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Center for Strategic Philanthropy

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Summary
Maximizes social return on investments by improving the deployment of philanthropic capital

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

About ALS 

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal, neurodegenerative disease that affects an estimated 350,000 individuals around the world at any given time. Despite common patterns of symptoms, ALS manifests differently from individual to individual. The mechanisms that govern ALS onset and progression in most people are either unknown or poorly understood. 

ALS doesn’t have a cure yet, but increased attention and investment from public and private funders over the last two decades have generated critical progress and momentum. In 2021, Tambourine partnered with the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy to review the ALS scientific and funding landscapes and identify opportunities for strategic philanthropic investments. This analysis revealed that an incomplete understanding of the disease’s fundamental biology and mechanisms remains a central, underfunded scientific barrier.  

ALS Breakthrough Research Fund 

The ALS Breakthrough Research Fund builds on the findings of the Giving Smarter Guide by funding high-risk, high-reward, and innovative discovery-driven research proposals. This program is supported by Tambourine, the philanthropic initiative of Ben and Divya Silbermann. Drawing inspiration and drive from their family experience with ALS, their work includes funding research to enable breakthrough scientific discoveries.  

This initiative seeks to change scientific understanding and improve the treatment of 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.

  • RFP Focus: The ALS Breakthrough Research Fund’s 2023 RFP received proposals that reflect exciting, foundational scientific directions that can shed light on ALS mechanisms, sporadic ALS, and non-inherited contributions to disease. The application window for the 2023 RFP is now closed. 

  • Review Process: All submitted proposals will undergo rigorous scientific peer review by an external panel of ALS and related experts. Proposals will be assessed across a number of criteria specified in the RFP. The ALS Breakthrough Research Fund’s scientific leadership – including the Scientific Advisory Board - will utilize scientific review feedback in tandem with the Fund’s strategic direction in making funding recommendations to Tambourine. 

Learn more about the 2023 RFP

ALS Breakthrough Research Fund Webinar

On June 8, 2023, the Milken Institute hosted an informational session ahead of the program’s Letter of Intent deadline.

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