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Not Your Parents' Philanthropy


By Christian Braemer

Cofounder & CEO, Benefunder


Just as personalized medicine is taking healthcare by storm, producing better results and reducing costs, the notion of personalized, high-impact giving is following some of the same trends. The days of one-size-fits-all philanthropy is becoming a thing of the past, with more and more donors demanding results for their generosity.


You don't need to look any further than what's trending with the millennials, who are already expressing greater demand for knowledge-based and data-driven giving with full expectations of keeping apprised of progress and milestones. They want to know where their money is going and how it is making a direct impact. If either of those aren't up to par, they go elsewhere.


These demands are rising as philanthropy becomes more of a family decision. This important shift offers a powerful opportunity for new conversations between wealth advisors and their clients as novel approaches to philanthropy are needed. As we mention in this newsletter edition, I will be attending the Council on Foundations Annual Meeting  April 24-28  to meet with other global leaders about the shifts in giving, and how Benefunder fits into the solution.


Asset management has evolved from transaction-based to fee-based to now what's known as goals-driven wealth management. Now is the time for goals-driven philanthropy to incorporate diversification, asset allocation, and planned giving, creating a new and much needed dynamic in this space.


We all have a cause we care about; in fact it's the No. 1 reason we give. Causes relate directly to a problem that drives us, and we use philanthropy to try to solve it. Whether it's clean water, a cure for cancer, alleviating poverty, more efficient transportation, or greater understanding of cross cultural issues, none of these are solved in just one silo. It takes many elements, approaches, attempts, and even disciplines, and of course, sufficient resources. In order effectively take on these challenges, we will need a better strategy that is precise, tactical, efficient, personal, and collaborative.


Relying on traditional philanthropy or government isn't going to get the job done. Our tax code allows for us all to do our part and make our own decisions on how we give back and pay it forward; the best thing we can do is make it count.
Benefunder's mission is to facilitate this new kind of philanthropy and let advisors and their clients personalize, pinpoint, and engage with causes that matter most to them.  
To find out more I invite you to explore our web site  



To learn more about our Charitable Innovation Fund or how Benefunder can become an integral part of your practice, please contact Tom Paparatto at


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Welcome to the Benefunder Impact Report, a bimonthly newsletter created to inform and inspire. Our mission is to help create a new marketplace for planned giving, while fueling innovation. 


Council on Foundations Annual Meeting

Benefunder will be traveling to San Francisco for the Council on Foundations Annual Meeting April 24-28. The conference brings together global leaders from across philanthropy to develop ideas and strategies that will shape the future. The Annual Meeting will focus on natural resources & energy; civil society; and economy & finance -- all areas represented on Benefunder's research platform.


Benefunder executives will meet with other industry thought leaders to discuss philanthropic platforms that enable new ways to engage donors and connect them with top researchers who are working on breakthrough treatments for diseases such as breast cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as well as effective solutions for protecting the environment and curbing climate change. Philanthropists have a powerful opportunity to fund what matters to them while boosting the economy, and creating jobs and sustainable communities across the nation. 

As federal research dollars remain stagnant, top universities are seeking alternative funding platforms to help push innovation forward. One such institution is Syracuse University, which recently announced a partnership with Benefunder to take advantage of our unique platform that connects donors with top researchers in various fields, including life sciences, new technologies, the environment, and arts and humanities. Read more here. To stay on top of the latest news and information, visit our News page. 





Did you know the Gatorade you are drinking came from a university lab? The iconic sports drink was invented in the summer of 1965 by researchers at the University Of Florida after the assistant football coach asked them to determine why so many of his players were being affected by heat and heat-related illnesses. Once the researchers -- Dr. Robert Cade, Dr. Dana Shires, Dr. H. James Free and Dr. Alejandro de Quesada -- introduced their Gatorade formula to the team, the Gators began winning, finishing the season 7-4.


From Google to Gatorade, numerous ideas and inventions have come from our nation's universities that have advanced our lives, created jobs, and are vital to our economy.  


Through Benefunder, donors have a chance to fuel future innovations that will greatly impact and benefit society. Who doesn't want to fund the next Gatorade, Google, Tesla or even modern day Divinci? Keep your eyes peeled for more "Everyday Innovations" in future Benefunder newsletters.  



Today's news headlines are a constant reminder to us why Benefunder exists, from articles about dwindling federal research budgets to why billionaires want to privatize American science.


In a recent article in the Huffington Post, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said, "There is probably nothing more stimulative in terms of economic growth than innovation.That innovation comes from basic scientific research. That is the message that I would have: If we would start to take a longer-term look to create value long term, rather than always succumb to the siren of short-term gain." Read more here. 





While currently watching the rapid decline of his father (a former NASA researcher) due to Alzheimer's, Yale University chemist Craig Crews has discovered limited therapeutic options for the disease.


In fact, drug limitations span across many of today's diseases, frustrating both scientists and patients. Crews and his team hope to change that with a novel method to help drug companies quickly identify promising targets for new drugs by tricking cells into getting rid of problematic proteins. Due to the fact that many rogue, disease-causing proteins can not easily be blocked using a small molecule drug approach, Crews' technique will allow scientists to drug the "undruggable."


This new approach can be applied to diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. Like the more than 600 researchers on the Benefunder platform,  Crews, also executive director of the Yale Center for Molecular Discovery at West Campus, is taking advantage of our unique funding model that connects philanthropists with top academics and innovators. Click here to see what he has to say about the value of academia and business working together to help push novel solutions into the market to benefit society, while giving philanthropists a smarter way to give. Watch his full Benefunder video here. 


Crews is also acclaimed for his work for developing Kyprolis?, a Food & Drug Administration (FDA)-approved anti-cancer therapy for patients with relapsed multiple myeloma. Read more in his Benefunder profile.