FAQ

If you’d like to donate to the Foundation, please see the Donate page.

To qualify for a grant, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. You or someone in your immediate family must have made a significant contribution to science as a research subject without personal benefit, particularly those who have been used in research or contributed biological materials for research without their knowledge or consent. For more information, visit our grants page.
  2. You must be in financial need.

If you qualify for a grant and would like to submit an application, you may do that here.

We provide financial assistance to individuals in need, and their families, who have made important contributions to scientific research without personally benefiting from those contributions, particularly those used in research without their knowledge or consent. For more information, see the About section.

The Foundation was established in January 2010, and received tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization in December 2010.

The Foundation benefits individuals and their families who have made important contributions to scientific research without personally benefiting from those contributions, particularly those used in research without their knowledge or consent.

The Foundation has awarded more than 50 grants to many qualifying members of Henrietta Lacks’s immediate family. It has also awarded education grants to the family members of the survivors of the Tuskegee Syphilis Studies through its support of The Voices of Our Fathers Legacy Foundation.

Once an application is completed and it is determined that the applicant meets the criteria listed above, the Board of Directors evaluates the application to determine whether the grant being requested is consistent with the stated mission of the foundation, which awards grants for education, medically necessary medical and dental needs that are not covered by an applicant’s insurance, and in rare cases grants for emergency assistance connected with maintaining housing and employment. Once it is determined that the application fits within the mission of the Foundation, and that the recipient is eligible to receive such a grant, the Board of Directors votes on the application.

A full list of the Board of Directors is available within the About section.

Rebecca Skloot is the founder of the Henrietta Lacks Foundation and author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. For more on Rebecca, and answers to commonly asked questions about her writing and her work with the foundation, visit her official site.

Though members of the Lacks family have received grants from the foundation, the foundation is not affiliated with the Lacks family and has been established to benefit the general public by, among other things, providing financial help to those in need who have made contributions to scientific research unwillingly or unknowingly. The Board of Directors has been carefully selected to include specialists with a deep understanding of the story and legacy of Henrietta Lacks, and her family, as well as other potentially qualifying recipients. Consistent with IRS guidelines, the foundation has adopted a conflict of interest policy designed to ensure that the directors and officers of the foundation are not potential beneficiaries of grants. To that end, no member of the Lacks family sits on the board, which allows members of the Lacks family to remain eligible to apply for grants and helps to ensure that the Board of Directors will be free from any conflicts of interest in implementing the charitable mission of the foundation.