Thanks to longtime Foundation friends Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, and Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of personal genetics company 23andMe, MJFF has a matching gift in place through December 2012. The Brin Wojcicki Challenge will match all new and increased gifts to MJFF, as well as gifts from donors who have not given since 2009 or earlier. Read more about the Challenge in the below article from the fall 2011 issue of our newsletter, Accelerating the Cure. To read other stories from the fall issue, click here.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) has never shrunk from daunting challenges. Our stock in trade is developing creative strategies to solve tough problems — such as how to de-risk drug development, how to facilitate collaboration among researchers and how to increase enrollment in clinical trials — in our quest to speed treatment breakthroughs for Parkinson’s disease. This year, MJFF accepted a new challenge: Raising $50 million by December 31, 2012 in order to earn another $50 million.
The inspiration comes from longtime Foundation friends Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, and Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of personal genetics company 23andMe. Sergey carries LRRK2, the genetic mutation that has been linked to a significant increase in risk for Parkinson’s disease (PD). His mother, Eugenia, who has Parkinson’s and sits on the Foundation’s Patient Council, also is a carrier. Since 2004, Sergey and Anne have given generously to MJFF’s research programs, especially to those targeting LRKK2. Now, they have launched the Brin Wojcicki Challenge with a promise to match contributions from other MJFF friends, up to a total of $50 million, this year and next.
But MJFF must raise the $50 million to earn the match.
“This Challenge has the power to expand our capacity to speed transformative breakthroughs and a cure,” said Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. “But to reach this goal, we need your help.”
The Brin Wojcicki Challenge is designed to increase the Foundation’s capacity to do whatever it takes to speed a cure. The Challenge will match, dollar for dollar, all new and increased gifts to MJFF, as well as all gifts from donors who have not given since 2009 or earlier.
With results already in hand and more potentially within reach, the Challenge comes at an opportune time. Due in no small part to MJFF’s investments of over $250 million since 2000, there is measurable progress across the board in Parkinson’s drug development. More projects are advancing toward clinical trials, but they come at a steep price. At every stage of development, promising new treatments must continue to be identified, vetted and pushed closer to patients’ hands. All of this requires substantial capital.
“Anne and Sergey’s generosity already has resulted in the Foundation’s making seminal contributions to the LRRK2 field and fostering an unprecedented level of collaboration among all players,” concluded Todd Sherer. “We hope this Challenge will inspire others to give generously so we can deploy similar strategies to speed progress in other high-priority areas of PD research.”
For more information about the Challenge, and to make a gift, visit www.michaeljfox.org/challenge.