Tuesday, August 18, 2009

PAS Offers Philanthropists Impartial Analysis of Select Medical Nonprofits

by Margaret Anderson, COO, FasterCures

The FasterCures Philanthropy Advisory Service (PAS) last week unveiled information on select Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis organizations, the first in a series of completed reports focused on efficacy and efficiency of research organizations. In its pilot phase, PAS features the latest medical research developments and objective analysis of key nonprofit disease research organizations in Alzheimer’s disease, malaria, multiple sclerosis, and tuberculosis.

PAS begins with the premise that when you invest your money, you look for the best return on investment. FasterCures created PAS to help philanthropists make informed investment decisions and have in place a mechanism to assess the return on their philanthropy.

Philanthropic investment in medical research, though small in size, plays a unique, critical role in finding medical solutions. I think of it as a small, but mighty piece of the pie. Philanthropic money fills funding gaps in research that is high-risk but also with potential of high-return. For some diseases, nonprofit funding models are virtually the only source of capital for innovative, risk-taking research. And yet, there is lack of independent, reliable data about disease research.

Launched as part of an effort to fill the information vacuum, PAS is a transparent and impartial resource for the medical research philanthropy community. PAS data and analysis are based on a focused set of criteria: how well – and how effectively – a nonprofit research organization is being run and how it is contributing to the advancement of research. Criteria include:

  • Milestones
  • Advisory boards
  • Knowledge production
  • Industry partnerships
  • Tools and resources

The PAS pilot phase is available to all registered Premier Users. Those directly involved in medical research philanthropy are invited to become Premier Users and have free access for a full year to PAS resources.

Now available: An archive of the 8/13 web briefing featuring the following speakers and a live PAS demo:

  • Lucy Bernholz, Founder & President, Blueprint Research and Design, Inc.; Member, PAS Organizational Review Board
    "Philanthropy Advisory Service is bringing about the careful, meticulous,
    well-informed research about diseases, disease research, disease research
    organizations, and bringing that to light in a way that can inform a wide
    variety and ultimately a large number of philanthropic assets so that the goal
    of advancing disease research can be achieved."
  • John Q. Trojanowski, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Co-Director, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research; Director, Institute on Aging; and Director, Alzheimer's Disease Core Center; Member, PAS Alzheimer’s Disease Scientific Advisory Board
    "I know of no other organization that brings this kind of expertise to bear on
    advising donors about how their investments in research are being used... The advisory service for Alzheimer’s, which is what I’ve specifically been involved with, has been detailed, accurate, substantive, clear, concise. I clearly see this as an important service that foundations can avail to determine whether they are hitting their target in their mission."
  • Rusty Bromley, COO, Myelin Repair Foundation
    "We saw PAS as an opportunity [for nonprofit research organizaitons] to provide more transparency and help differentiate organizations within the same space based on their mission. Having an outside organization applying uniform criteria to measure operational effectiveness has tremendous value and something we can look at to determine how we're performing against our own internal standards."
  • Tim Armour, President and CEO, Cure Alzheimer's Fund
    "PAS helps philanthropists and others to understand the niche that an
    organization serves, and then adds additional value of helping to evaluate how well the organization serves that niche... I think PAS does two things [for CAF]. One, we can learn about good practices from other organizations, in virtually real time - which is very valuable, particularly to a young organization like ours. Two, we can identify other organizations with whom we can partner with on specific issues. We can do that with a lot of other homework, person-to-person, but this gives us a very good first-cut."

Visit http://www.philanthropyadvisoryservice.org/ for more information.

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