Tufts ‘Cure Breast Cancer’ License Plate Raises Money for Cancer Research

It's one of 15 charitable plates on the road.

Massachusetts breast cancer license plate photo provided to bostonmagazine.com

Massachusetts breast cancer license plate photo provided to bostonmagazine.com

Tufts Medical Center set out to raise $1 million for breast cancer research, and as of October 2014, the hospital is just shy of its goal.

In October 2006, Tufts Medical Center launched the Massachusetts ‘Cure Breast Cancer’ license plate to raise money for the Diane Connolly-Zaniboni Breast Cancer Research Fund. Eight years later, the charitable license plate has raised $787,754.

“We’re the only breast cancer license plate on the road for Massachusetts,” says Scott Neely, philanthropy officer at Tufts Medical Center. “The plate is a great way to keep awareness on breast cancer while raising money for the cause.”

The Diane Connolly-Zaniboni Breast Cancer Research Fund was created after a Tufts Medical Center patient, Diane Connolly-Zaniboni, passed away from inflammatory breast cancer in 2000 at age 39. Her family worked towards putting a breast cancer charitable license plate on the road to benefit research during the last two years of her battle.

“Think about it, once someone has a license plate on their car, they just keep renewing it,” Neely says. “That money, whether it’s a new plate or a renewal, keeps coming to us.”

The money raised through these license plates fund breast cancer research in four ways: supporting the Diane Connolly-Zaniboni Breast Cancer Research Fund; a scholarship program to honor Connolly-Zaniboni; provide new research facilities at Tufts Medical Center; and to bring in breast cancer experts to the hospital’s medical staff.

Tufts Medical Center anticipates reaching their goal of $1 million in the next 12 to 18 months. “The million dollars is a milestone we wanted to reach. But as we get closer, it’s really just highlighting the program. Once we reach this goal, we will aim to reach $1.5 million,” Neely says.

The registration fee for the license plate is $40, and out of the $40, $12 goes to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the other $28 is deposited directly into The Diane Connolly-Zaniboni Breast Cancer Research Fund. When the license plate is renewed, the $90 renewal fee also goes directly to the research fund.

“People in the state have been able to support and provide reliable and solid funding during a time that critical research funding has been hard to find,” says Jack Erban, clinical director at Tufts Medical Center. “This is truly a consistent source of funding that let’s researchers plan long term instead of year-to-year.”

The ‘Cure Breast Cancer’ plate is one of 15 charitable license plates on the road in Massachusetts, according to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The 14 other license plates are: New England Patriots Charitable Foundation; the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield; Massachusetts Youth Hockey; Conquer Cancer Coalition; The Jimmy Fund; non-profit and municipal animal control agencies; economic development for Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard; Child Care Quality Fund; Massachusetts Fallen Firefighter Memorial; U.S. Olympic Committee; the creation of a mini Fenway Park for kids; and three that support Massachusetts Environmental Trust.