August 2016 - In This Issue:
Curtesy of Council on Foundations
Why Wealth Management and Philanthropy are a Perfect Marriage

By Christian Braemer
Cofounder & CEO, Benefunder 
As a former financial advisor and part time 'do-gooder' turned entrepreneur, my path wasn't planned; it just happened. None of the pieces fit until Benefunder came about, but when it did, these worlds suddenly collided.

I remember when I used to manage wealth, clients would routinely ask me questions about charitable giving and I thought I was pretty knowledgeable, spouting regurgitated estate planning and various tax efficient strategies. Not realizing it at the time, my value was purely transactional in nature and only marginally relevant to what clients were actually interested in. Despite serving on nonprofit boards as many self respecting advisors do-when it really came down to it-I was ill equipped to have a meaningful conversation around impact, not because I didn't want to, but that I had nothing to offer. I never delved into the motivations, aspirations, or expectations around philanthropy because I wasn't comfortable with where the conversation might go. When push came to shove, I was happy making referrals to local charities, the community foundation, or simply processing a transfer request to a charity my client had somehow selected.

Having had a major health scare in the family, I was motivated to drop everything and embark on a new, completely uncertain path to solving a problem: that it was actually very expensive and time consuming to fund research. This perplexed me, since on the other side, researchers were struggling to keep their labs afloat and their very important work going. As it turns out, this is a major national problem that inhibits innovations and progress in every cause area someone might care about! In my quick study of how research works, I learned that there are many stages, from basic through translational, applied, and commercialization-and there could be literally hundreds of approaches to a given problem that might include multiple disciplines-it became obvious that a one to one approach could never be effective.

As a result, I started noticing a lot of parallels with what I had learned as an advisor and what it would take to achieve meaningful impact, since risk and time are associated with desired outcomes, and picking winners is rarely a successful strategy. Plenty of experts and individuals are doing amazing things, but few actually share their resources, which leads to many inefficiencies through lack of access and transparency, leaving many potential funders on the sideline or stuck using very inefficient vehicles. That said, funding research allows the donor to potentially have a transformative effect on all mankind; after all, this is where MRI, lasers, gene sequencing, internet, touch screen technology, and countless vaccines were invented.

What if we could take the same approach to funding research that we do for, say, retirement planning? What if we created a diversified portfolio of researchers, across all stages and approaches that were working on lung cancer? You'd set up a charitable account with your advisor, select a dozen or so top labs from the best institutions across the country working on diagnostics, gene/immunotherapy, drug delivery, and a maybe a promising clinical trial, and fund them all over an extended period. You and your advisor would get together annually for an impact review, maybe visit with or schedule a call with some of the researchers to go over milestones and progress for the year and adjust the approach as needed.

This may sound simple, but the results would be transformational for all parties, not to mention for humanity! Donors/clients would-for the first time-be able to connect directly with causes they care most about, advisors could apply their existing skill set and client base to offer a new service, and we could support the important breakthroughs and realize the potential that our incredible academic infrastructure can provide.

That's exactly the marketplace we're building at Benefunder, which includes a platform, community, infrastructure, and support to allow wealth advisors to seamlessly integrate impact philanthropy into their practice.The opportunity is huge, with 98% of high net worth families giving, and, according to a US Trust survey, 60% are dissatisfied citing poor transparency, low engagement, or inefficient use of funds as the reasons. Imagine if the 180K+ private foundations in the U.S. were to come together in a marketplace to share resources for more efficient distributions. Philanthropy is one of the best ways to involve the entire family in decisions that affect their legacy and the future of our planet.
Benefunder Invited to TEDMED "The Hive" 2016

Ben efunder is  one of 2 5 entrepreneurs and their organizations selected for The TEDMED 2016 Hive Program! 

What if 
Ruled the World?

Benefunder is taking part in TEDMED's special session  stage program.  CEO  Christian  Braemer will discuss the ways Benefunder is fueling innovative and pushing to make a global impact.  Learn more here.
Benefunder is a marketplace that connects philanthropists directly with researchers for more impactful giving. We work in partnership with wealth management and donor advised funds to ensure the greatest access, efficiency and engagement for all stakeholders.
Flight to Freedom: Enhancing Collaboration Between Vibrant Entrepreneurial Communities 
Benefunder is participating in Flight 2 Freedom (F2F) on  August 26th  in San Ramon, CA.  We will be joined by Stanford University researcher Alison Marsden, who is working on virtual heart surgery and u sing 3-D printed, patient-specific modeling.  Dr. Marsden's tests are proving successful and may lead to fewer surgical procedures for babies with heart defects, as well as improved lives.

F2F aims to propel entrepreneurship by supporting 
open communication between academics, entrepreneurs, 
government officials, financiers, and other specialists.  If interested in attending this exciting event, 
or to learn more, contact us here.

Benefunder Teams Up with Tiller, Leading Advocacy Marketing Firm

Benefunder is pleased to announce that we are working with Tiller, LLC- a leading advocacy marketing and strategic communications consultancy- to launch our new philanthropic wealth management platform.

Tiller works with non-profit organizations, foundations and companies to develop advocacy marketing and strategic communications platforms that raise awareness and understanding of critical and under-attended to social issues. They've created award-winning empowerment programs across a wide range of issues including  lung cancer, childhood grief, economic empowerment for minority youth and college affordability.

"We are thrilled to be working with Benefunder," says Rob Densen, Tiller founder and CEO. "We've seen first-hand, personally and professionally, the positive impact that research and innovation can have on the health and well being of individuals, families and communities across the nation and the globe. We believe Benefunder has a unique role to play in directing critical financial resources to   research funding opportunities that otherwise may have been overlooked."

The Tiller team also brings decades of financial services marketing and communications experience to the effort, representing some of the financial services industry's leading firms.

"We see surging  interest among high net worth individuals- and, as a result,  their advisors- in investment vehicles that are well-aligned with their social interests and convictions," Densen said.  "We believe Benefunder's model is well-positioned to take advantage of this important trend."

Benefunder Researcher Receives Second Donation for Plant-based Research
Since our last newsletter,  Boyce Thompson Institute researcher Daniel F. Klessig has received a second gift by an anonymous donor to support his novel research. Dr. Klessig's 40 years of research combines his knowledge of plant immunity with human health. 

Read more about his innovative work here .

Researcher Talks Securing Water in Cities with the Guardian
Dr. Farhana Sultana  Syracuse University is interested in how the global water crisis affects different communities and how to address these problems.

Dr. Farhana was part of an expert panel that discussed ways to  achieve urban water security and institutional change that allow solutions to be found, and whether or not existing resources can be used to achieve these goals.

Read more  here
Temporary Tattoo Can Track  Alcohol Intake

University of California, San Diego Researcher Patrick Mercier developed a temporary tattoo that monitors alcohol levels in the blood.

According to IEEE Spectrum, "The UCSD researchers took a less bulky approach that could also be less expensive. Mercier... 
made an alcohol monitoring system that has two parts. One is a temporary tattoo that clings to the skin... The other part is a flexible electronic board that's smaller than a stick of gum and attaches magnetically to the tattoo."

Read more about his novel tattoo  here.

In support of neurological health, we'd like to showcase some of Benefunder's leading experts in this field.

Rex Philpot
Dr. Philpot from University of South Florida assesses the effects of chemotherapy on cognitive function using novel animal models of naturally-occurring cancer. His research indicates that increasing certain dietary nutrients prevents deficits in brain function caused by chemotherapy.
This researcher, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), advances our understanding of human emotions relating to mental health, neurological conditions, autistic disorders, and mood regulation. Dr. Picard's innovative tools measure data and patterns to improve healthy emotional wellbeing and prevent depression and suicide for users.

Dr. Bendlin of University of Wisconsin-Madison wants to know how obesity, sleep apnea, and diet might impact Alzheimer's disease - and how we can prevent it. She uses novel brain imaging technology to see how the brain changes with age and to identify early signs of dementia.

The clinical symptoms of Parkinson's disease are caused by neuronal cell loss in small areas of the brainstem, which leads to symptoms such as uncontrollable tremor, stiffness, slowness of movements and gait problems among others. Dr. Schuele of the Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center discovers genetic causes for Parkinson's disease, and uses patient cell models to unlock new therapeutic interventions.

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