Goals & Future
A campaign for space
Our Mission and Goals
After a year of hard work and dedication, The Denise Roberts Breast Cancer Foundation (TDRBCF) became nationally recognized as a 501 C 3 non-profit organization, in April 1998. By the end of that year in December 1998, Denise Roberts closed her store, Designe By Denise, which she originally opened in response to her surviving breast cancer. She thrived for thirteen years as an entrepreneur out of her passion for living. But the day had come when she was called to serve a greater purpose. She gave up one dream to pursue another.
Meetings were held every day on the stairs of Denise’s home. There was a loft at the top of the stairs where her personal desk became the official office of TDRBCF. The stairs were the volunteers’ seats and the baskets around the desk were the file cabinets. There was a one 24-hour hotline number that referred women and men to different clinics throughout Los Angeles County where they could go to get a mammogram.
By that time, her oldest son (Shane) was away at college and her daughter (Heaven) was a senior in high school. No stranger to working for her mother, Heaven got to work again, but this time it wasn’t forced. Denise’s family supported her dream to become a vital part of the breast cancer awareness cause. They encouraged her to use her boisterous voice as a tool in reaching and educating women and men of color about breast health and early cancer detection. Heaven became the youth coordinator, which made her responsible for gathering as many of her friends as possible to help spread the word about TDRBCF, by passing out fliers and influencing them to tell their parents to get involved. Denise gathered friends to be on her Board of Directors through which TDRBCF planned many fundraisers in hopes to raise enough money to be able to afford real office space—somewhere that was larger than the stairs that lead to the loft at Denise’s house, yet still had the comfort of being at home. Denise called it “a campaign for space.”
In April 1999 TDRBCF acknowledged its commencement with its inaugural Founder’s Day Celebration at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, California. At this sold-out event, Denise Roberts stood on stage along side Howard Hewitt, Anna Marie Horseford, Debbie and James Ingram, and asked the audience for space to work. Within months, Denise’s husband (Antoine Roberts, M.D.) noticed there was some abandoned space at one of the clinics he worked at in Fox Hills (then owned by Tenet). He then introduced Denise to the Chief Executive Officer of the Centinela Fox Hills Clinic, who happened to have been in the audience at the Founder’s Day celebration. He remembered Denise’s exuberance on stage and unfalteringly showed her how to go about acquiring the abandoned Urgent Care Center at the clinic, through the Tenet Healthcare Foundation.
Home for the Future
Our Clinic and Office
Imagine if you will anything you have worked diligently to achieve that is now tangible: your first car, a home, a promotion at work, an “A” on a test. So many emotions are brought forth with this sensation of completion: relief, exuberance, humility and most importantly gratitude. These and many other feelings of joy overwhelmed Denise Roberts’ emotions when office space at the Centinela Medical Center in Fox Hills was donated to The Denise Roberts Breast Cancer Foundation in January 2000.
From the back entrance of the clinic there was a door that led to a space. On the glass door there was a sign that read: The Denise Roberts Breast Cancer Foundation: Women and Men of Color Fighting Breast Cancer. Underneath the title, an illustration of a woman hugging her daughter was outlined by a heart. On the bottom of the sign were the words: “From a mother to a daughter/ son…” as well as the times the clinic is open to the public. As you walked into this space, there was a small lobby to your left and to the right of the door there was a very large, rounded oak reception desk, where the Foundation’s first receptionist welcomed and registered new patients. To the left of the waiting area is the mammogram machine room, where a technician came to work four days out of the week.
“The clinic’s significance is hope! We have an actual location where people can’t run away, where we can replace fear with love, support, and education. We have created an environment that makes women and men feel comfortable. It is the extension of my home, where it all began, but now we have access to a mammogram machine and actual space that we can call our own.”
- Denise Roberts, 2000
In February 2005, the clinic went under new management, leaving the Foundation with one office upstairs, away from the breast screening area and with only enough room for one intern to work efficiently.
In 2008 TDRBCF acquired space a the Freeman Medical Towers in Inglewood, which soon also went under new management.
In Q4 – 2009 TDRBCF was left homeless, but continues to diligently seek opportunities to help those in need of breast screening. Its toll-free 888 number has never been disconnected and thus TDRBCF stays connected to its mission to help uninsured or under-insured women be proactive about their breast health through early detection and education.