August 27, 2015 - 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 Meaning of Impact

By Christian Braemer
Cofounder & CEO, Benefunder

Recently I had a conversation with  a prominent community foundation representative about why most donors don't fund research. She explained to me that it was due to the time and expense involved. She said that people like to see that their money is having a tangible impact and that many don't understand the scientific process.

I couldn't disagree with her viewpoint, however, if you were to ask anyone whether they would have supported, say the advent of the Internet, MRI, lasers, gene sequencing, or the polio vaccine (or countless others), I don't think anyone would say no. Consider this: Today, about 3% of philanthropic dollars go to research, which seems completely out of balance given the returns -- nearly half of all U.S. wealth has been created by university research since WWII.

We have to realize what it took to arrive at these breakthroughs and understand the timelines, the numerous failed attempts, and in some cases, what came about by accident while looking for something entirely different.

Some problems, like cancer, have yet to be solved after nearly a century, and countless dollars having been thrown at it, but we continue to make breakthroughs every day. How do we align the kind of impact people want with a process that requires incalculable time and resources and limited guarantees of success? Do donors want to commit to this kind of philanthropy? Do they understand the enormous impact it could bring? This speaks to the core of Benefunder, which is to help donors find and fund research they are passionate about. We start by understanding donors' true intentions, help them set realistic expectations, and find the right matches.

At the end of the day, it's about engaging in the process and funding the things that matter to you. If you want to fund a clinical trial where your money is going directly to treating sick children, the next breakthrough in energy storage, or public policy on wildlife conservation, you should be able to do that in an efficient, transparent, and engaging way. After all, impact is a very personal thing and depends on our own individual values. We need a solution that can accommodate everyone. That's what Benefunder is about -- building a marketplace to help you give back in a way that makes a lasting impact. 



Leveraging Your Year-End Giving Strategy
As we head into the Fourth Quarter, now is a good time to start thinking about the most appropriate giving vehicle to accomplish your year-end tax planning and philanthropic goals.

By talking to your advisor about this now, you can ensure that your charitable gift takes effect in the current year in order to receive a tax break for 2015. This will also allow you to have more of an impact with your giving.
If you are looking for an immediate charitable income tax deduction but are uncertain about the specific causes you wish to contribute to, a donor advised fund (DAF) may be the best choice. About 90% of donors who contribute to charities through donor-advised funds each year do so for the immediate tax deduction, according to a recent survey by Fidelity. About three-quarters of the donors surveyed chose a DAF in order to lower capital gains taxes or to allow them to give more to charities.

The survey also found that 76% of the donors like the flexibility to fund DAFs with appreciated assets like publicly traded stock. Meanwhile, donors who have DAFs worth more than $250,000 noted that the funds can be built up to provide a large future gift, or to leave a charitable legacy through the family.
Through Benefunder's Charitable Innovation Fund, which is a DAF, donors get an immediate tax deduction at the time of the contribution, and can make recommendations for disbursements over time to one or several different research causes. Benefunder's DAF  gives donors the ability to create and name a fund, establish and implement a planned giving strategy, and gain immediate access to innovators working in all fields at top universities and institutions across the country.
We put donors in the driver's seat when it comes to giving, facilitating a significantly lower overhead structure, greater access, and transparency. When a donor makes a gift recommendation to a Benefunder researcher, 100% of that gift goes to the institution, which provides them the resources to meet their research goals without having to bother with the bureaucracy associated with many other funding channels.
For more information on how Benefunder's DAF can help you have more of an impact and a tax benefit, contact Tom Paparatto at
This tip is for information purposes only and should not be considered tax advice.
ThinkAdvisor: Funding A Cure for Childhood Diseases
ThinkAdvisor recently published a story about how Benefunder's partnership with Children's National Health System in Washington, D.C. will allow donors to put their dollars toward research for childhood diseases.
Read more here.

Benefunder Researchers Making Headlines

From hacking into a Corvette to educating the public on vaccines, creating a tree with 40 fruits, and revolutionary fuel cells, innovators on Benefunder's platform are making headlines across the nation.
Benefunder Platform Includes Top Ranked Universities

Many of the researchers on Benefunder's platform work at some of the globe's top institutions, which are included in the recent
Academic Ranking of World Universities 2015 , such as MIT, Harvard, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, UC San Diego, UCLA, Yale, and Columbia.

These innovators are making great strides in both basic and applied research in various fields, from life science to technology, environment and education, and the arts and humanities. Explore more here .


Closing the Achievement Gap

In celebration of back-to-school, we would like to introduce you to Amy Booth of the University of Texas at Austin, whose basic research aims to improve literacy for our nation's youth.

Donations will support her work in understanding the origins and outcomes of individual differences in skills for children's school readiness.
Explore more here.
To learn more about our Charitable Innovation Fund, please contact Tom Paparatto at