Philanthropy Advisory Service Set Up Online to Leverage More Philanthropic Funding of Innovative Disease Treatment

Creating a medical research investment analysis service to leverage more philanthropic funding of innovative disease treatments

    • March 23, 2010

Researchers at FasterCures, a nonprofit organization that works to speed progress from medical research to medical solutions, created the Philanthropy Advisory Service, an online "information marketplace" that supports informed investment in nonprofit biomedical research. It was launched in April 2009.

According to project staff, philanthropists—especially individual donors—are providing growing support for medical research. The number of nonprofit organizations doing research on specific diseases is also burgeoning. However, little independent information is available to ensure that philanthropists’ investments in nonprofit biomedical research are efficient and effective.

FasterCures, based in Washington, developed the Philanthropy Advisory Service to help close that gap. The online service hosts reports on existing research on key diseases, and reports and databases on individual nonprofit organizations that do research on those diseases.

Key Results: Project staff at FasterCures reported the following results to RWJF in May 2009. They:

  • Developed two 40-plus-page reports on Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.
  • Developed 10 30-plus-page reports on nonprofit organizations performing research on either of those two diseases.

    The evaluations required the cooperation of each organization. Project staff talked with staff members at the organizations about the results, and opportunities for improving their effectiveness.
  • Created the Philanthropy Advisory Service, a password-protected, but free-of-charge, website that hosts the reports, searchable databases on the leadership and research portfolios of nonprofit biomedical research organizations and a tool for comparing their key attributes. The site includes responses from the profiled organizations. As of December 2009, 155 users had enrolled in the site.

In September/October 2007, PricewaterhouseCoopers provided pro bono services to conduct a landscape analysis of the target market of the Philanthropy Advisory Service.