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The Age of Philanthropic Reform  


By Christian Braemer

Cofounder & CEO, Benefunder


Like many people, I have been disappointed and disheartened over the recent news about certain charities embezzling millions of dollars from donors who thought they were supporting cancer research. This makes the important work nonprofits do more challenging.


This also brings up the hot-seat topic of philanthropy reform. According to a recent

New York Times article, Who Will Watch the Charities?"There has been a push in recent years to hold nearly every sector of American life to tougher standards of accountability, from professional sports to finance to medicine to higher education. The same scrutiny needs to be applied to philanthropy."


So, how do we keep the pendulum from swinging too far? The best way forward is for nonprofit leaders to step up and renew their commitment to donor stewardship. The ultimate goal of any foundation should be to close its doors as quickly as possible because its mission has been reached. A great example is the Michael J. Fox Foundation, whose aggressive goal is to help accelerate a cure for Parkinson's Disease so the organization is no longer needed. It is essential that charities measure themselves on real impact rather than the size of their fund or even how much they can raise.


Through Benefunder's Charitable Innovation Fund, 90%  of a donor's contribution goes directly to the research institution for the innovator, which provides them the resources they need to meet their research goals without having to bother with the bureaucracy normally associated with giving.


At Benefunder, we have created a new and improved giving model that allows the donor to decide what to fund, while providing the information they need to make smarter decisions. Additionally, we work with wealth advisors looking to do right by their clients. We have streamlined  the gifting process, which is usually expensive and time consuming, and rarely produces solid results. We believe in promoting long-term engagement between donors and recipients, and we do this through our platform, events, and regular updates.    


I hope to see other nonprofits adopt similar new strategies  to better serve donors while increasing transparency . This will promote positive news headlines and create more impactful giving, while supporting the innovation economy that America was built upon.









To learn more about our Charitable Innovation Fund, please contact Tom Paparatto at


Connect With Us

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. 


Benefunder Partners With Children's National Health System to Advance Pediatric Research

Benefunder has launched its first pediatric partnership with Children's National Health System in Washington, D.C.  


Through Benefunder's Charitable Innovation Fund, researchers from Children's National will be linked to philanthropists who want to build lasting relationships, and fund cutting-edge research that is improving and changing kids' lives. Read more here.



Benefunder Recognized by Telly Awards


Benefunder has been named a Bronze winner by The Telly Awards for its compelling videos portraying top innovators across the nation.  

The Telly Awards honor the very best film and video productions, groundbreaking online video content, and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs.  

This year's awards received 12,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries.   

Special congratulations to Benefunder producer Heidi Rataj for her quality work. You can view our award-winning video channel here .

Read more here.





About eight years ago Washington State University engineer Amit Bandyopadhyay, a pioneer in 3D printing, collaborated with a neurosurgeon who was working on a patient suffering from a serious motorcycle injury.  


The neurosurgeon was desperately in search of an implant that could substitute a missing piece of the patient's skull. Bandyopadhyay measured the left side of the skull, which remained intact, copied it, and designed an implant that would be 3D printed to fit the rest of the skull. If only this concept could become commonplace reality, such products would be invaluable for patients.


Bandyopadhyay uses advanced manufacturing techniques for novel materials and coatings to solve emerging as well as long-standing challenges in the healthcare, space and aerospace industries. His novel solutions could revolutionize the way products are made in the future.

Read more about his fascinating work here.





Social Philanthropy Key to Engaging Millenials 

Want to engage the next generation of wealth? A conversation about social philanthropy might be a great place to start. Recent survey data reports that 42% of millennials under 30 believe social change is as important as profit, compared with only 26% of those over the age of 45. In addition, 65% of young wealth holders rated charitable activities as an important part of their wealth creation plans compared to 58% for those over 45.

Aside from their overwhelming propensity to give, these next-gens also give differently.

They care less about brand loyalty and more about quantifiable results. So advisors should expect tough questions, and hands-on participation. The millennials aren't expecting a cure for cancer next year, but they do expect to be kept in the loop regarding milestones, updates and challenges.  


Philanthropy is increasingly becoming a family decision, making it a great way to engage millenials.

Benefunder's platform and services can  involve the entire family in their philanthropic decisions. Having access to the largest researcher portal in the nation is a great tool for advisors to start the whole family conversation.

To learn more about how to talk to the millennials about philanthropy, and how Benefunder can become an integral part of your practice, please contact Tom Paparatto at



UC San Diego Division of Biological Sciences 
During a recent Benefunder Lab Tour at the the UC San Diego Division of Biological Sciences, 15 business leaders and executives from various backgrounds watched neurobiologist Stefan Leutgeb record brain activity from a mouse running around in a maze. The research -- focused on how cells can be manipulated with light -- will help to make sense of systems that are frequently damaged in Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, and other neurological and psychiatric diseases.


The guests also toured the labs of Elsa Cleland, who is studying how climate change and invasive species are affecting our ecosystems; and Ananda Goldrath, whose research could lead to better vaccines in the future.


These Lab Tours are designed to help advisors uncover new philanthropic opportunities for their clients. Benefunder -- which offers a plug and play solution to advisors -- can fit the needs of most giving opportunities with our Charitable Innovation Fund. 


Benefunder is expanding its lab visits across the country. To be invited to a future tour, please contact River Brown at