Nonprofit-headerWell before Angelina Jolie made headlines with her own choice, Lindsay Avner, at the age of 23, became the youngest patient in the country to opt for a risk-reducing double mastectomy with reconstruction.

After losing her grandmother and great-grandmother to breast cancer before she was born, and watching her mother fight both breast and ovarian cancer, she underwent genetic testing and learned that she carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene — indicating she had up to an 87 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and up to a 54 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer. That knowledge led to her decision to have surgery.

Building on her passion for the cause, her experience as a patient and her background in brand management, in 2007, Lindsay launched Bright Pink, an organization focusing on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women, and providing support for high-risk individuals.

Like many other nonprofit organization founders, Lindsay’s passion for a cause drove her ambition and paved the road to her organization’s success. Nonprofit organizations, unlike their for-profit counterparts, are exempt from income taxation. Their primary purpose is to advance their mission rather than to make money.


According to an in-depth study by Johns Hopkins University, the nonprofit labor market grew steadily over the decade 2000 to 2010, “achieving an average annual growth rate of 2.1 percent” compared to an average annual decline of .6 percent in the for-profit sector.

LindsayAvnerPhoto1The Bureau of Labor Statistics includes nonprofit founders under the broad category of “Social and Community Service Managers,” whose median annual income in 2014 was $62,740. The employment outlook for this sector is better than average, expected to increase more than 20 percent over the next decade due to the growth in demand for social, community and health-related services.


Lindsay Avner talked to JMA about the intersection of her personal and career paths, where Bright Pink was born.

Images: John Reilly 

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