Michael J. Nathanson
2016 Catalyst Award Winner
When Michael Nathanson joined the Board of the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) in 2011, the organization was at a critical juncture. Although the NBTS had been operating for eight years, it needed a strategic focus, a sustainable fundraising plan and its Board lacked coordination. Almost 700,000 Americans are living with a brain tumor today, and Michael is one of them. As a non-malignant brain tumor survivor, he was inspired to help others who receive the same terrifying diagnosis. There is no cure and, over the last 30 years, only four drugs have been approved for the treatment of malignant brain tumors with limited efficacy.
Michael has not only brought passion and determination to the NBTS, but also the expertise needed to move it forward. Soon after joining the Board, Michael became Board Chair and led the nonprofit through a strategic planning process. What emerged through this process was a reinvigorated organization – one that was not only more transparent and operationally sound, but also focused exclusively on research and advocacy efforts. NBTS has since brought industry, academia, and government together through its Defeat GBM (glioblastoma multiforme) Research Collaborative and Project Impact, a research collaborative for fighting pediatric brain tumors. Today, NBTS’s mission seeks to make brain tumors a chronic, yet manageable disease by the year 2025.