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On January 4th, 2019, Law No. 13,800 was enacted, which established general guidelines forthe constitution and operation of endowment funds in Brazil.

Also called an “endowment” (translated from English to Portuguese), the endowment fund is an important tool for the sustainability of non-profit organizations such as ABRALE and ABRASTA.

It is a permanent fund, through which philanthropic donations are managed, with the objective of using the proceeds to support causes of public interest, in areas such as health, education, culture and the environment.

In order to guarantee the perpetuity of the endowment fund, the principal amount must be preserved and the rules established for the use of results obtained from the investment of the fund’s assets.


Concerned with ensuring the continuity of the projects developed by the Brazilian Association of Lymphoma and Leukemia (ABRALE) and by the Brazilian Association of Thalassemia (ABRASTA), Merula Steagall created her own Endowment Fund Management Institute, inaccordance with recent legislation, with the aim of constitute a source of long-term resources to support both institutions and the broad development of their social objectives.

In addition, thee Merula Steagall Institute will foster and promote public interest causes related to health, research, social assistance, education, the defense and guarantee of rights, science, technology and innovation, primarily when such causes are directed to patients with lymphoma, leukemias, thalassemia, other malignant or benign hematological diseases and other cancers, and their families.


In order for the social objectives to be achieved, it will be necessary to:

  • Capture donations from private individuals and legal entities, national or foreign, from foreign states and from international and multilateral organizations, legacies and other resources, through various mobilization actions and initiatives.
  • Allocate the fund income to the ABRALE and ABRASTA projects and activities to causes of public interest defined in the Institute’s Bylaws.
  • Sign partnership instruments and terms of execution of programs, projects and other purposes of public interest with both Associations, and eventually with other institutions dedicated to the public interest causes defined in the Bylaws.
  • Support the development of research, studies, technologies and innovations of practical application, capable of bringing greater understanding of the demand and positively impacting the life of patients with leukemia, lymphomas, thalassemia, other malignant or benign hematological diseases and other cancers, and their families.
  • Support various actions aimed at causes related to prevention, diagnosis, treatment and social reintegration of patients with lymphomas, leukemias, thalassemia, other malignant or benign hematological diseases and other cancers, and their families.
  • Support teaching, research and extension actions to other educational, cultural and artistic actions, on topics of interest to the Merula Steagall Institute, especially those related to Oncology and Hematology.
  • Produce and disseminate information, knowledge and studies that relate to its purposes.


Merula Steagall is a manager, mother, thalassemia major patient, creator of important social projects and, especially, an innovator.

From an early age, Merula faced health challenges. When she was 3, was diagnosed with thalassemia major, a severe, hereditary type of anemia. She was discredited by doctors, who told her parents that she would not live beyond the age of five – at the time, treatments for thalassemia were limited, precarious and there was little scientific knowledge about the disease.

As she grew up, gradually expanded his achievements and expectations, following and benefiting from the news of science. Dealing with the idea of terminality, at all stages of life, made her develop a sense of urgency for her personal and collective projects, boosting her choices.

Going against all the statistics of the prognosis of her health condition, at the age of 55 Merula has several achievements in her professional and personal life:

  • She is the mother of three children (Dina, Daniel and Roberto) and wife of Denisarth.
  • For two decades, she stood out as a businesswoman in the tourism segment and later in housewares.
  • In 2000 she began her dedication to the social sector. For more than a decade, she presided over the Brazilian Association of Thalassemia (Abrasta) and enabled important advances in access to treatment for this anemia type, expanding the knowledge of doctors and impacting on the longer survival of people with thalassemia. Motivated by the positive impacts achieved on behalf of thalassemia patients, it decided to expand the actions and also offer support to people with blood cancers, who faced similar problems in accessing diagnosis and treatment and were cared for by the same medical specialty, hematologists. In 2002, she mobilized a group of patients with hematological cancer and their families and founded the Brazilian Association of Lymphoma and Leukemia (ABRALE). As president of the association since then, her focus is always to guarantee everyone the best cancer care and treatment, enabling positive clinical outcomes, quality of life, empowerment and attention to what is important to the patient. To achieve and fulfill the institution’s mission, it leads different projects implemented throughout the country, with the engagement of the entire assistance network for this cause:
  • Projeto Dodói, aimed at education and humanization in the care of children with cancer.
  • Alianza Latina, a network of associations throughout Latin America, which aims to exchange experiences and replicate the management model for organizations.
  • Onco Ensino, which promotes online qualification courses for professionals working in Oncology and Hematology.
  • Oncology Observatory, a digital platform for analyzing open data, to bring about improvements in public health.
  • Abrale Telemedicine, which offers free and remote care, with renowned specialists, to patients from all over the country.
  • Onco TeleInterConsulta, which facilitates doctor-to-physician dialogue and clinical management decisions, through an online tool.
  • Founder of Todos Juntos Contra o Câncer (All Together Against Cancer), a movement that brings together more than 200 organizations in favor of cancer prevention and control.
  • Winner of important awards, such as the Social Entrepreneur of Folha de SP, in 2013, and finalist of awards such as Claudia (2017) and Veja-se (2018).
  • Ashoka Fellow, since 2008.
  • Member of boards of international institutions such as TIF and Lymphoma Coalizion.
  • Writer of her autobiography “Courage is in the blood”.
  • Creator of the “Merula Mix” seasoning. Passionate about cooking, during the pandemic, she went on to study the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, calming, stimulating, healing and antibiotic properties of natural seasonings. And in order to find a perfect formula that combined flavor and health, she tested several combinations in her preparations and arrived at the perfect mix of seasonings, with which she presented nurses, doctors and friends as a way to motivate them to cook tasty food. and healthy. The praise received encouraged Merula to talk to her friend and neighbor Paula Franco, director of Miss Croc. Therefore, in December 2021, the “Merula Mix” began to be produced, packaged and marketed by Miss Croc. There are all the flavors and benefits of seasonings in a single spoon, and with all the profits reverted to Abrale’s projects. The “Merula Mix” brings different spices: turmeric, parsley, garlic, onion, allspice, tomato, carrot, leek (dehydrated) and much more.

Merula is an enthusiast when it comes to helping others. She is always one step ahead and now joins a select group of people who see the endowment fund as a way to foster the relevant participation of society, in initiatives that will impact an important cause and contribute to the sustainability of Abrale and Abrasta.

“I am very grateful for all the achievements that I have been able to lead and follow in these last 20 years of working on behalf of people’s health. And my purpose remains to help, always. It is necessary to give visibility to the urgent demands of patients, to engage everyone in a common and transparent purpose in order to gradually reduce the immense inequality that exists between health services in the country. Sharing the good is, without a doubt, a way of sowing love. Forming an endowment fund will ensure the sustainability of the beautiful work we started in 2002 and allow us to scale the impact of our projects,” says Merula Steagall.


Meet the names involved in the governance, management and sustainability of  Merula Steagall Institute – Endowment Fund Management

Administrative Council

President: Merula Steagall, administrator and president of the Brazilian Association of Lymphoma and Leukemia (ABRALE).

Alex Sandro de Lima, lawyer, founder of Orix Incorporadora e Participações and the content company “Sim no Meu Quintal”.

Claudia Angela Galleni Di Sessa Vellozo, managing director of the company Duplex.

Ernest Egli, economist and president of E. Egli Management Consultant.

Fábio Scopeta Rodrigues, Business Administrator and General Manager of Digital and Application Innovation at Microsoft.

Fernando Cotait Maluf, oncologist at BP Mirante Hospital and founder of the Vencer o Câncer Institute.

Fernando Piccinini Júnior, VP of Creation of Rino Com.

Nelson Hamerschlak, onco-hematologist at Hospital Albert Einstein and member of the Abrale Medical Committee.

Board of Directors

Executive Director: Dina Steagall, advertising, marketing at Banco Votorantin

Deputy Director: Newton José Leme Duarte, engineer at the USP Polytechnic School, executive president of COGEN-Association of the Energy Cogeneration Industry

Fiscal Council

Alexandre Sérgio Cavalcanti de Melo, engineer and general director of Officeware and ViaCognitiva.

Daniel Steagall, consultant and senior associate at BCG São Paulo.

José Calasans de Seixas Salles Netto, business administrator.

Investment Committee

Jairo Waiswol, Business Administrator and Director of Salotex

Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira, economist and President of the Center for Political Economy

Luiz Eugênio Araújo de Moraes Mello, physician and Scientific Director at FAPESP


ABRALE – Brazilian Lymphoma and Leukemia Association – was founded in 2002 with the mission of offering help and mobilizing partners so that all people with blood cancer in Brazil have access to the best treatment.


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