together along with Joe Chabot in Pediatric Oncology, they help lead this program and identify patients who may benefit from it. Our team helps with outreach to donors to support the program and we also volunteer to help with packing up the gift cards. We usually do this in a conference room that we call “the workshop.” While doing this, we hear from the social workers and resource specialists about how much the gift cards mean to patients. I remember one year, we learned a patient used the gift card to buy all of their paper towels and toilet paper for the whole next year. They had been waiting for this gift card and were so excited to be able to buy these items.  

Is there anything you would like to share about working at the Jimmy Fund with prospective candidates? 

Michela: If you are starting out in an entry level role, try not to focus too much on which team the role sits on. Once you get your foot in the door at Dana-Farber, there are many opportunities to learn about other teams and positions and then apply for an internal move.  

What does it mean to you to work here and support Dana-Farber’s lifesaving mission to defy cancer?

Casey: Like many of us who work here, cancer has impacted my personal life. Working here allows me to feel like I am taking some of that power back and making a difference for others in our community and in the world. We are all connected in our goal to defy cancer, and it is empowering working with so many other like-minded individuals whose goal is to help others to the best of our ability.  

If you are interested in exploring a career in Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund’s Division of Philanthropy, we invite you to check out our careers page to learn about our culture, view open roles, or register for an upcoming virtual Information Session.

We also encourage you to support Dana-Farber & The Jimmy Fund through The Dana-Farber Campaign, our ambitious, multi-year fundraising effort to prevent, treat, and defy cancer. The Dana-Farber Campaign will accelerate the Institute’s strategic priorities by supporting revolutionary science, extraordinary care, and exceptional expertise. As a community, we have the power to create a more hopeful, cancer-free future—in Boston and around the world. Together, we can defy cancer at every turn. Learn more about The Dana-Farber Campaign at