" It’s one thing to be going through cancer in general, but it’s another thing to be going through cancer during the pandemic… MOCA gives us all hope for a better future and outcome. "

— Ovarian Cancer Survivor

2020 Impact Highlights

infographic. Since 1999 $9 million awarded to ovarian cancer research, 109 research grants awarded, 6,200 healthcare providers educated. In 2020, $400,000 awarded to Minnesota ovarian cancer research projects, 350 Masks with love from MOCA provided, 11 MOCA Dream Awards presented to survivors.

Forging ahead—advancing vital research to change the future of ovarian cancer

MOCA devoted much-needed resources and attention to promising ovarian cancer research during the COVID-19 pandemic. We worked to advance life-saving research focused on early detection, better treatments, and one day—a cure for this disease.

MOCA’s unwavering commitment to ovarian cancer research is making more progress possible.

In 2020, MOCA awarded $400,000 to four Minnesota-based ovarian cancer research projects, raising our total amount of research funding to more than $9 million. MOCA remains one of the top nonprofit funders of ovarian cancer research in the nation.

Over the years, MOCA has provided more than one million dollars to the nationally recognized early detection ovarian cancer research by Amy Skubitz, Ph.D., University of Minnesota Medical School. Skubitz received MOCA’s National Early Detection Research Award in 2020.

“Funding from MOCA has been critical as we strive to achieve our long-term goal—to develop a test that could be used to detect early stages of ovarian cancer in the general population. We are very optimistic about the impact that this innovative study will have on women. In the future, we anticipate that physicians will be able to predict whether women have ovarian cancer based on their Pap test samples.”

— Amy Skubitz, Ph.D., University of Minnesota

View a WDIO story about MOCA’s role in advancing early detection research, here.

2020 Minnnesota Research Projects Chart
2020 Minnesota Research Projects Funded

Watch MOCA’s 2020 Research Awards Program to learn more about our latest research efforts.

Forging ahead—educating health care providers and the public to increase early detection of ovarian cancer

MOCA educates medical professionals and the public to recognize the early signs of ovarian cancer, so more women are diagnosed at an early stage when the disease is most treatable.

Survivors Teaching Students®

MOCA adapted our Survivors Teaching Students® program, in partnership with OCRA, to a virtual format so we could continue our important training efforts in 2020.

We know ovarian cancer survivors are saving lives by sharing their personal stories through STS®. Future medical professionals often tell us how STS is making an impact.


STS® is educating future health care professionals at colleges and universities across Minnesota.

Map of Participating Colleges in Minnesota

Participating Minnesota Medical Schools and Programs, 2020

Medical Schools

  • Mayo Clinic
  • University of Minnesota

Nurse Practitioner Programs

  • Minnesota State University, Mankato

Physician Assistant Programs

  • College of St. Scholastica, P.A. Program
  • St. Catherine University
  • Bethel University

Health Care Scholarships

MOCA recognizes nurses and physician assistants for the key role they play in the care of women with ovarian cancer. In 2020, MOCA established the Colleen Anderson Memorial Fund with Larry Anderson. This award honors Larry’s late wife, Colleen, who died of ovarian cancer in 2019.

The Colleen Anderson Memorial Fund Award is a $2,500 annual reward which recognizes a frontline health care worker for excellent and compassionate care to women with ovarian cancer. The inaugural award was presented to Dona Maki, a retired oncology nurse. Maki spent 43 years in nursing, most recently at MHealth.

Dona Maki

“I value the role MOCA plays in women’s lives, providing support and advancing important research. I am grateful MOCA is here for women, families and the health care community.”

— Dona Maki, R.N. (retired)

MOCA also awarded the fifth annual Pederson Nursing Scholarship in 2020. This scholarship was established in 2016 in memory of Janet Pederson, who passed away from ovarian cancer. The $1,000 annual award recognizes a University of Minnesota oncology nurse to support continuing education. 

The 2020 recipient of the Pederson Nursing Scholarship is Gabrielle Smerillo, R.N., University of Minnesota Medical Center. 

“This work is important to me because ovarian cancer is a cancer that is typically not caught as early as others, and it can lead to numerous health complications… As a nurse, I’ve had the pleasure of being able to get to know and form relationships with these women and their families.”

Gabrielle Smerillo, R.N., University of Minnesota Medical Center

Gabrielle Smerillo

Health Fairs and Awareness Initiatives

MOCA educated the public and raised awareness at five health fairs in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic led to health and safety concerns for these types of activities.

MOCA Health Fair

MOCA Brochures


MOCA provided brochures at health fairs, community events and physicians’ offices to raise awareness about ovarian cancer and offer resources.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

In 2020, MOCA worked to address racial inequities impacting the ovarian cancer community. We established our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee to build a community that represents and includes all those impacted by ovarian cancer and where every person, regardless of their age, race, national origin, gender, gender identity, ability or religion has access to our services and feels valued and welcomed within our organization.

MOCA continued to reach out to communities of color and underserved populations by providing symptom cards in several languages, including Spanish, Somali, Hmong and others.

Pier B Resort Hotel lit up in teal

MOCA Lights the Night

MOCA lights the night in teal throughout September to raise awareness about ovarian cancer in Minnesota. In 2020, MOCA lit up a record 18 buildings, bridges and landmarks throughout the state! Landmarks in the Twin Cities and Rochester lit up in advance of MOCA’s HOM Teal Drive event. Later in September, five Duluth landmarks lit up to celebrate our Shine Teal for MOCA virtual event.

Trees of Hope Campaign for MOCA

HOM Furniture and WDIO-TV teamed up to recognize MOCA as a featured charity and decorated the news set in teal during the Trees of Hope campaign from November 27-December 1, 2020. WDIO featured several stories about ovarian cancer symptoms, MOCA’s research efforts and our support programs to educate viewers about the disease.

WDIO displaying trees decorated in teal

MOCA on Fox Sports

MOCA in the Media

MOCA works with local, regional and national media to raise awareness about ovarian cancer. In 2020, MOCA shared more than 40 stories about ovarian cancer with news media. We also worked with sponsors to raise awareness using billboards in the Twin Cities metro and in Duluth.

Forging ahead—offering support for women and families impacted by ovarian cancer when they need us most

MOCA swiftly adapted our support offerings and educational meetings to new, virtual formats after the pandemic hit in March 2020. We continued to provide safe, meaningful connection and mentoring for ovarian cancer survivors and families dealing with added challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Our support provided lifelines for women and families experiencing changes to their care and treatment, increasing isolation and fear. From support groups to one-on-one mentoring, MOCA offered several opportunities to connect.

MOCA Support Groups

MOCA provided two monthly support groups for women, families and caregivers impacted by ovarian cancer who live in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. Our support groups transitioned to new, safe virtual formats in March 2020. In the fall, MOCA also held a virtual support meeting for ovarian cancer survivors and loved ones in the Northland.

Stephanie sitting at a desk with a computer for a virtual support group

Survivor Brunch and Creative Arts Workshop

MOCA’s Living Well Educational Meetings

MOCA offered one in-person educational meeting in March 2020. The Survivor Brunch and Creative Arts Workshop provided ways for survivors to share with each other and learn about healing arts. MOCA also held three virtual educational meetings focused on treatment advances, complementary therapies and building resilience. Recordings of MOCA’s virtual educational meetings are available on MOCA’s website for continued use.

Masks with love from MOCA

MOCA launched our Masks with love from MOCA program in 2020 to provide free cloth masks for the ovarian cancer community in Minnesota. Masks with love from MOCA are handsewn by MOCA volunteers and staff. We provided more than 350 masks to ovarian cancer survivors, loved ones and health care providers involved in ovarian cancer care.

face mask with card from MOCA

MOCA Cares Kits

In 2020, MOCA provided 59 MOCA Cares Kits to women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and those experiencing a recurrence. MOCA Cares Kits are backpacks filled with comfort items, including a mug, soft socks, beanie, journal, pen, blanket and more!

The MOCA Cares Kits program was established in 2018 and continues to be a meaningful way for MOCA to connect with survivors and offer support.

MOCA Dream Awards

Thanks to funding provided entirely by a generous donor, the MOCA Dream Awards program provided a total of $35,000 to 11 women in 2020. MOCA Dream Awards were presented during a virtual program in November 2020.

MOCA Dream Awards Logo

“We are so grateful for the continued funding provided by a generous, anonymous donor for the MOCA Dream Awards Program. It was especially rewarding to be able to offer Dream Awards during 2020 when so many women and families were dealing with a lack of connection and fewer opportunities for joyful experiences.”

— Kathleen Gavin, Executive Director

Forging ahead—finding new ways to connect with our community and make an impact

MOCA found safe ways to gather with our community of ovarian cancer survivors, loved ones, friends and supporters in 2020. Driven to make a difference against this disease—MOCA adapted several annual fundraising events.

MOCA continued to raise awareness about ovarian cancer and worked to build a more diverse community through our efforts.

MOCA 2020 Events

Watch the video

HOM Teal Drive for Ovarian Cancer

MOCA switched gears for our largest annual community gathering and fundraiser. We pivoted HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer from a walk and run event—to a car parade and drive-in program. At HOM Teal Drive for Ovarian Cancer, attendees raised $135,000 for MOCA’s ovarian cancer research and support programs.

HOM Teal Drive for Ovarian Cancer Attendees



Couple sitting in a golf cart at the Molly Cade Scramble 2020 event



Molly Cade Scramble for Ovarian Cancer

MOCA’s annual golf fundraiser named after MOCA’s co-founder, Molly Cade, continued with additional health and safety measures in place. Golfers took a swing against ovarian cancer and raised $55,000 for MOCA.

Shine Teal for MOCA Virtual Event

Shine Teal for MOCA replaced our annual Black, White and Teal and Light Duluth Teal Galas in 2020. Our community of supporters gathered virtually for this live, virtual program and auction. Shine Teal for MOCA raised close to $60,000 for MOCA’s research and support programs.

Jennifer Austin, Kare 11 Reporter and Shine Teal for MOCA host



Virtual Spin It Teal/Give to the Max Day Efforts

MOCA supporters Bob and Pam MacDonald hosted our Spin It Teal virtual event on Give to the Max Day in Minnesota. The MacDonalds provided generous matching funds and helped MOCA maximize donations. Our efforts raised a total of nearly $173,000 for ovarian cancer research focused on preventing recurrence.

man and woman on stationary bicycles for the Spin It Teal Virtual Event



Unleash the She logo



Unleash the SHE Virtual Event

Final Stretch, Inc. hosted a virtual race to support MOCA in August. Initially planned for an in-person event in Rochester, Unleash the SHE became a virtual event. Participants walked or ran in their own neighborhoods to benefit MOCA. Unleash the SHE raised $7,000 for MOCA in 2020.

MOCA’s Here for You at Home Efforts/Give at Home MN

In May 2020, MOCA participated in the statewide GiveMN fundraising event created to support the work of Minnesota nonprofits during the pandemic. MOCA supporters raised more than $2,500 during our Give At Home MN campaign for MOCA Cares programming, including MOCA Cares Kits, Masks with love from MOCA, MOCA support groups and MOCA Living Well educational meetings.

Here for You at Home Campaign 2020



MOCA has achieved the highest possible rating from GuideStar. We’ve also received top ratings from Charity Navigator, Charities Review Council and BBB WiseGiving Alliance for transparency and accountability.

GuideStar Platinum Participant logo, Charity Navigator - Three Star Charity logo, Charities Review Council - Meets Standards logo

The information presented is drawn from Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance’s financial statements, audited by CliftonLarsonAllen. They are available upon request or on our website at mnovarian.org

2020 Revenue

2020 Expenses

The MOCA Board and staff are deeply saddened by the tremendous loss of Board Vice Chair Teri Woodhull and Treasurer Ginger Wilhelmi, who both passed away from ovarian cancer in 2021.

We are truly grateful for their outstanding service to MOCA and lasting contributions to change the course of ovarian cancer.


Teri Woodhull

MOCA Board Vice Chair

Ginger Wilhelmi

MOCA Board Treasurer

Board Members

Staff Members