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MI Philanthropy December 2023 Newsletter

MI Philanthropy December 2023 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Program Updates
Reports and Resources
MI Philanthropy and Our Partners in the News

Among our highlights this quarter, MI Philanthropy, in partnership with the Kissick Family Foundation, launched a major report and funding program focused on advancing progress for frontotemporal dementia research (FTD). Breakthrough Discoveries for thriving with Bipolar Disorder (BD2), an initiative launched and led by MI Philanthropy in partnership with a consortium of philanthropists, continues to make giant strides in building a robust system for research into bipolar disorder, including the announcement and launch of the inaugural network of funded teams. Read more in the BDmilestones report.

The five finalists for the Milken-Motsepe Prize in Green Energy have been announced. Teams are now working toward the $1 million Grand Prize, which will be awarded in May 2024 at the MI Global Conference in Los Angeles. And in October, the Institute, with leadership from MI Philanthropy, hosted its first-ever Gun Violence Prevention Innovation Forum focused on bringing sectors together to develop and scale solutions. An executive summary of the report is available upon request.


Milken Institute Future of Health Summit

The Milken Institute’s annual Future of Health Summit took place in November, bringing together medical experts, renowned scientists, political leaders, and nonprofit champions to foster innovative ideas and develop actionable policy.

MI Philanthropy sessions at this year’s Summit focused on how philanthropy can build a more diverse and equitable health ecosystem, embracing moonshot philanthropy to revolutionize human health, models for rare disease research, what speech can tell us about health and well-being, and creating a transparent and open medical research system. All sessions can be streamed from the MI website.

health team at fhs
(left to right): Melissa Stevens, Executive Vice President, MI Philanthropy, Milken Institute; Cara Altimus, PhD, Managing Director, MI Philanthropy, Milken Institute, and Managing Director, Breakthrough Developments for thriving with Bipolar Disorder; Debi Brooks, CEO and Co-Founder, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research; John Crowley, Executive Chairman, Amicus Therapeutics; Jennifer Lotito, President and Chief Operating Officer, RED

Preventing Gun Violence: A Milken Institute Innovation Forum

The Milken Institute hosted the Innovation Forum on Preventing Gun Violence in San Francisco on October 25–26, 2023, as part of the ongoing Milken Institute Gun Violence Prevention Initiative. This first-of-its-kind convening explored how technologies, expanded community collaboration, and innovative models could unlock real progress to prevent gun violence and address its societal repercussions. The event brought together a small cross-sector group of philanthropists, researchers, corporations, financial institutions, public health professionals, artists, and advocates to create potential breakthrough approaches to address gun violence in the United States. The forum took place as another tragic mass shooting unfolded in Lewiston, Maine, which served as a devastating and sobering reminder of the urgency of this work. The Milken Institute Gun Violence Prevention Initiative will continue its work with further convenings, programs, and thought leadership in 2024, including the creation of a funding roadmap for the prevention of gun violence in the US, in partnership with the Joyce Foundation.

group of philanthropy
Milken Institute CEO Richard Ditizio and MI Philanthropy Senior Director Emily Musil Church with attendees of the Milken Institute’s Innovation Forum on Preventing Gun Violence

MI Philanthropy Is Hiring

Please share the following positions with your networks:
•    Senior Associate, Science and Health Philanthropy
•    Associate Director, Science and Health Philanthropy

Program Updates

  • The Kissick Family Foundation Frontotemporal Dementia Grant Program, in partnership with MI Philanthropy’s Science and Health team, launched its first-ever funding program for FTD research. Up to $2.5 million in total funding will be made available to scientists from around the world whose work aims to increase scientific understanding of sporadic forms of the disease. 

  • The BD2 leadership team was invited to give their second annual program update to Research!America, a research advocacy alliance. On November 14, the BD2 Discovery Grants team began vetting applications for a second cycle of research grant awards. The team is reviewing letters of intent and will invite successful applicants to submit a full proposal later this year. 

  • The five finalists for the Milken-Motsepe Prize in Green Energy were announced on October 30. Each team will continue to develop their innovations and be assessed for their ability to increase access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity in Africa, with one team taking home the $1 million Grand Prize. Visit the Milken-Motsepe Prize web page for competition updates.

  • The Ann Theodore Foundation and the Milken Institute announced the five teams selected to receive funding for research to advance understanding of the underlying biology of sarcoidosis. Over $3 million has been awarded to researchers representing five institutions in the United States and Europe. Studies will run for two years, and researchers will present their findings at an annual retreat and publish them in an open-access journal.

Reports and Resources

  • MI Philanthropy has been working in partnership with the Visa Foundation to landscape corporate philanthropy and explore an evolving environment where corporate funders are adapting to meet society's changing needs. The shift toward strategic philanthropy reflects a broader trend in the sector, driven in part by increasing consumer expectations for corporations to play a more significant role in addressing global challenges. Corporate Philanthropy: Emerging Strategies for Lasting Impact highlights a dynamic landscape where corporate funders are using innovative approaches to address social and environmental issues, align philanthropic efforts with core business values, and collaborate with other stakeholders.

  • Frontotemporal Dementia: A Giving Smarter Guide analyzes the research and funding landscape for a particularly complex form of dementia and highlights opportunities for further investment in this space. Released in partnership with the Kissick Family Foundation, this guide was accompanied by a new funding program to advance basic and fundamental discoveries for sporadic FTD. 

  • The Follicular Lymphoma Foundation (FLF), together with MI Philanthropy, released a report assessing the therapeutic landscape for follicular lymphoma, a slow-growing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. This report identifies gaps in current drug development and promising developments that may accelerate the path to a cure for FL.

MI Philanthropy and Our Partners in the News

  • Agnes Stephens, associate director, MI Philanthropy, authored an article about FTD and the reasons for focused attention on sporadic forms of the disease.

  • Lauren Harte-Hargrove, executive director of the Misophonia Research Fund, was quoted in a detailed USA Today article about what misophonia is, how people experience it, and its prevalence. 

  • Cara Altimus, senior director, Milken Institute, and Managing Director, BD², was featured in a November POLITICO article focused on #brainhealth.

  • Hilary McConnaughey, associate director, MI Philanthropy, authored an article about how philanthropists can embrace trust-based philanthropy practices.

  • McConnaughey and Martine Polycarpe, senior associate, published an article in Giving Compass about trends in corporate philanthropy

  • The Baltimore Sun published a major feature about BD2, exploring the funding and research landscape, and BD2’s approach for improving the way bipolar disorder is studied.

We hope you enjoyed our latest newsletter. For real-time updates, follow us on Giving Compass, LinkedIn, and Twitter.