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

Program Areas

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


  • Five Vagelos Physician-Scientists Receive Gerstner Awards

    Four physician-scientists at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons have been named 2023 Gerstner Scholars and will receive funding for up to three years to support their research. In addition, one 2020 Gerstner Scholar will receive the highly coveted Gerstner Merit Award. The Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholars Program was established 15 years ago to provide exceptionally talented physician-scientists at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) with critical funding. This generous support allows early-career scientists to conduct high-risk, high-reward research and gather the pilot data necessary to apply for grants from the National Institutes of Health and other sources. The Gerstner Scholars Program is a model faculty development program for researchers across the continuum at VP&S, providing the foundations to build biomedical research careers. The physician-scientists named as 2023 Gerstner Scholars: Shah Ali, MD Edmond Chan, MD Pamela Good, MD Juan-Manuel Schvartzman, MD, PhD Benjamin Izar, MD, PhD, a 2020 Gerstner Scholar, has been awarded the Gerstner Merit Award. In 2014, the Gerstner Family Foundation created the Gerstner Merit Award to provide an additional year of funding for a Gerstner Scholar in his or her third year who has made remarkable strides in research and demonstrated extraordinary growth as an academic biomedical investigator.

  • Gerstner Scholars Recognized With Competitive Awards
    May 8, 2023

    Gerstner Philanthropies is proud to announce that two Gerstner Scholars at Dartmouth earned distinction for their undergraduate work. Cady Rancourt, a Dartmouth ’24 Gerstner Scholar has won the “Made at Dartmouth” competition for her video sharing the results of her examination of college teaching practices. Her testimonial was chosen from hundreds across campus for its thoughtful articulation of her research to date. Rancourt was also recently awarded the James O. Freedman Presidential Scholarship this year, an additional honor which will provide financial and advising support for her work as a research assistant in preparation for undertaking a senior honors thesis. Gavin Fry, a Dartmouth ’25 Gerstner Scholar, has received a Goldwater Scholarship to support his pursuit of a research career in meteorology. As one of 413 students chosen nationally, he will receive up to $7,500 for the academic year. Fry, a sophomore at Dartmouth, will use this scholarship to continue his study of severe weather climatology in the Mid-South. As a first-gen and low income student, Gavin has said that “Coming here—having the resources to succeed, having the help, making the connections—has been instrumental in my ability to succeed, and beyond that, it gave me the confidence to say that I can actually apply to do these things.”

    View Cady Rancourt’s video here
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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