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.


  • Gerstner Philanthropies publishes its Year in Numbers 2021 Report
    January 20, 2022

    2021 was a landmark year for Gerstner Philanthropies. Grants totaled over $48 million, almost doubling the previous year and the most in its history. Gerstner Philanthropies launched two new program areas within Helping Hands and created a new grant program to support climate change mitigation. Grantees continue to respond to the impacts of COVID-19, and we are proud of the impacts they made. For more on our engagement and impact in 2021, please see the full Year in Numbers Report.

    Year in Numbers 2021
  • Gerstner Philanthropies Awards $4.9 Million For Helping Hands Emergency Grant Program
    January 12, 2022

    Gerstner Philanthropies ( announced today that it has awarded $4.9 million to 44 social services organizations to be used for grants to individuals facing a one-time, urgent need. Gerstner made the awards as part of its Helping Hands program, which continues to prove instrumental in helping families stabilize from the devastating impacts of COVID-19 and natural disasters. Emergency grants have been a core part of Gerstner’s work for over a decade, with this year’s grants bringing the total Helping Hands funding to nearly $25 million. Over 4,000 families are helped each year with eviction and other urgent needs, such as utilities, medical expenses, and food. A key to this program’s success is the comprehensive social support services provided to families in conjunction with the emergency grant. The organizations who received grants in this most recent round of funding are located in and/or serve New York City and Westchester County, NY; Palm Beach County, FL; and Boston, MA.

    Read more about our 2022 Grantees
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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