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 Regenerative Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic Addresses Need For Rigorous Stem Cell Study and Regulation

    After publishing the results of the world’s first randomized, controlled trial studying the effects of bone marrow aspiration and concentration containing marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, the Mayo Clinic, with support from Gerstner Philanthropies, launched the Gerstner Regenerative Medicine Initiative. The goal is to advance research and develop evidence- based best practices for the delivery of regenerative therapies for arthritis by completing randomized and controlled stem cell trials to treat knee osteoarthritis, developing an outcome registry for these regenerative therapies to guide patients and physicians, and completing a prospective cohort study of regenerative therapies for hip, shoulder, and wrist/hand arthritis. Increased study and regulation of the use of stem cells in regenerative therapies is much needed; a judge recently ruled against a clinic offering unregulated stem-cell treatments, with more federal crackdowns on the horizon. As Dr. Shane Shapiro, principal investigator of the Regenerative Medicine Initiative, has stated, "Many clinics across the country have been offering stem cells, but no one had studied them. At Mayo Clinic, we feel stem cells require rigorous study before we offer them to patients.”

    Read more about the Gerstner Regenerative Medicine Initiative at
    Read more on the regulation of stem cell clinics at
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Commencement and Convocation Honors Scientists and Scholars from MSK and Beyond

    Memorial Sloan Kettering’s 2019 Convocation and the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Commencement ceremony honored the accomplishments of doctors, students, and scientists from both MSK and the broader research community. The ceremony recognized the 14 students from the Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSK) who received their PhD degrees in cancer science this year. It was the school’s largest class of graduates ever, bringing the total number of GSK alumni to 67. Awards were also given to notable scientists and doctors from both inside and outside MSK. In addition to the GSK graduates, MSK President and CEO, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, congratulated the 44 PhD recipients from the 2019 class of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences who conducted their research in MSK labs. Highlighted work at the ceremony included the discovery of a new organelle, called TIGER, which plays a role in protein translation; a collaborative study that identified the gene expression patterns of more than 45,000 individual immune cells in breast tumors; and the latest advances in chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy.

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