Skip to main content

Now live! Explore the program for the upcoming 2024 Global Conference, taking place May 5-8, 2024.

MI Philanthropy Newsletter: Fall 2023

MI Philanthropy Newsletter: Fall 2023

In This Newsletter

Program Updates
Reports and Resources
CSP and Our Partners in the News


Cara Altimus with Kacie Kelly,
(left to right): Cara Altimus, senior director, MI Philanthropy, with Kacie Kelly, chief innovation officer, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute at the Brain Health and Research Day Summit in New York

MI Philanthropy had a major presence at UN General Assembly side activities in September, attending meetings and hosting a dinner with experts in corporate philanthropy. Additionally, MI Philanthropy Senior Director Cara Altimus, PhD, participated in a discussion about philanthropy's unique role in tackling the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular the role of collaboration in improving brain health.

Asia Summit panel
(left to right): Melissa Stevens, executive vice president, MI Philanthropy; Binod Chaudhary, chairman, Chaudhary Group, Nepal; Deepali Khanna, vice president, Asia Regional Office, The Rockefeller Foundation; Shamina Singh, founder and president, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, and executive vice president, sustainability, Mastercard; and Gunhild A. Stordalen, founder and executive chair, EAT Foundation at the Milken Institute Asia Summit

Melissa Stevens, executive vice president, MI Philanthropy, moderated Philanthropy at the Forefront of Global Change at the Milken Institute Asia Summit on September 14. The discussion highlighted how philanthropists around the world are adjusting their approaches so that people and the planet can withstand large-scale global crises such as climate change.

Program Updates

  • In partnership with MI Philanthropy, the Ann Theodore Foundation Breakthrough Sarcoidosis Initiative (ATF-BSI) launched the third cycle of funding to increase the foundational understanding of sarcoidosis through projects focused on the biology and epidemiology of sarcoidosis. ATF-BSI is now accepting applications for two-year research projects. Learn more.

  • September 12 marked the first anniversary of BD2—and the celebration of funding decisions totaling $60 million directed toward bipolar disorder research. The request for applications (RFA) for the second funding cycle was released on September 19. Please share the RFA with your networks and sign up for thrive updates to receive emails with the latest information on funding availability, research findings, and more.

  • Breakthrough Discoveries for Thriving with Bipolar Disorder (BD2) held two major convenings for funded investigators conducting research into bipolar disorder. In June, 37 investigators attended the 25th annual meeting of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders in Chicago, gathering for the first time to network and meet with the program’s leadership and funders. In August, BD2 hosted the first meeting of the Integrated Network. Eighty-two investigators and partners from the network came together for a two-day meeting in Washington, DC, to determine program priorities and strategy. Cara Altimus, PhD, senior director, MI Philanthropy and managing director, BD2, led the meetings, sparking collaborations that will develop new ways to conduct research and change how bipolar disorder is studied, treated, and understood.

  • The Milken-Motsepe Prize in Green Energy awarded 20 semifinalist teams $20,000 each to demonstrate their ideas, with the goal of increasing access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity in Africa. The top five teams will be announced in October 2023. These five finalist teams will compete for the $1 million Grand Prize. Visit the Milken-Motsepe Prize webpage for competition updates.

  • MI Philanthropy partner Tambourine launched the ALS Breakthrough Research Fund to change how science understands and treats amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The fund released the first Request for Proposals (RFP) in May 2023 to support innovative basic and discovery-focused research, specifically high-risk, high-reward ideas. The RFP is now closed, and awardees should expect to be notified in early December 2023. See the RFP webinar and Milken Institute's news release for more information.

Reports and Resources

  • Pediatric brain cancer accounts for 16 percent of all new childhood diagnoses, making it one of the most common cancer diagnoses in children and adolescents. MI Philanthropy's Childhood Brain Cancer: A Giving Smarter Guide reviews the state of the field, identifies funding gaps, and outlines unique philanthropic opportunities to accelerate progress.

  • Caitlyn Barrett, PhD, associate director, MI Philanthropy, wrote an article for Giving Compass on the state of childhood brain cancer research and what it means for patients and their loved ones. Read about philanthropy's role in transforming how childhood brain cancer is diagnosed and treated.

  • Glorimar Barrios, senior associate, MI Philanthropy, wrote an article for Giving Compass on how to break down barriers to financial fluency in America. Learn how philanthropy can take steps to empower individuals to use the tools of the financial system to build wealth.

  • Stevens wrote a piece for Giving Compass consolidating resources outlining strategic investments that could accelerate progress in the mental health field.

CSP and Our Partners in the News

  • Building on an initial collaboration with MI Philanthropy to design and administer the first cycle of CURE FL Awards, the Follicular Lymphoma Foundation joined with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to announce a shared program to combat follicular lymphoma (FL). The second round of funding in the CURE FL awards aims to accelerate pioneering research and chart a path toward eliminating FL while inspiring hope among patients and families.

  • Should a foundation be time-bound or exist in perpetuity? It depends on the donor. The Wall Street Journal highlights perspectives and quotes Stevens.

  • Altimus spoke with The Journal of the American Medical Association, discussing BD2 and its efforts to transform research and care for bipolar disorder. Learn more about the BD2 collaborative approach.

  • WTOP news reported on the $96 million gift to Children's National Hospital for brain cancer research, one of the most significant donations in the hospital's history. Altimus and Barrett played a key role in this gift by identifying unique ways philanthropic capital could fill gaps in the current funding landscape of childhood brain cancer. Read MI Philanthropy's statement of support to learn more.

  • Inside Philanthropy featured MI Philanthropy partner Marilyn Simons and husband Jim Simons for their gift to Stony Brook University. The Simons' longstanding commitment to the university has helped grow the school into a leading research institution within New York. The Simons' also received a lifetime achievement award from Forbes Magazine for their work to advance mathematics and basic sciences research.

MI Philanthropy is Hiring

Please share the following positions with your networks.