May 2017 - In This Issue:
Syndicating Philanthropy
by Christian Braemer, Benefunder CEO

1.  a group of individuals or organizations combined to promote some common interest.

1. the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.

These two commonly used words are generally not used together and that's an idea worth exploring. Syndication is generally a term we hear used in banking where large firms raise large swaths of capital for a company going public, but what if we applied the same structure and principles to funding big ideas?  These principles were implemented long ago to create efficiencies through exchanges to match supply with demand through a trusted intermediary in the financial industry, which have also more recently taken off in travel, transportation, retail, and this list goes on.

As humans, we all have things we care deeply about. It doesn't really matter if you're rich or poor, if your life has been affected by something, say experiencing the suffering of others, or learning about an injustice, we naturally want to do something about it. Fortunately, our tax system gives us freedom of choice and allows for the use of vehicles to act on our instincts to support the greater good. However, sometimes the greater good can mean major financial windfalls, too (for more on this see my oped in SSIR ).

Unfortunately, we don't currently have the infrastructure in place to implement this at scale. In fact, when you look at traditional philanthropy, you quickly realize that it's stuck in the 20th century. To think that, in today's day and age, we still rely largely on telethons, walkathons, and traditional raise your paddle fundraisers - don't get me wrong, they're all well intentioned - to raise money for things like diseases, is crazy! Or that we have 40k+ foundations (in the U.S. alone) working in silos to solve a relatively limited set of problems without an exchange doesn't seem like a good idea either. Where would we be if our capital markets were structured this way? Why should philanthropy be any different?

The power of like-minded, motivated individuals coming together to tackle major problems related to common interests is exactly the kind of marketplace we envision at Benefunder. Somewhere families, foundations, and institutions with a passion and expertise can share ideas and collaborate in a way that's efficient, engaging, and impactful, while actually incentivising stakeholder channels i.e. major wealth management firms, to participate. Whether we're talking disease, famine, environmental, or educational challenges, we need solutions that are structured and deployed according to the unique demands in a given problem area and that rely on a diverse range of 'best of breed' solutions, regardless of where they come from.  Most importantly though, we need somewhere where trust among parties isn't a factor and large amounts of capital can come together quickly for the right opportunities.
University of Wisconsin - Madison researcher receives NASA funding to study origins of life

The origin of life is a scientific mystery with profound philosophical implications. But unraveling the environment that first allowed life to form could also teach us about the fundamentals of biochemistry.

David Baum, chair and professor of botany at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, is trying to identify the conditions that led to the formation of the earliest life forms. 

Baum recently received a $2.5 million grant from NASA to investigate the fundamental form of life. 

Welcome to Benefunder! 
We are excited to welcome the following researchers to the Benefunder platform.


Welcome to the Benefunder Impact Report,
a monthly newsletter created to inform and inspire. Our mission is to help create a new marketplace for planned giving, while fueling innovation.  
Benefunder participates in AiP and Social Impact Exchange conferences

Benefunder participated in the annual conference of the International Association  of Advisors in Philanthropy (AiP), held  April 19-21 in Costa Mesa, CA. The Conference on
Philanthropy featured speakers from across the world of charitable giving, including Benefunder chairman Chris Blunt. In his interview with Phil Cubeta of the American College, Chris shared his views on the value of the philanthropic conversation for wealth advisors. 

In the coming month, Benefunder will participate in the  Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling Impact on June 14 & 15 in New York City. 
'Philanthropy on Steroids' by Peter Klein of HighTower Advisors

In a recent whitepaper on the role of philanthropy in wealth management, Peter Klein, Managing Director of Klein Wealth Management of HighTower Advisors outlined the importance of developing a robust philanthropic strategy for wealth management clients. Klein proposes that implementing a plan for impact-driven philanthropy leads to greater donor satisfaction with giving. 
Rutgers researcher studies drug with potential to prevent cell death in traumatic brain injuries 
When administered together, a standard treatment for bipolar disorder and a drug used to treat certain forms of cancer may be able to prevent nerve cell death in traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Dr. Bonnie Firestein, professor of
cell biology and neuroscience at Rutgers University, found that a combination of lithium and rapamycin was able to prevent the death of damaged neuronal nerve cells in the laboratory. 

If found to be effective in humans, this treatment could prevent some of the devastating effects of TBI. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.7 million people in the United States sustain a TBI annually. 
Benefunder partners with IMPACT, launching at BIO 2017

IMPACT will showcase exceptional and compelling San Diego researchers, entrepreneurs, and innovation partners to an audience of investors, foundations, family offices, and corporations. The format will rotate between impact talks by scientists making life changing discoveries; panel discussions on trends in commercialization; and crossfire conversations with research and industry collaborators. 
Views from the San Diego March for Science  

The San Diego March for Science, held on April 22 was an exciting day of support for science. Among the lineup of presenters was Benefunder researcher Stephen Mayfield, who spoke about his research at UC, San Diego exploring 
the uses of algae as biofuel. As an advocate for academic research, we felt that it was vital to participate in this nonpartisan celebration of the importance of science in our society. In addition to presenters from academia, the rally included inspirational testimonials from students about their passion and future career aspirations in science. 

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