January 28, 2016 - In This Issue:
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.  
The Marketplace Effect for Philanthropy

By Christian Braemer
Cofounder & CEO, Benefunder  

We've seen several examples of how marketplaces can disrupt the status quo and provide new opportunities and benefits for stakeholders.

Companies like NASDAQ, eBay, Uber, AirBnB, and others have proven these benefits by driving traffic, confidence, efficiency, and access to capital that has inspired scores of new entrepreneurs. Benefunder's goal is to provide the same benefits through a marketplace for research and innovation.

Nonprofits today spend upwards of 30% of their overhead on grantmaking related expenses like preparing, implementing, and tracking RFP's (request for proposal), which often result in six-to-12-month funding cycles.

Meanwhile, researchers spend 60% of their time applying for those same grants with low success rates. Individual donors are often left on the sideline or faced with much higher expenses, depending on the giving vehicles they choose.

If you were to put a dollar amount to the waste in our current system, we'd be talking numbers in the billions annually.

We believe these inefficiencies can be solved through 'the marketplace effect.' In other words, a platform where parties can be matched with confidence, where resources can be efficiently matched with projects anywhere, while also providing a system for feedback and engagement.

Benefunder allows funders of all types to participate including individuals, as well as corporate, community, or private foundations.
We ensure that all researchers meet eligibility requirements, we prenegotiate funding terms, and make sure profiles are current and milestones are reported.

This could effectively reverse the traditional and antiquated RFP process, by simply matching donors with the causes that fit their passions. Funds can be allocated immediately, and impact is reported accordingly.

The net result is less time spent sourcing the right fit, more money in the hands of the intended recipient, and a better experience for both parties in pursuing the cause areas that are most important to them.

We realize that an often overlooked, yet important component in giving relates to sound financial planning and advice, not only in managing assets and aligning investments with individual value, but also when it comes to planned giving and other related issues.

That's why Benefunder is teaming up with private banking, family offices, CPA's, and estate planners to provide a valuable and trusted resource for philanthropists. Whether this means teaming up with existing relationships or connecting philanthropists with appropriate contacts within our network, we're flexible.

Our goal is to provide trusted advisors with a new value added resource to their practice that relate to areas their clients might be most passionate about.

In that spirit, this month's newsletter features a new section, an advisor spotlight. In this case, we are spotlighting Brannan Vaughan, a Silicon Valley advisor, who I've had the pleasure of interacting with and someone I think exemplifies the spirit of giving in his private and professional life, whose story is inspiring and worth sharing.    



Bringing Energy Storage Technology to Market
Harvard engineer   Michael Aziz has licensed his first-time energy storage technology to two different companies in an effort to revolutionize the way renewable energy is captured and stored. His battery storage technology using organic molecules, called quinones, allows energy to be stored inexpensively.

Italian-based Green Energy Storage, S.r.l. is one of the companies that has partnered with Aziz to develop its first battery prototype. Read more here .

Benefunder Researcher Develops Portable Brain Monitor Technology 
Gert Cauwenberghs , a UC San Diego bioengineer, is helping to lead an effort to develop the first ever portable electroencephalography monitor headset and analytical software system, which will be used to diagnose epilepsy, sleep disorders, coma, and other focal brain disorders or injuries. 
Read more


Helping Heroes

San Diego magazine recently spotlighted Benefunder's rock star scientists who are improving the lives of veterans. Read more  here.
Benefunder created a
Veterans Impact Fund for donors interested in funding breakthrough research for our nation's heroes. 

Harnessing the Incredible Learning Potential of the Adolescent Brain 

Benefunder researcher
Laurence Steinberg, one of the world's leading experts on adolescence, was featured in a recent National Public Radio article.

According to the article, "Understanding the neuroscience at work in the adolescents populating classrooms can help teachers develop lessons that challenge, engage and satisfy the search for novelty in teens. ...If educators and parents don't take note of this research, kids will continue to tune out, seek pleasure in risky places and continue on into college-level courses unprepared."
Read more

Donors who fund Steinberg's research will play a part in developing new insights into how best to protect the safety and well-being of youth.

Silicon Valley Advisor Creates Family Charity in Tanzania 
A core strength of Morgan Stanley is giving back to the community, and a California financial advisor and his family proved recently just how far-reaching the concept of "community" can be.

Brannan Vaughan took his family on a 10,000-mile journey to Moshi, Tanzania to experience a Swahili culture for six months, and they ended up creating their own nonprofit charitable fund to raise money for various projects, each selected to improve life in several poverty-stricken villages.

Service learning through volunteerism was key to the journey out into the poverty-stricken areas surrounding Moshi, and as far as Vaughan was concerned, the whole point was to involve the entire family in a service project so that they all could experience and learn from the local community.
Read the full story here.


In celebration of American Heart Month coming up in February, we'd like to showcase some of Benefunder's leading experts in this field.

The Stanford University engineer and her team have been developing computer simulation tools to test surgical methods for babies with congenital heart defects. Currently, the engineers are testing a novel method for performing the first stage surgery in patients with single ventricle hearts, a severe form of congenital heart disease.  

Marsden recently received grants from the National Science Foundation to determine if simulations are reliable, and from Google related to the use of non-invasive data for the prediction of heart failure.

The UC San Diego nanoengineer is using nanomaterials, bioprinting, and tissue engineering in pursuit of a future where materials printed in 3-D can heal wounds, repair damage caused by heart attacks, and make organs for organ replacement.

The University of California, Los Angeles doctor has developed a "mammogram" for the heart, a method to detect early atherosclerosis - the hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to plaque buildup. This method will enable doctors to detect signs of a problem and treat patients before their first heart attack.

The Vanderbilt University doctor is studying how lupus accelerates cardiovascular disease. Dr. Major's research has the possibility of changing the standard of care for lupus patients and will hopefully lead to new mechanisms and novel therapies.


To learn more about our Charitable Innovation Fund, please contact Tom Paparatto at tpaparatto@benefunder.org