Today we announced that Kids v Cancer is the winner of the 2015 Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation.

The judges recognized Kids v Cancer for its pioneering work in creating a program that expedites therapies for rare pediatric diseases.

The organization will be honored with a $100,000 prize, an amount made possible in large part through the generosity of The Coca-Cola Foundation.

The Drucker Award judges noted that they were particularly impressed that Kids v Cancer could achieve such significant results with just three full-time staffers and an annual budget of less than $250,000.

The Washington-based organization authored and successfully advocated for the passage in 2012 of the Creating Hope Act Rare Pediatric Disease Priority Review Voucher Program. Under the law, a company that develops a drug or biologic for a rare pediatric disease and then receives U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the treatment also obtains a priority review voucher. The voucher entitles the holder to a faster review from the Food and Drug Administration on another treatment, including a so-called blockbuster drug, potentially allowing it to reach the market much faster.

Previously, drug companies had little incentive to develop drugs for pediatric cancer because the market was relatively small. Because of the tremendous value of the vouchers issued under the Creating Hope Act—vouchers that can be sold from one company to another—the equation has now changed.

“Peter Drucker taught us that ‘most innovations . . . especially the successful ones, result from a conscious, purposeful search for innovation opportunities,’” said Rick Wartzman, the Drucker Institute’s executive director. “Kids v Cancer is a wonderful example of this, as it spotted an opportunity to meet an important health need by changing the way that pharmaceutical companies look at the economics of developing pediatric cancer drugs. As a result of altering the structure of the market, this nonprofit has had a huge impact.”

Indeed, in the 20 years before enactment of the Creating Hope Act, the FDA had approved only two drugs specifically to treat pediatric cancers. In the few years since the act’s passage, the FDA has issued a voucher to United Therapeutics for Unituxin, which has been hailed as a major advance in the fight against neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer. In addition, two other Creating Hope Act vouchers for treatments of other pediatric diseases have been issued. And vouchers have recently sold for large sums—one for $245 million and another for $350 million—spurring a number of companies to enter pediatric drug development.

Kids v Cancer is now working on several new projects to meet its mission of “changing the landscape of pediatric research,” including collaborating with a team of European regulators, industry officials, scientists and advocates to propose incentives for pediatric cancer drug development under European Union law.

“It is a great honor to be the recipient of the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation,” said Nancy Goodman, executive director of Kids v Cancer. “We will use this recognition and this award to continue our effort to change the landscape of pediatric cancer drug development. We are thrilled that the Creating Hope Act priority review voucher program can enable companies to do well by doing good—by developing drugs for seriously ill children.

“The pharmaceutical industry is rich in scientific and business expertise, financial resources and infrastructure,” Goodman added. “It is our goal to harness those resources—not only through the Creating Hope Act but through future efforts—to benefit seriously ill children for whom there would not otherwise be incentives for drug development.”

In all, the Drucker Institute received 655 applications this year from nonprofits in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

The final judges for the Drucker Award included Wartzman; Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind.; Sumita Dutta, managing director at Golden Seeds; Dave Gallon, national manager of Strategic Insight and Innovation at Toyota Financial Services; Geneva Johnson, former president and CEO of Family Service America and Families International; C. William Pollard, chairman emeritus of ServiceMaster Co. and a member of the Drucker Institute’s Board of Advisors; Patrick Soon-Shiong, the founder of NantWorks; Avi Steinlauf, CEO of; Bryan Walker, associate partner at IDEO; and Kathy Waller, CFO and executive vice president of The Coca-Cola Company.

The Drucker Award has been given annually since 1991 to recognize existing programs that meet Peter Drucker’s definition of innovation—“change that creates a new dimension of performance.” The cash prize is designed to celebrate, inspire and further the work of innovative social-sector organizations based in the United States.

Wartzman pointed out that the Drucker Award application has itself become a way to teach nonprofits about Peter Drucker’s key principles of innovation. A survey of those completing this year’s application found that 94% said they now had a better understanding of how their program was innovative, and, most significantly, 81% said the application had prompted them to explore additional opportunities for innovation in their work.