2020 Annual Report

A Year of Overcoming Challenges

Advancing Our Mission and Leading Amid a Crisis

For Fred Hutch, the COVID‑19 pandemic created hurdles to cancer and other research but also an opportunity for the virology expertise developed over decades of work on bone marrow transplants and HIV cures to help stop a global crisis. This report charts those efforts, our unwavering commitment to cancer research, and our impact over the last year.

A Message from Fred Hutch President and Director Dr. Tom Lynch

After one year of leadership, a look back at the Hutch’s resilience and contributions to curing cancer, COVID-19 and other diseases 

When I stepped onto the Hutch campus to start my tenure on Feb. 1, 2020, I knew I was about to lead a remarkable scientific institution. What I didn’t yet appreciate was the resilience of the people who worked there and of my new community. This past year has tested all of us in ways that we never could have predicted.

I am tremendously proud of how we have responded to the pandemic. Fred Hutch has always been a preeminent institution for research on HIV and other viruses, though many didn’t realize that until now. When COVID-19 arrived in the U.S., our virologists, as well as many of our cancer and basic science researchers, jumped into the response. I think everyone in the Hutch community can be proud of the significant role we’re playing in stopping the pandemic.

Our work in genomic epidemiology helped the world follow the epidemic’s spread. Our researchers searched for monoclonal antibodies that might work as therapeutic agents. At the request of Dr. Anthony Fauci, we built from the HIV Vaccine Trials Network to create the COVID-19 Prevention Network, or CoVPN; our speed in launching CoVPN’s five Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trials played a pivotal role in getting vaccines into people's arms so quickly. We also embraced new opportunities to educate the public with the latest information and research — more than 50,000 people have participated in our virtual forums to learn and ask questions of our experts. 

Meanwhile, we continue to work incredibly hard to find cures for cancer. Our researchers, working in shifts to maintain safety, remain remarkably productive despite the limitations the virus has placed on us as a workplace and as a culture. We are not wavering in our commitment to pursue fearless science that will make a difference for humanity.

In 2020, we also increased our commitment to drive diversity, equity and inclusion within the organization and across our research. Achieving these goals is not only the moral and just thing to do, it is inherently tied to the success of our science. Cancer and the other diseases that we research disproportionately affect people of color and underserved communities. We need to understand why and learn how to reduce those inequities. The work that Dr. Paul Buckley — our vice president and chief diversity & inclusion officer — his team, and Fred Hutch employees are doing together will ultimately make a difference for all of us.  

Fred Hutch has been the beneficiary of extraordinary generosity this year from people who support our cancer research and donated to our COVID-19 efforts. That continued dedication is a remarkable expression of support and love for the work that goes on at the Hutch every day. Thank you.

Through the year, I have been struck by people’s ability to endure, to find those small moments of connection and even joy, while putting their all into tackling this new disease. I see a time of emergence for us in the not-too-distant future, when we’ll knit our society back together. I can’t wait to finally connect in person with all of you.

Signature of Dr. Tom Lynch

Thomas J. Lynch Jr., M.D.
President and Director
Raisbeck Endowed Chair

Pandemic Pivot 

Across the organization, researchers and staff shifted their focus or quickly adapted as COVID‑19 disrupted lives and work.

The Organization Responds

On March 4, 2020, Fred Hutch’s leadership activated a mandatory remote work policy as the Seattle area became one of the first U.S. regions impacted by the novel coronavirus. The move came as a significant portion of the research staff had already pivoted their focus to tracking and understanding the COVID‑19 disease and the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes it.

For the rest of 2020, Hutch researchers produced a remarkable volume of papers, preprints and insights about the virus and disease even as work continued to find cures for cancer, HIV and related diseases.


On-Campus Transmissions
Through rigorous screening and protocols, the staff that remained on campus continued to work safely in shifts.


Virtual Attendees
We held dozens of virtual events to keep our community informed as the pandemic evolved and guidelines shifted.


Percent Efficacy
The Moderna vaccine trial data was analyzed by the COVID-19 Prevention Network that is led by Hutch researchers.


Generous Donors
Philanthropic support allowed scientists to tackle the coronavirus while continuing to research cancer cures.

Researchers Apply Their Expertise to a Global Crisis


Fred Hutch computational biologist, Dr. Trevor Bedford.

Tracking a pandemic: Q&A with a COVID-19 detective

MARCH 13, 2020 — What Fred Hutch expert Trevor Bedford is learning as he chases the coronavirus evolution and spread

Former Fred Hutch President and Director Dr. Larry Corey

Dr. Larry Corey at the center of COVID-19 vaccine research

JUNE 4, 2020 — Fred Hutch scientists play key roles in 'harmonizing' clinical trials; lead CoVPN

Coronavirus close up illustration

What happens if the coronavirus's spikes mutate?

AUG. 13, 2020 — First-of-its-kind study explores how changes in the virus’s ‘lock picks’ could help or hinder its ability to sneak into our cells

Graphic cartoon illustration of protein structure with rods, curvy lines and other shapes

Scientists map structure of potent antibody against coronavirus

OCT. 27, 2020 — Computer-generated images show why immune protein neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 

Dr. Neelendu Day promotes #GivingTuesday. Dr. Neelendu Day promotes #GivingTuesday. Dr. Neelendu Day promotes #GivingTuesday.

Thanks to Science — and You — Hope Is on the Horizon

When the pandemic hit, we were concerned that philanthropic support would slow. Instead, our community showed up stronger than ever. Community members understood that fearless science, and their support, was never more important.

From the moment our researchers pivoted to tackle COVID-19, donors responded, raising more than $9 million for our coronavirus efforts while continuing to support our cancer research. They increased their gifts and raised money on their own for Fred Hutch. When we emailed, phoned and texted to let donors know about special giving days in May and December, the response was overwhelming: 2,400 people gave more than $1.2 million. Close to half of the gifts we received in 2020 came from new supporters.

Fueled by this support, we’ve kept our lifesaving cancer research moving forward while helping to lead the world out of the current crisis.

Supporters at the Heart of the Hutch

Birigit Saalfeld holding home made masks.
Birgit Saalfeld

Innovators Network member

When the pandemic hit, I started sewing face masks and sold them to the community, donating all proceeds to Fred Hutch. Their groundbreaking, innovative and lifesaving research has always inspired me. It gives me hope for finding a cure for cancer and other devastating diseases.

Photo of Terry and Sharon Covey
Terry and Sharon Covey

Loyal donors and cancer survivor

Our need for the stimulus payments was not as important as the need for continuing the research that Fred Hutchinson does. Hopefully, we are a small part of helping as Fred Hutch helps so many. It was the right thing to do.

Photo of Shari Leid
Shari Leid

President's Circle member and cancer survivor

I supported the Hutch because they saved my life. And they're making a difference in my community. It's almost impossible not to be touched at some level by the work done at Fred Hutch.

Social media influencer Chibi_Ichig0 gets a pie in the face to raise funds for Fred Hutch.

Supporters Get Creative

Our researchers think outside the box — and so do many of our supporters. From massive holiday light displays to online charity streams by social media influencers, they are activating their communities to join the quest for cures. Twitch streamer Chibi_Ichig0 offered fans fun incentives, including a pie in the face, when donations to her Hutch fundraiser reached $1,000.

McElrath Study staffers work in the Covid-19 sample collection tents.

Advancing COVID-19 Research Together

Thanks to donors, we are applying 45 years of expertise to solve a completely new problem. We opened a unique clinical research center to test treatments. We’re isolating antibodies that neutralize the coronavirus and decoding the immune system’s response to infection. We’re leading large-scale vaccine trials and ensuring groups that face the highest risk of infection and death from COVID-19 are equitably represented.

Dr. Alyssa Webster, recipient of the 2020 Brave Fellowship, laces up in her Brave Like Gabe Launch 7 running shoes.

Corporate Philanthropy Steps Forward

Businesses of all sizes contributed to our research. Brooks Running funded a new research fellowship supported by sales of their Brave Like Gabe Launch 7 running shoe, named in honor of runner Gabriele “Gabe” Grunewald, who died of cancer in 2019. Support from companies like Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and UMC helped accelerate our COVID-19 efforts, while Microsoft matched donations toward both cancer and COVID-19.

Trusted Voices

Our experts did countless media interviews, posted preprints, shared social media stories, attended virtual events and more to provide trusted information.

Sharing Scientific Insights

The pandemic sparked a surge in interest in scientific research, and our scientists and leaders stepped up their efforts to serve as trusted sources of information. They embraced opportunities to educate the community about what was happening with the pandemic, how it was affecting vulnerable populations, including cancer patients — and how it could be stopped.

Through hundreds of media interviews, thousands of social media posts and dozens of virtual events, our team worked to answer questions and concerns about the virus, the disease, its spread, and treatments and vaccines. They relied on thoughtful insights drawn from the latest data and discoveries.

graphic with photos of Tom Lynch, Michele Andrasik Trevor Bedford, Larry Corey and Josh Schiffer, and the words "Science Says Expert Series"

Science Says Series

The Science Says Expert Series brings together leading researchers in cancer and COVID-19 to share the latest research and answer questions from the community. Held monthly, the live virtual event features scientists and experts from across the Hutch and beyond. These events are supported by the reporting from the Fred Hutch News Service that covers and explains key scientific developments and connects our work to broader trends.

image from a virtual meeting for T-Mobile with Tom Lynch, Stephaun Wallace and Julie McElrath, plus the words: Welcome to P&T Learning Day! Meet Fred Hutch Experts on the Frontline of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Community and Partner Engagement

Going virtual has allowed us to take our lunch and learns to employees at companies and organizations that have a national and even global presence, such as Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Bungie Studios, Expedia, and Starbucks. Our scientists share valuable information about our research in cancer and COVID-19 and answer questions. More than 10,000 people attended these events in 2020.  

Hutch Researchers Share Insights Through the Media

Why the coronavirus is more likely to ‘superspread’ than the flu

AUG. 7, 2020 — Dr. Josh Schiffer emphasizes the importance of “superspreader” events. Most people won’t spread COVID-19 widely. The few who do are probably in the wrong place at the wrong time in their infection, models suggest.

What computer-based models can tell us about coronavirus

MAY 20, 2020 — Computer models are not crystal balls. The work that goes into making them is complicated, as is their ultimate purpose. Dr. Elizabeth Halloran explained her COVID-19 modeling work and some of the caveats of model predictions. 

The race for a coronavirus vaccine runs through Fred Hutch

NOV. 18, 2020 — Seattle’s cancer research center became a nexus for coordinating and understanding vaccine studies. Starting in July, Fred Hutch has served as the operations hub for the National Institute of Health’s COVID-19 Prevention Network.

How Seattle’s corporate giants banded together to flatten the curve

APR. 17, 2020 — Drs. Tom Lynch and Larry Corey recalled the start of the COVID-19 epidemic and discussed Fred Hutch’s efforts to track and control the virus along with other notable Seattle companies who found themselves on the front lines.

Continuing Our Mission

The pandemic didn’t stop or even slow our efforts to research and discover cures for cancer and HIV. Breakthroughs big and small continued.

Progress Against Cancer, Related Diseases

Researchers working in the lab and the clinic — and sometimes at home — made critical discoveries in 2020 that are improving care for cancer patients today and may lead to more new treatments in the future.

New cures, treatments and vaccines are built on the foundation of discoveries in basic biology — an area that Hutch scientists continued to explore and advance.

Clinical trials were briefly affected by the pandemic but quickly ramped back up as new safeguards were developed and put in place.

Key Discoveries by Our Researchers


a highly magnified image of a tumor cell cluster

The secret signals tumor cell clusters use to drive metastasis

A study led by Dr. Kevin Cheung identified nanolumina: intercellular chambers where tumor cells share growth signals, driving cancer spread.

Dr. Petros Grivas speaks on the phase III JAVELIN Bladder 100 Trial

Immunotherapy trial in advanced bladder and other urinary tract cancers shows 'exciting' results

A practice-changing clinical trial evaluated the immunotherapy drug avelumab for patients with advanced urothelial cancer, showing that those who received the immune-boosting drug after chemotherapy lived longer.

Illustration of a brain with a network of connections

A new guidebook to the brain

A team led by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linda Buck described a technique they dubbed Connect-seq, which makes it possible to map neural connections — creating a guidebook to navigating the brain. 

Dr. Martine Aubert and Dr. Keith Jerome in the Jerome Lab, 2016.

Progress on a Cure for Herpes

Drs. Keith Jerome and Martine Aubert published a paper demonstrating how they had destroyed up to 95% of herpes virus lurking in certain nerve clusters of mice using an updated version of a gene-editing tool developed 10 years ago. 

Screenshot of the Heroes for Herpes fundraising webpage.

Supported by a Crowdfunding Effort

For the past two years, a crowdfunding group with members from 50 states and 35 countries has been cheering on Dr. Keith Jerome’s effort to cure herpes. The passionate supporters have raised $441,000 through Fundraise for Fred Hutch, fully funding a critical study of a new herpes cure strategy that would demonstrate the method's safety before it moves to human trials.

Harold deVries, an Operating Engineer with the Facilities Team, installs a large BLACK LIVES MATTER banner on the roof of the Yale Building at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, June 16, 2020.

Driving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Amid the protests in Seattle and around the world, Fred Hutch renewed its commitment to core principles that are the foundation of our scientific mission, including democracy, justice, equity and the pursuit of knowledge. We increased our efforts to be an inclusive and equitable workplace that centers our work on the equal value of all human lives, including plans for a faculty “cluster hire” to improve diversity.

The newly created Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: DEI Program Manager Ana Parada, Administrative Director Dr. Paul M. Buckley and Faculty Director Dr. Chris Li

'Humanity is at the heart of this'

MARCH 18, 2020 — Dr. Paul M. Buckley (center) stepped into the newly created role of administrative director of Fred Hutch’s new Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. With faculty co-director Dr. Chris Li (right), Buckley will spearhead the Hutch’s efforts to make our science and culture more inclusive and diverse.

Stylized photo of Dr. Eddie Mendez in a lab

2020 Dr. Eddie Méndez award recipients named

MAY 5, 2020 — Fred Hutch announced nine recipients of the Dr. Eddie Méndez Scholar Award. Created in 2019, the award recognizes the late Dr. Eddie Méndez and his commitment to supporting early-career scientists, particularly those from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Chadwick Boseman appears on the red carpet in front of a Captain America backdrop

Using genetic data to overcome disparities in colon cancer rates

OCT. 2, 2020 — With the help of a three-year grant from the National Cancer Institute, a team of Hutch public health researchers will lead a collaboration to address colon cancer inequities among people of color.

Building for the Present and Future

Efforts continued to expand and adapt our campus to ensure our facilities meet the needs for our research today — and in the future. After more than two years of reconstruction efforts, scientists moved into their new labs at the renovated Lake Union Steam Plant. Also in October, the COVID-19 Clinical Research Center was opened to conduct innovative studies for SARS-CoV-2-positive participants.

User loads flow cytometry sample onto probe in the Steam Plant building.

Steam Plant facility opens

The 106,000-square-foot historical Lake Union Steam Plant provides a collaborative space for nearly 300 scientists and staff focused on immunotherapy, translational data science and related programs. 
Take a virtual tour

A private patient room in the Covid-19 Clinical Research Center.

COVID-19 Clinical Research Center

Funded by philanthropic donations and public-private partnerships, the CCRC is one of the first facilities in the nation designed to test novel interventions to treat and prevent COVID-19.

Lorna Nolan assists Irina Boguslavski with face protection in Shared Resources' Specimen Processing facility.

Using science to keep our campus safe

Like every other organization, Fred Hutch had no playbook for how to get employees back on-site amid a pandemic. But decades of scientific expertise have been crucial to keep labs open.

Cesar Salmeron, a Cancer Information Specialist, takes calls from his Seattle area home.

Answering the calls

The free, government-funded Cancer Information Service provided crucial support to cancer patients during the pandemic, and Fred Hutch's contract to run the service was renewed for five more years.

Obliteride: A Triumph of Compassion and Action

In 2020, the Obliteride community proved again that we are unstoppable, together. When we replaced our in-person event with a safe virtual season, participation went global. From Seattle to Antarctica, Obliteriders put their hearts, sweat and tenacity to work to honor loved ones and power lifesaving research. A record-breaking 3,197 participants — from all 50 U.S. states, 17 countries and seven continents — biked, walked, ran, kayaked, climbed, swam and more, joining up with more than 13,000 donors to raise $3.1 million for fearless science.

Thanks to our amazing sponsors, 100% of participant-raised funds went right to cancer and COVID-19 research at Fred Hutch.

Obliteride will be virtual again in 2021. Registration opens April 6. Join us!

Obliteriders shared how, and why, they geared up to support lifesaving cancer and COVID-19 research at Fred Hutch.

Riding out the pandemic with Obliteride

JULY 24, 2020 — Necessity is the mother of invention, and in the face of the mother of all pandemics, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center reinvented its annual summer fundraiser into a sort of global competition full of fun, healthy and, in some cases, wildly creative challenges.

Absent were Obliteride’s customary large gatherings and group bike rides. In their place for this year’s season-long event, people safely raised money for the Hutch’s scientific research from wherever they lived — Seattle, San Diego, New Hampshire or Norway — and however they liked.

Some biked and others ran, walked, rowed, climbed, kayaked, jumped rope, practiced yoga and, yes, even skateboarded and ate pizza, if that’s how they chose to roll. Continue reading

Fearless Science

Hutch researchers are unlocking the secrets of data, harnessing our immune system and digging deep into the function of our cells to halt cancer, COVID-19 and other diseases. The world is counting on fearless science — and fearless science is counting on us.

The Hutch donor community was crucial in supporting our work in 2020, and in December we gathered virtually to celebrate that support. While we couldn't be together physically, we remain connected by our passion for lifesaving science.

pull quote photo

We need audacious vision and goals, because cancer is a really tough adversary. And we need people who are equally tough and equally persistent. That is what our dollars support.

Kathy Surace-Smith, chair, Fred Hutch board of trustees

Dr. Thomas Lynch introduces himself to staff and faculty at a town hall on February 4, 2020.

Welcoming a New Leader

Dr. Thomas J. Lynch Jr. became the sixth president and director in Fred Hutch’s 45-year history in February. With expertise in solid tumor research, precision medicine and immuno-oncology, Lynch has been a nationally recognized leader in academic medicine for more than three decades. Additionally, the Hutch welcomed two new members to its board of trustees along with a new chair and vice chair in June.

2020 Endowed Chairs

Dr. Jen Adair

Fleischauer Family Endowed Chair in Gene Therapy Translation

Funded by Mark and Kristin Fleischauer

Dr. Ruth Etzioni

Rosalie and Harold Rae Brown Endowed Chair

Funded by the Rosalie and Harold Brown Foundation

Dr. Phil Greenberg

The Rona Jaffe Foundation Endowed Chair

Funded by The Rona Jaffe Foundation

Dr. Thomas Lynch Jr.

Raisbeck Endowed Chair for the President and Director

Funded by James and Sherry Raisbeck

Dr. Stan Riddell

Burke O’Reilly Family Endowed Chair in Immunotherapy

Funded by Dave Burke and Louise O’Reilly

Dr. Rainer Storb

Milton B. Rubin Family Endowed Chair

Funded by Milton B. Rubin

Financial Overview 

We believe that nonprofit organizations like Fred Hutch should be both transparent and accountable to the public. 

Adjusting to Exceptionally Difficult Times

The pandemic added significant uncertainty and volatility to the global financial outlook, and starting in March the organization implemented a series of cost-cutting measures to ensure the strength of our finances. Generous philanthropic support, new public partnerships, strong federal funding as well as new opportunities tied to research around COVID-19 helped Fred Hutch manage and mitigate the potential impact of the pandemic on our finances. These numbers are for our fiscal year 2020, which ended in June.  

Operating Revenues

Total: $654,618
Operating Revenues graph
Operating Revenues graph blue $407,372 (62%)

Contracts and Government Grants
$407,372 (62%)

Operating Revenues graph green $124,979 (19%)

Gifts and Philanthropic Grants
$124,979 (19%)

Operating Revenues graph light-sea-green $40,585 (6%)

Investment Income
$40,585 (6%)

Operating Revenues graph teal $81,682 (13%)

Other Income
$81,682 (13%)

Sources of Philanthropic Contributions

Philanthropic Giving graph
Sources of Philanthropic Contributions graph blue 47%

Gifts from Individuals

Sources of Philanthropic Contributions graph green 31%

Philanthropic Grants

Sources of Philanthropic Contributions graph teal 10%

Planned Gifts

Sources of Philanthropic Contributions graph light-sea-green 8%

Fundraising and Community Events

Sources of Philanthropic Contributions graph gray 5%

Corporate Gifts

Operating Expenses

Total: $663,305
Operating Expenses graph
Operating Expenses graph blue $558,525 (84%)

Program Services and Research
$558,525 (84%)

Operating Expenses graph teal $86,054 (13%)

Management and General
$86,054 (13%)

Operating Expenses graph green $18,726 (3%)

$18,726 (3%)

All figures in thousands. Percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.

Looking Ahead

The pandemic will only be a hurdle in our quest to cure cancer and HIV, but it will likely change how research is carried out in the future.

A Hopeful Outlook for 2021

Our researchers and staff are working harder than ever before, often in round-the-clock shifts. Meanwhile our community of partners and donors has inspired us with their trust in our science and commitment to our mission. We are tremendously grateful.

The increasing availability of vaccines means our experts forecast a positive shift in the course of the pandemic in the coming year. With that hopeful outlook as a foundation, we asked researchers across Fred Hutch to talk about what they are expecting in 2021 — not only in COVID-19, but also in the diseases that we’ve been facing year after year.


I am optimistic that I will be able to ski with my grandkids for their winter break in December 2021. 

Dr. Larry Corey

Principal Investigator, CoVPN


As more and more front line and health care workers get vaccinated, that’s going to be a strong signal of confidence in these vaccines to the general public.

Dr. Parth Shah

Assistant Professor, Public Health Sciences Division


I hope our research on pediatric brain tumors makes progress toward the clinic in 2021 and it brings comfort to patients and their families who have suffered from this terrible disease.

Dr. Amanda Paulovich

Professor, Clinical Research Division, Aven Foundation Endowed Chair

Connect with Our Community

Graphic with the text: Science Says Expert Series and image of a virus

About the Series

The volume of information, discussion and opinion surrounding us adds challenges to making informed decisions about your health. We bring together leading experts in cancer and COVID-19 to share the latest research and answer your questions.

Join the Conversation
Graphic illustration of people biking, running and walking through Seattle for Obliteride

Get Ready for Another Year

Obliteride — our premiere community participation and fundraising event — will be held Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. Registration for the virtual event opens April 6. Every dollar raised will fuel cancer research.

Be notified when we go live

Content direction by David Patton. Designed by Sarah Jo White. Written by David Patton and Lesley Reed. Photography and Videography by Robert Hood/Fred Hutch News Service.

Questions? Contact communications@fredhutch.org

Take a look back at our 2019 Annual Report

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