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.


  • November 30, 2023

    Data released this fall from the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed food insecurity increased in 2022 for the first time in more than a decade. This November, Gerstner Philanthropies has committed over $1 million to combat food insecurity, including $52,380 to provide food for struggling households over Thanksgiving. Eight organizations received support to continue to implement critical programs in 2024, such as mobile pantries and meal delivery for clients in food deserts and food rescue programs. In addition, three community-focused organizations received support to provide Thanksgiving meals to families in need across Boston, Palm Beach County, and Greenwich, three areas in which members of the Gerstner family reside. Over 1,050 households were impacted, ensuring families could access food during the holiday season. This work aligns with Gerstner Philanthropies’ mission to help hard-working individuals who are trying to help themselves and their communities but temporarily lack the resources to accomplish their goals.

  • The Broad Institute Receives an Additional $20M to Support the Gerstner Center for Cancer Diagnostics
    November 13, 2023

    Gerstner Philanthropies has committed an additional $20 million to the Gerstner Center for Cancer Diagnostics at the Broad Institute. This commitment will support the development and optimization of liquid biopsy technology to enable more precise cancer care for millions worldwide. Directed by Dr. Viktor Adalsteinsson, this technology allows physicians to detect cancer cells and cancer recurrence, earlier than ever before. “We always knew that detecting cancer recurrence with a blood test would be an incredible feat, and the scientists in the Gerstner Center have risen to the challenge," said Todd Golub, director of the Broad Institute. This development for early detection is key to measuring patients’ response and assessing treatment options. “I first partnered with the Broad to launch the Gerstner Center in order to impact clinical care for cancer patients, and I’ve been pleased to see that Viktor and his team have created an engine of innovation that could transform not only cancer treatment but possibly other fields as well,” said Gerstner.

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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