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


  • Not All Gifted Children are from Affluent Families
    September 19, 2019

    A recent Wall Street Journal article explores the lack of diversity in advanced placement and honors programs in schools. Despite increases in school spending over the past half-century, the U.S. Department of Education reports that nearly two-thirds of students score below the proficient level on national reading tests, and large socioeconomic disparities persist. In spite of recent criticism, the Advanced Placement program has experienced rapid expansion since its inception. By last year, nearly 40 subjects were available to some 2.8 million students enrolled in more than 22,000 high schools. The downside of this expansion is that many low-income and minority students who complete the courses don’t score well enough on the exams to receive college credit. Chester Finn, former head of the Fordham Institute, a think tank that specializes in education policy, believes the proper response to underwhelming test scores is better preparation for disadvantaged students who enroll, and he commends the AP program for maintaining high standards. “If we care about upward mobility, these are the kids we should be trying to help,” said Mr. Finn. “Who’s going to be the scientists and inventors and entrepreneurs of tomorrow? Are they just going to come from the already privileged, or are they going to incorporate the equally smart kids who didn’t start off with so many advantages?” Mr. Finn considers much of the criticism leveled at gifted-and-talented programs misplaced; our education system should be able simultaneously to “raise the ceiling” for those who are exceptionally able and “lift the floor” for others who are struggling.

    Read more at wsj.com
  • Broad Institute Collaborative Study Reveals Genetic Alterations Linked to Cancer Drug Resistance
    September 10, 2019

    A new study from a group of researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), IBM Research, and other organizations compared the results of liquid and tissue biopsies from patients who were treated for gastrointestinal cancer but developed drug resistance. It revealed that liquid biopsies, a new method for sampling tumors, provide a more complete picture of the patient’s genetic diversity and how drug resistance in tumors evolves. "Remarkably, we found that nearly every patient we analyzed had developed not just one, but multiple drug resistance mechanisms simultaneously, and this may be more common than we previously thought," said Gad Getz, director of the Cancer Genome Computational Analysis Group at the Broad and the Paul C. Zamecnik Chair in Oncology at the MGH Cancer Center. " The study also suggests possible molecular mechanisms underlying drug resistance, which could point the way to new and more personalized therapeutics. The study is part of a five-year collaboration between the Broad Institute and IBM Research to analyze tumors before and after the onset of drug resistance, in order to discover underlying mechanisms driving resistance. The collaboration grew out of a cancer drug resistance and blood biopsy project supported by the Gerstner Family Foundation.

    Read more at broadinstitute.org
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