The Partnership Between The Ellen Hermanson Foundation and the Charatan/Holm Family Foundation

Breast cancer is a diagnosis heard far too often, by too many women. In New York alone, about 15,000 people are diagnosed with the disease annually.

It is always a life-changing diagnosis. Painfully, it’s also one that can end in death.

As a woman, and a New Yorker, I’ve tried to use the resources of my foundation, financial and otherwise, to support the research that will find new treatments for cancer, and to help people when they are diagnosed.

That’s why I’m so proud of the partnership we have with The Ellen Hermanson Foundation.

In 1989, Ellen Hermanson was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had just become a mother (her daughter’s name is Leora) and fought hard, for years, to defeat the disease. During her battle she used her training as a journalist to become a powerful advocate for breast cancer awareness, early detection, and patient and family care.  She wrote and edited newsletters, gave speeches, and raised awareness until the end.

In 1995 Ellen died, and her sister, Julie Ratner, founded The Ellen Hermanson Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to help people on the East End of Long Island access state-of-the-art breast health care and empower people affected by cancer.

In this 2014 article, Julie explains her commitment:

“After Ellen died, I needed to continue the work she started and make sure that Leora would always remember her mother. With that, Emily and I started Ellen’s Run in 1996, and we established The Ellen Hermanson Foundation the following year to ensure that medically underserved women would have the same access to care and support that was given to Ellen.”

As the Ellen Hermon Foundation website states, there are two main area of focus.

  • educational outreach about the importance of mammography and early detection to medically under-served communities of women
  • psycho-social support services that address the broad range of issues facing breast cancer patients, survivors, spouses, families, and friends

There are several reasons why the Charatan/Holm Family Foundation’s mission aligns so well with The Ellen Hermanson Foundation.

Clearly, there’s the focus on health and healthcare, and for women specifically. But another thing our foundation really cares about is commitment to community.

Just last year, Southampton Hospital opened a new, state-of-the-art breast center: The Ellen Hermanson Breast Center. This facility offers life saving diagnostic tests, including bone densitometry and mammography with tomosynthesis. The location makes this testing more available to women in the East End.

Funding the building of a breast cancer center near the community that needs the services is an exceptional way to support your local community. I commend the Ellen Hermanson Foundation for their informed, careful, donation to Southampton Hospital.

It is, as I like to say, “mindful altruism.”

Another example of this mindfulness is the availability of support services for the cancer patient and her family at the breast center. Medical care doesn’t begin and end with chemotherapy, surgery or radiation. There are a multitude of physical and emotional needs experience by cancer patients and their families as they deal with this devastating disease.

The newspaper article that covered the opening of the center quoted Robert Chaloner, President and CEO of Southampton Hospital about this. “The Ellen Hermanson Breast Center is a critical resource for women on the East End, enabling us to provide a comprehensive array of diagnostic services and treatment as well as invaluable support services for diagnosed patients and their families.” (Emphasis mine.)

In addition to The Ellen Hermanson Foundation, our foundation supports the work of organizations such as the Samuel Waxman Research Foundation.


Because, as stated on our mission page, “we want every entity under our umbrella to reach its full potential and maximize its efforts with the help of funding and goodwill.”

We also want the people served by the groups we support to have the maximum benefit we can offer. When it comes to cancer, that means diligently pursuing new treatments and searching for cures while also making sure that people affected by the disease have the best medicine can offer.

Clearly, that’s the goal of The Ellen Hermanson Foundation as well. For 20 years they have raised funds and directed those monies to the places, in their own community, where they will most benefit breast cancer patients. They also advocate and educate about early detection—which is a mindful approach to defeating a terrible disease.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Ellen Hermanson, but all that I’ve read about her makes me proud to support the foundation built in her name. I firmly believes that in this day and age, with all the technological advancements and awareness we have, nobody should have to go through the terror of receiving a late diagnosis. With luck, funding, and support, foundations like this will help eliminate this occurrence, making the world a safer place for all. 

Photo by Tom Fitzgerald and Pam Deutchman for Society-In-Focus /