The New Philanthropists and the Future of Medical Research Funding
Monday, April 24, 2006 / 3:25 pm - 4:40 pm


Greg Simon, President, FasterCures / The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions

Lance Armstrong, Seven-time winner of the Tour de France; Founding Director, Lance Armstrong Foundation
Eli Broad, Founder, The Broad Foundation; Chairman, AIG Retirement Services Inc.; Founder-Chairman of KB Home and AIG Retirement Services Inc.
Michael Milken, Chairman, Milken Institute; Chairman, FasterCures / The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions
Carl Schramm, President and CEO, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Moderator Greg Simon of FasterCures began by introducing the impressive accomplishments of each of the panel members, all founders and managers of charitable foundations dedicated to medical improvement. In the end, all members agreed that philanthropy ought not to be akin to a "vow of poverty."

A key theme was the shared belief that nonprofit foundations needed a good business model in order to operate in a productive manner. Carl Schramm of The Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundation emphasized the need for entrepreneurship in philanthropy by proclaiming that his foundation recruits businessmen for management positions. Philanthropy is not contrary to capitalism, he said, noting that one of the greatest aspects of the United States is the fact that many of our wealthiest citizens do not horde their wealth but reinvest it and donate it into our economy.

Michael Milken emphasized the need for passion in philanthropy. Although there is little economic incentive driving charitable foundations, he said, a different and major incentive is the belief that one is making a difference and creating productivity in a powerful way. He noted that 50 percent of men will face cancer in their lifetimes, along with a third of all women. One path to reducing this number is philanthropy. Change can only occur through putting up your own money for a cause, he said, or mobilizing a large group of people behind that cause.

Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, who is also founding director of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, described his dream of spurring change in the battle against cancer by "creating an army." His "Livestrong" bracelets have raised millions and inspired many to contribute to the fight against cancer. He criticized the Bush administration′s cancer research funding decisions and said that the easiest way to make a difference is to increase preventive screenings in urban areas. The failure to provide screenings is "saving a dollar today in order to spend a dollar later," he stated.

Near the end of the panel, respondent Kathy Giusti of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and a cancer survivor, said that sharing information was important. The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation tells each donor precisely where his or her money has been invested. The foundation also provides information about all decisions, including less successful endeavors. This involves the donor and provides accountability for the foundation.