Livestrong Foundation

The Livestrong Foundation is a United States nonprofit organization 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, as the Lance Armstrong Foundation.[1] The Livestrong brand was launched by the foundation in 2003.[2] Armstrong resigned from the foundation in 2012 after his admission of doping, leading to the rebranding of the entire organization as Livestrong Foundation.

Livestrong Foundation
FounderLance Armstrong
Area served
United States
Key people
Greg Lee (President)

Among its activities, the foundation lobbies governmental agencies, conducts research on cancer survivors, and funds a number of smaller non-profit organizations.[3] The cornerstone of the foundation's work was 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 aimed to make the cancer care system more patient-focused.[4] As of 2020, the foundation has shifted its focus away from "direct services", and has positioned itself as a backer of companies involved in improving patient care.


The foundation states that its mission is "to improve the lives of cancer survivors and those affected by cancer."[5] The foundation implements its mission through direct services, community programs and systemic change. As early as 1999, the foundation began focusing on the field of cancer survivorship, specifically the practical, psycho-social needs of cancer patients and those affected by cancer. In 2000, the foundation funded cancer survivorship programs at Children's Medical Center in Ft. Worth, TX and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA.

In 2001, the foundation awarded its first community program grant through a program that would ultimately become the Community Impact Project. The first grant was awarded to Wonders and Worries, a pilot program to help children cope when a parent has a chronic or life-threatening illness like cancer. Future recipients of the Community Impact Project include the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, Camp Kesem, Pablove Shutterbugs, and Cancer Transitions.

In 2002, the foundation launched Livestrong Survivorcare, the predecessor to Livestrong Navigation, a free one-on-one service offering cancer navigation services to patients, caregivers, friends and family members through phone, email and online services. The foundationwould ultimately open the Livestrong Cancer Navigation Center at its headquarters in Austin by 2010. Since its inception, Livestrong has served over 100,000 people through free programs and services such as emotional counseling, insurance management, clinical trial matching and guidance on treatment options.[citation needed][when?]

In 2008, Demand Media reached an agreement with the foundation to license the use of the Livestrong name and mark to create a spin-off website, (unconnected to, a commercial health and wellness site. Demand Media hired Armstrong as a spokesman.[6][7]

Armstrong doping scandal and rebrandingEdit

Former logo.

In 2012, Armstrong was banned from professional cycling and stripped of his Tour de France titles after it was found that he had engaged in the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The foundation initially reacted by questioning the integrity of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in a statement by president and chief executive Doug Ulman released in October 2012:[8]

Our long-standing concerns about the impartiality and fairness of Usada's proceedings are compounded today. ... Usada appears motivated more by publicity rather than fulfilling its mission. ... Because of [Armstrong's] leadership and vision, the Lance Armstrong Foundation has served more than 2.5 million people affected by cancer over the last 15 years. ... We are deeply grateful for his leadership and incredibly proud of his achievements, both on and off the bike.[9]

However, just a week later, Armstrong resigned as the chairman of the foundation, and from the foundation's board of directors in November.[10][11][8] In January 2013, prior to Armstrong's televised interview with Oprah Winfrey in which he admitted to doping, the foundation released a statement that 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.[12]

Following the departure of 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.[1] 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."[13] 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.[13]

As a result of Armstrong's confessed guilt, 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.[14]

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.[15] The deal was severed after both sides blamed the other for failing to live up to their agreement; Armstrong's doping scandal was not a factor in the decision.[16][17]

Subsequent developmentsEdit

In 2015, Livestrong hired Chandini Portteus as their new president and CEO. She formerly worked at the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

In 2016, Portteus resigned and Greg Lee was appointed as President. Greg Lee had served as CFO of the Foundation for over ten years.[citation needed]

In February 2020, the foundation announced that it would change its focus to being an "impact funder" rather than a provider of direct services, backing startups involved in improving patient care. The foundation also unveiled a new logo, moving away from its previous yellow-and-black imagery (which was strongly associated with Armstrong and its wristbands). Lee stated that the new brand was intended to reflect that Livestrong was "more than a wristband".[18][19]

Livestrong wristbandEdit

The Livestrong wristband.

The Livestrong wristband is a yellow silicone gel bracelet program launched in May 2004 as a fund-raising item.[20] The bracelet was developed by Nike and its advertising agency, Wieden+Kennedy. The band's yellow color references the yellow jersey traditionally worn by the Tour de France's overall leader. The band became a popular fashion item in the US by the end of the summer of 2004 and appeared on a majority of the contenders at the 2004 Tour de France.

By 2013, 80 million Livestrong bracelets had been sold, according to Oprah.[8] The success of the Livestrong bracelets led to many other charities selling similar wristbands as part of their fundraising efforts.[21][22]

Following Armstrong's lifetime ban for doping by USADA, a CNN article claimed that critics had struck out the "V" or wrote a "W" over the "ST" to make the wristband read "LIE STRONG" or "LIVEWRONG".[23] Satirical news site The Onion marketed a lookalike parody bracelet which replaced the "LIVESTRONG" text with "CHEAT TO WIN."[24][25]


Figures provided by the foundation to ESPN in October 2012 revealed that, despite Armstrong's acknowledgement that he doped,[26] 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).[27] Over the duration of its existence, the foundation has generated more than US$500 million worth of funds.[12]

Since Armstrong's departure, the foundation's income has continued to drop. The foundation revealed that its 2013 budget was 10.9 percent less than its 2012 budget,[12] and annual reports from the foundation show a continuous drop in revenue with annual contributions falling from $15.8 million in 2011 to $10.7 million in 2012, $7.9 million in 2013, $3.8 million in 2014, $6.7 million in 2015, $4.2 million in 2016, $3.5 million in 2017, and $3.2 million in 2018, (the last year for which audited financial reports are available).[citation needed] Income from licensing and royalties also declined dramatically, from a high of $7.2 million in 2007 to a low of $13,875 in 2017.[28]


  1. ^ a b Corrie MacLaggan (November 14, 2012). "Exclusive: Livestrong cancer charity drops Lance Armstrong name from title". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  2. ^ Corrie MacLaggan (October 17, 2012). "Lance Armstrong steps down from charity, Nike drops him". Reuters. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  3. ^ Issie Lapowsky (April 1, 2014). "Livestrong Without Lance". Inc. Mansueto Ventures. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  4. ^ "LIVESTRONG Emphasizes Importance of Patient-Focused Cancer Care". Onco'Zine - The International Oncology Network. Inpress Media Group. Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  5. ^ "What We Do". LIVESTRONG Foundation. LIVESTRONG Foundation. January 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  6. ^ Bill Gifford (January 5, 2012). "IT'S NOT ABOUT THE LAB RATS". Outside. Mariah Media Network, LLC. Archived from the original on January 28, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  7. ^ Stephanie Saul (January 13, 2013). "Armstrong's Business Brand, Bound Tight With His Charity". The New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c Baker, Christopher (January 20, 2013). "Spin: Lance Armstrong's confession and Livestrong's future". The Conversation Australia. The Conversation Media Group. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  9. ^ Association, Press (October 11, 2012). "Lance Armstrong's contribution to cancer fight hailed by his charity". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  10. ^ "Armstrong stands down from charity". The Sydney Morning Herald. Associated Press. October 17, 2012. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  11. ^ Belson, Ken; Pilon, Mary (October 17, 2012). "Armstrong Is Dropped by Nike and Steps Down as Foundation Chairman". New York Times. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  12. ^ a b c Corrie MacLaggan (January 16, 2013). ""We expect Lance to be completely truthful": Livestrong". News Daily. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Case Study: Livestrong Branding". Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  14. ^ "NIKE CUTS TIES TO LIVESTRONG". Associated Press. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  15. ^ Haydon, John (January 16, 2013). "Lance Armstrong scandal ends Livestrong - Sporting Kansas FC relationship". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  16. ^ Rovell, Darren (January 16, 2013). "Livestrong Sporting Park deal set to end". Retrieved January 16, 2013.
  17. ^ Tryon, Barrett. "Livestrong Sporting Park Deal is Over Immediately; Renamed Sporting Park". WDAF-TV. Tribune Media. Retrieved January 16, 2013.
  18. ^ "Livestrong Foundation gets brand revamp, new mission". Austin Business Journal. February 3, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  19. ^ Hawkins, Lori. "Two decades in, Livestrong Foundation shifts its focus". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  20. ^ Where the Money Goes;; retrieved January 14, 2013.
  21. ^ "Noughties revival? How charity wristbands are making a comeback". the Guardian. February 23, 2016. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  22. ^ "How much do we really know about why we give to charity?". BBC News. December 12, 2019. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  23. ^ Michael Pearson, "Lance Armstrong's legacy may withstand accusations",, October 12, 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
  24. ^ "Ironic 'Cheat to Win' Rubber Yellow Bracelet". January 20, 2013.
  25. ^ "TOM HOFFARTH: What to do with our Livestrong wristbands now?". October 21, 2012.
  26. ^ David Rowe (January 18, 2013). "Lance Armstrong begins his confession – but why Oprah?". The Conversation. The Conversation Media Group. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  27. ^ Darren Rovell (October 10, 2012). "Armstrong's foundation still thriving". ESPN Playbook. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  28. ^ "Financials". January 14, 2016.

External linksEdit