Gerstner Philanthropies focuses on biomedical research, educational opportunities, and assistance for people who have suffered a temporary setback and could use a “helping hand” to restore their equilibrium.

Our Biomedical Research funding falls into two categories:

  • Supporting important genomic research that could lead to breakthroughs in clinical practice
  • Enabling talented young scientists to pursue a career in research

Our Education work supports students who have talent and determination but whose opportunity to excel is limited because of their economic circumstances.

Our Helping Hands program provides assistance for people experiencing an unforeseen emergency through one-time cash grants.

In addition, we make a small number of grants related to or outside of these areas of focus.

News


  • Could regenerative medicine relieve neck, back pain?

    Mayo Clinic is looking to regenerative medicine as a potential long-term solution for degenerative disk disease that has for years eluded medical science. Millions of people in the U.S. are afflicted with chronic neck and back pain that often comes after years of wear and tear on the spine. Current treatments provide only temporary relief for this common disorder, and finding a cure has been a great challenge for researchers. Wenchun Qu, M.D., Ph.D., a physiatrist and pain specialist at Mayo Clinic in Florida, and director of Regenerative Pain Medicine at the Center for Regenerative Medicine, hypothesizes that therapeutic answers to degenerative disk disease are hidden in mesenchymal stem cells. Dr. Qu's hypothesis is that mesenchymal stem cells could provide a new option for reducing inflammation, relieving pain and restoring spinal disks. He is applying his research to a regenerative medicine service he began at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and has now introduced at Mayo Clinic in Florida. In addition to this work, Dr. Qu is leading other regenerative medicine research to investigate the safety, feasibility and effectiveness of using bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells to treat spine osteoarthritis with support from Gerstner Philanthropies.

    Read more at mayoclinic.org
  • Helping Hands Program Update: Q1 2021 Highlights
    June 17, 2021

    Our Helping Hands grantee social services organizations have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. We communicate with our Helping Hands grantee organizations informally throughout the year, and each quarter we ask them to report formally on program statistics, trends, and case studies. Based on the data and conversations with our grantee partners, though need remains high, the impact of the pandemic on our Helping Hands grantee organizations and the communities they serve is starting to lessen. Though the trends discussed are promising, recovery from the impact of COVID is in the early stages, especially for people served by our grantee organizations as compared with people in more comfortable economic circumstances. We have heard from all of our grantee organizations about the significant amount of unpaid rent so many of their clients have accrued.

    Read more about the impact of Helping Hands
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Reflections on Helping Hands


Lou Gerstner shares the origin of and his vision for the emergency grants program, lessons learned over the past decade, and his belief in the critical importance of the work.

Watch the video