Drilling Into Behavioral Health Problems: A Look at the Klarman Family's Philanthropy

We've written about the Boston-based Klarman Family Foundation before. Helmed by Baupost Group founder and president Seth Klarman and his wife Beth, the foundation gave a huge $32.5 million grant to the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT a few years ago to establish the Klarman Cell Observatory. Some of the early research at the observatory focused on the possible link between salt consumption and autoimmune disease.

The Klarman Family Foundation lists three focus areas on its website and one of those areas is "advancing understanding of the biological basis of health and illness." While the Klarman Cell Observatory is clearly an important part of this, it's not the only site receiving attention from the Klarmans. The couple has also funded the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI) at UNC School of Medicine. According to its website, the initiative is the "largest genetic investigation of eating disorders ever conducted" and involves an international resume of researchers. 

Did you know that eating disorders might have a genetic basis? No, me neither. 

The couple also hosts an Eating Disorders Research Grants Program through their foundation and it's worth noting that this is the only area for which the foundation accepts unsolicited proposals.

The common thread with all of these different programs appears to be getting to the root of behavioral health problems and solving them. Last decade, the couple gave $2.5 million to the McLean Hospital in suburban Boston for the Klarman Eating Disorders Center. 

Apart from behavioral health research, the couple has also funded many hospitals and medical centers, mainly in the Boston area. Klarman sits on the board of directors of the Broad Institute and is also vice chair of Beth Israel Hospital’s Board of Managers. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has been supported by the Klarmans since at least 1996. In recent years, grants have tended to average around $25,000 annually. Other outits receiving funds include Boston Medical Center Corporation, Brookline Community Mental Health, Dana-Farber Institute and Partners Healthcare System.

Several child health outfits have also seen funds such as Children's Hospital Corporation, Adolescent Consulting Services and Family Nurturing Center of Boston. The Klarmans have also contributed more than $600,000 to the Autism Consortium and recently gave to Alzheimers Disease And Related Disorders Association.