WASHINGTON, DC (September 20, 2023) — The Ann Theodore Foundation Breakthrough Sarcoidosis Initiative (ATF-BSI), in partnership with the Milken Institute, launched its latest round of funding today. Up to $3.4 million in total funding will be made available to researchers from around the world whose work aims to increase scientific understanding of sarcoidosis. The program is accepting applications for two-year research projects and intends to award four to six research grants from doctorate-level investigators at qualifying research-based institutions worldwide. Awardees may be eligible for a third year of funding.
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease identified by clusters of immune cells called granulomas, usually found in the lungs but found throughout other organs in the body. For some, sarcoidosis resolves on its own. For others, it can be a chronic, debilitating condition. Sarcoidosis affects 2.3 million Americans, and African American women are at a higher risk than other demographics. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, arrhythmia, and potential organ damage and death if granulomas persist.
In 2020, the Ann Theodore Foundation partnered with MI Philanthropy to study the sarcoidosis research landscape and understand how philanthropic capital could improve outcomes for people living with the disease. In 2021, the two organizations developed the strategy, launched, and led the ATF-BSI to advance progress toward better treatment for individuals with sarcoidosis. Since the program’s launch, with strategic guidance and counsel from the Institute’s philanthropy experts, nearly $6 million in research funding has been awarded.
Sarcoidosis is considered a rare disease, partly because many individuals go undiagnosed. MI Philanthropy’s Sarcoidosis: A Giving Smarter Guide, published in 2021, indicates a lack of awareness among clinicians and understanding of sarcoidosis, leaving individuals undiagnosed and without effective care. The guide provides an in-depth analysis of the sarcoidosis field, suggesting strategic funding avenues to accelerate progress. ATF-BSI uses insights from the report to implement grant programs that reflect the identified gaps in funding and research.
“Sarcoidosis is a small yet rapidly advancing field,” said Cara Altimus, senior director of MI Philanthropy. “With a dedicated, steady infusion of philanthropic capital, we have seen a community of researchers grow and collaborate in ways never seen before.”
“Varied perspectives and expertise are key to achieving progress in sarcoidosis research, which will then lead to better treatment,” said Lisa Spalding, senior partner at The Philanthropic Initiative, on behalf of the Ann Theodore Foundation. “We hope that by strengthening the research landscape with regular funding, we can attract and sustain the talent needed to make that progress.”
Researchers, including but not limited to genetics, epidemiology, molecular biology, immunology, cardiology, and those who work in other granulomatous conditions, are welcome to apply. ATF-BSI encourages investigators to develop research approaches that can be assessed and understood across multiple relevant disciplines.
The Ann Theodore Foundation Breakthrough Sarcoidosis Initiative is accepting one-page Letters of Intent (LOI) through Wednesday, October 25, 2023, ET. Individual researchers are eligible for up to $460,000 in funding over two years, and interdisciplinary teams will be eligible for up to $575,000 over two years. Applicants without prior sarcoidosis research experience do not have to apply with a sarcoidosis expert to qualify for funding.
Awardees for this funding cycle should expect to be notified in April 2024.
About The Ann Theodore Foundation
The Ann Theodore Foundation believes in a world where all children and families have access to opportunities to achieve their goals, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. The Foundation supports various initiatives, including college scholarships, opportunities for learning and enrichment for young people, food security, climate change mitigation, and research towards a cure and care for people with sarcoidosis. Since 2019, the Ann Theodore Foundation has given nearly $15 million in grants and scholarships nationwide.
About the Milken Institute
The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank focused on accelerating measurable progress on the path to a meaningful life. With a focus on financial, physical, mental, and environmental health, we bring together the best ideas and innovative resourcing to develop blueprints for tackling some of our most critical global issues through the lens of what’s pressing now and what’s coming next.
About MI Philanthropy
MI Philanthropy advises individuals and foundations seeking to develop and implement transformational giving strategies and offers leadership to make the philanthropic landscape more effective. We conduct deep due diligence across a range of issue areas and identify the areas where philanthropic capital can make the biggest impact and create a better world.