Expert Analysis of Disease Research to Guide Donor Decisions

Apr 24, 2007, 8:14 AM, Posted by Susan Promislo

Pioneer made a grant to FasterCures last year to establish a new program, the Philanthropic Advisory Service, that provides the equivalent of investment-grade analyses for nonprofit medical disease research groups.  The idea is taking flight -- FasterCures announced last week that they received a $35 million grant from the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation, in addition to the $1.4 million they'd received the week before from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Some of the Redstone Foundation, and all the Gates Foundation, funds will help to expand the Philanthropic Advisory Service.  The hope is that independent analyses of disease research efforts and impacts will “inform and guide philanthropic support of such research” both in the U.S. and globally. Ultimately, the aim is to leverage increased philanthropic funding toward innovative work that may speed the time from discovery to treatment to cure.

What do you think of this approach?  How else might we help donors target their dollars to where they'll have the most, and perhaps fastest, impact?

Update, April 27:  Lucy Bernholz of the blog Philanthropy 2173 adds her comments here.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas blog.