Skip to main content

Children's Art Project

Identifier: hrc-mda-cap

Scope and Content Note

The Children's Art Project consists of 48 grouped archival boxes with 2 additional oversized containers, which include administrative documents, marketing and promotional materials, media and communications, and sample products. The collection both reflects the creativity and innovation of children living with cancer as well as the growth of a cottage industry into a successful nonprofit business.

In order to maintain and preserve the original order, each of the aforementioned 4 sections are spread out in multiple boxes in no particular order.

The Administrative Records series contain annual reports, business records, memorandums, and the history of the CAP from 1973 to 2014. These documents portray the inner-workings and behind-the-scenes action needed to build this nonprofit endeavor into a thriving business.

All Marketing and Promotional materials display the evolution of a simple idea into a mass-produced and nationally recognizable brand. Catalogs, sales and marketing information, news and magazine articles, advertisements, and other publicity materials are included in this series. Local and national sponsors have collaborated with the CAP to promote awareness of cancer research, supported programs and other ventures.

Media and Communications consist of correspondence inisde and outside the hospital network, media responses, photography of sponsored events, and press kits with various information concerning M.D. Anderson and the CAP.

The Products series reflects the variety of original artwork and merchandise. Products range from holiday greeting cards to apparel to decor and other gift items. The most prominent product type in the collection are the boxes containing greeting cards and stationery. Other products such as tote bags, Radko oranments, puzzles, t-shirts, etc. are scattered in various boxes throughout the collection. Additionally, all recordings, such as CDs, tapes, and DVDs containing educational and promotional material of the program, hospital, and sponsored events are located within this series.


  • 1973-2014


Language of Materials

Materials are written in English.

Restrictions on Access

Some of the documents are confidential, containing personnel and financial information, which should be restricted from review by others. Please see archivist for details.

Restrictions on Use

All requests for copying of materials must be submitted to the Historical Resources Center in writing for approval. All reproductions will be handled by HRC staff

Authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce must be obtained in writing by the Historical Resources Center

Administrative History

The Children's Art Project [CAP] is a therapeutic outlet for pediatric cancer patients and families. It has also become a business that offers multi-faceted programs and funding sources fundamental to helping patients achieve normal lives.

The story of the CAP starts and continues today with volunteers. Most of the efforts involved are driven by the tens of thousands of individual volunteers and the hundreds of corporate sponsors over the past four decades. One of the first innovators for this project was, in fact, a volunteer in the pediatric ward. In 1973, Melissa Puntenney, along with a few other volunteers, hosted Tuesday game nights and pediatric parties funded with money out of their own pockets and local fundraising efforts. She got the idea of selling holiday greeting cards after she heard a story of a church recycling old Christmas cards to raise money. After collaborating with the Department of Volunteer Services and printing vendors, the Children's Christmas Card Project [CCCP or sometimes labeled PCCP for Pediatric Christmas Card Project] was launched. To engage the children, prizes were offered to the top designs in addition to getting their art sold professionally. It was not long before this simple ideas become of the first hospital-based nonprofit businesses in the country.

Since 1973, art classes were provided for patients to relieve stress. The program offered patients the opportunity to use their artwork as holiday greeting cards that would be sold locally in grocery stores, malls, and other retail gift shops. Yearly successful card sales prompted more— more investment, more staff, and more art. Products expanded to non-seasonal cards, tote bags, books, toys, puzzles, Radko ornaments, stationery, and much more.

Proceeds allow the children to attend summer camps, field trips, pediatric parties, hospital-based classroom servics, receive scholarships for college and vocational schooling, utilize new equipment, and other patient-focused programs. The CAP "makes cancer history" by providinf the resources needed for a child with cancer to have a successful, normal life.

Despite economic recession in the 1980s, the business expanded due to unprecedented high sales and demands for the art products. Sales branched from the local Houston area to the majority of Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and other southern states. Consignments by corporate sponsors, such as Pizza Hut and Red Robin, contributed to the project's continual success. By 1987, public service announcemnts, radio commercials, and magazine articles were distributed all over tje country advertising the project and its goals to support pediatric oncology patients and their families. In 1995, the Children's Christmas Card Project rebranded into the Children's Art Project to accomodate the multiple artwork products and services provided.

Millions of cards have been sold since the project's inception and have been purchased all over the United States. Thousands of pediatric patients have participated and benefited from the product sales through the aforementione dprograms. Over $30 million total has contributed to support pediatric services and patient-centered cancer research. With the help of M.D. Anderson and friends, the CAP is one of the most recognized nonprofit businesses that supports pediatric patients' emotional, educational, and recreational needs.


42 Linear Feet


The documents and items from the Children's Art Project have been donated to the Research Medical Library's Historrical Resources Center and are located within the archive stacks. Administrative, sales and marketing materials, internal and external communications, and artwork products are included in this collection. Some materials contain sensitive health information and/or private institutional information, which should be restricted from review by others.

Processing Information

Collection Processed by Abigail E. Buchanan, Augustana College, Intern at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center - Research Medical Library, Summer 2017
Children's Art Project Collection, 1973-2014
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Resources Center, Research Medical Library Repository