Robin and Joseph Kanarek founded the Kanarek Family Foundation, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, in 2006 to honor the memory of their son, David, who lost his life to leukemia at the age of 15. The mission of the foundation, is to improve the quality of life for those effected by cancer and other serious, life threatening conditions through the promotion, education and integration of palliative and supportive care into all areas of health care. 

context for our work

The catalyst for the creation of the Kanarek Family Foundation was the loss of Robin and Joseph’s young son, David in 2000, following a five year battle with cancer. Even with the most advanced medical care available, the psychological circumstances of a patient undergoing intensive, curative treatment can be neglected due to its complexities--this is a terrible disservice to the patient, their family and to all involved. Quality of care, trust and empathy are also impeded. It was through the Kanareks own experience with David that they realized that there are critical aspects of psychological support required in caring for those with a life threatening illness. Those areas include palliative, supportive care and end-of-life education. The Kanareks are ardent believers that nurses have an essential role in promoting and educating the benefits of this emerging field into their practices and into health care services.


  • We invest in concepts that are innovative and practical.
  • We actively consult and engage with each program that the Foundation supports.
  • We encourage all initiatives to make a commitment to the promotion and education of nursing professionals and to consider the impact the profession can have as leaders in a complex health care environment.
  • Each organization we work with will be expected to provide the Foundation with periodic reports and measureable results to demonstrate that the cause we sponsor will have a positive impact on patient care or health care delivery.
  • The Kanarek Family Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for proposals at this time.

Board of directors

Robin Kanarek, RN, President
Joseph Kanarek, Vice-President
Jenny Devanny, CPA, Secretary and Treasurer
Bruce Shapiro, MD
Malcolm Martin, Esq
David Leibell, Esq
Sarah Kanarek, MS, OTR