- WHAT IS BENEFUNDER?
- WHAT IS OUR MISSION?
- WHY RESEARCH?
- WHAT KINDS OF RESEARCH?
- HOW DOES BENEFUNDER ACCOMPLISH ITS MISSION?
- CAN PHILANTHROPY REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
- HOW DOES BENEFUNDER MATCH DONORS AND RESEARCHERS?
Benefunder is a unique marketplace for innovative donor-to-researcher funding that connects individuals, wealth management professionals, corporations, and foundations directly with the frontiers of science and the researchers that lead these programs at renowned universities and research institutes across the nation. Benefunder Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that hosts a series of pooled impact funds aimed at specific cause areas.
Our mission is to help philanthropists increase their impact through a direct giving channel to top vetted programs hosted at premiere institutions across the country. Research funding can be expensive and time consuming to do well, which is a major inhibitor to many philanthropists and foundations. We aim to close our nation's "innovation deficit," the existing gap in funding to maintain innovation excellence in the U.S. We believe our nation's prosperity and growth depend on supporting continued advancement in both basic, translational, and applied research at our universities and other research centers. We pursue our mission by providing top scholars and scientists with a new funding platform, and providing donors with a smarter way to give to research.
A strong foundation in research is a fundamental cornerstone of the "knowledge based society and economy" of the 21st century. This discovery is the basis of innovation. If one views research in a vacuum, it might appear disconnected from society and economic impact. The holistic sum of research -- organized, rigorous, yet at times serendipitous -- within and across fields of any particular discipline, however, is the fuel in the engines of understanding our world and life, development and commercalization, and ultimately human benefit. From nanotechnology to micromachines, art in the mind to artificial intelligence, linguistics to cybersecurity, black holes to solar energy, or music to personalized medicine, research has and will continue to stimulate imagination and lead the possible to the practical.
Benefunder focuses on all fields of study, from basic and fundamental to applied research, including healthcare and life sciences, the arts and humanities, engineering, social sciences, physical sciences, and education. Benefunder directs funding to individual researchers and their programs, as well as collaborating teams of researchers, and larger centers and educational programs with a specific research focus. We do not fund broad (less specific) campaigns such as institutes, facilities, buildings, etc.
Benefunder integrates with wealth management firms via donor advised funds to create a scalable channel to a large volume of high net worth donors. We are re-inventing for the 21st-century the patron-funding model that gave us Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo and Michelangelo, and in doing so we have created a scalable, efficient platform with national reach. And like patron funding, Benefunder seeks to create lasting relationships between donors and researchers, to support and engage with a long-term vision. To accomplish this, the Fund solicits donations from high net worth individuals, corporations and other sources of philanthropy. Research programs are all vetted and under agreement with Benefunder to maintain an active profile, only use funds for what is outlined in the profile, provide regular updates regarding progress, and remain in good standing with their host institution. This replaces the need for principle investigators to constantly fill out grant applications for funding while giving more control and flexibility to use the funds as needed. This dramatically reduces overhead and time requirements from funders and researchers alike.
Each year, individual philanthropy in the U.S. exceeds $240 billion yet less than 3% of this goes directly to research. This is an order of magnitude higher than the annual research budgets of well-known government funding agencies, e.g., The National Institute of Health (~$30B) and The National Science Foundation (~$8B). A small shift in philanthropic focus has the potential to make a significant impact on research funding -- e.g., an additional 3% of philanthropy going to research would create another National Science Foundation with an $8B budget!
Donor decisions are driven by cause and personal rapport. Benefunder matches researchers and donors in "eHarmony" style, based on its proprietary matching algorithms, which include a variety of criteria, including research interests, etc.