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Tambourine Announces the ALS Breakthrough Research Fund, Releases Inaugural Request for Proposals

News Release
Tambourine Announces the ALS Breakthrough Research Fund, Releases Inaugural Request for Proposals

WASHINGTON, DC (May 24, 2023) — Tambourine, in partnership with the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy, today announced the ALS Breakthrough Research Fund and released the Fund’s first Request for Proposals (RFP). The Fund seeks to change how we understand and treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by supporting innovative basic and discovery-focused research around the world. It particularly focuses on soliciting and funding creative, high-risk, high-reward ideas that might not otherwise fit existing grant programs but hold the potential to generate breakthrough insights.

ALS is a progressive, fatal, neurodegenerative disease that affects an estimated 350,000 people around the world at any given time. Most people living with ALS survive only two to five years after being diagnosed. Despite common patterns of symptoms, ALS is a highly heterogeneous disease, and the mechanisms that govern its disease onset and progression in most people are either unknown or poorly understood.

To better understand the current scientific gaps in ALS and opportunities for funders and advocates to make a difference for people living with ALS and their families, Tambourine and the Milken Institute released a major report highlighting critical needs to better understand and cure ALS. The Giving Smarter Guide, released in 2022, offered several promising opportunities where philanthropic investments could uniquely facilitate major advances. The ALS Breakthrough Research Fund builds on the findings of the guide by funding high-risk, high-reward, and innovative discovery-driven research proposals.

“We couldn’t be more honored and hopeful in our pursuit to fund research that could unlock the next big breakthrough in ALS. We’re thrilled to join the growing community of philanthropists focused on accelerating discoveries to ultimately find a cure to this devastating disease,” said Divya Silbermann, Tambourine.

Patients and family advocates, as well as private and public funders, have helped drive significant progress and momentum in the field of ALS over the past two decades. That has ranged from the development of valuable new scientific resources to dozens of clinical trials that have resulted in new therapeutics approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Nonetheless, there is no known cure for ALS, nor do we know how to prevent its onset. New approaches are sorely needed.

“Tambourine is providing a new avenue to fund creative and innovative research ideas that will advance our scientific understanding of ALS. The Milken Institute’s analysis has made clear that novel approaches to understanding the fundamental aspects of this disease are lacking, and this Fund seeks to fill that gap,” said Cara Altimus, senior director at the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy.

The ALS Breakthrough Research Fund is accepting one-page Letters of Intent (LOI) through Wednesday, June 21, 2023. Applicants must first submit an LOI for consideration and then may be invited to apply for funding up to US$600,000 over two years. The Fund’s full Request for Proposals is available on the Milken Institute’s website.

Awardees for this cycle of funding should expect to be notified in early December 2023.

Media Contact

Mala Persaud
[email protected]

About Tambourine

Tambourine is the philanthropic initiative of Ben and Divya Silbermann. Drawing inspiration and drive from their family experience with ALS, their work includes funding to address access and inclusion challenges for people living with ALS and their families, as well as research to enable breakthrough scientific discoveries.

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. For more information, visit:

About the Center for Strategic Philanthropy

The Milken Institute Center for Strategic 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. For more information, visit our website.