A Look at Merkin Family Foundation's L.A. Grantmaking

The Merkin Family Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of Richard N. Merkin, founder of Heritage Medical Systems and Heritage Provider Network (HPN), which currently serves over 700,000 individuals in California. Merkin also cofounded FasterCures, an “action think tank that seeks to speed up the time it takes to get important new medicines from discovery to patients."

If you've guessed that Merkin's philanthropy involves health causes you'd be right. But that's not all Merkin funds in Los Angeles and beyond. Before going any further we should note that Merkin's foundation doesn't have much of a web presence or a clear way to get in touch. But here are a few must knows about Merkin's Los Angeles grantmaking:

1. Large Sums Have Gone to Health and Medical and Science Research

Merkin has set up the Richard Merkin Foundation for Neural Regeneration at UCLA. Recent research bankrolled by this outfit involves a discovery that may improve recovery for people who've suffered from strokes. In the 2013 fiscal year, a $175,000 grant went to Prostate Cancer Foundation, with other support recently going to Cedars Sinai. Funds have also gone to the X Prize Foundation in Culver City, "an educational nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity." X-Prize Foundation received a $580,000 grant in 2013. Merkin also launched the Heritage Health Prize, a $3 million" global incentivized competition seeking to achieve a fundamental breakthrough in our ability to predict future hospitalization." Outside of Los Angeles it's worth noting that millions have streamed to the Broad Institute at Harvard and MIT, the site of the Richard Merkin Foundation for Stem Cell Research.

2. Merkin Has Also Strongly Supported Education and Youth in Los Angeles

Last decade, Merkin helped establish the Alliance Merkin Middle School, "a free public charter school developed and operated by the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools and authorized by the Los Angeles Unified School District."  The school opened in September 2005, primarily serves Latino students and shares a campus with Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School.We've written before about Antony Ressler and Jami Gertz's education philanthropy in Los Angeles before.

Related:This New Billionaire Is a Long-Time Giver: Antony Ressler's Philanthropy

Recent support has also gone to outfits such as Inner City Education Foundation Public Schools, United Friends of the Children which "empowers current and former foster youth on their journey to self-sufficiency through service-enriched education and housing programs, advocacy, and consistent relationships with a community of people who care," and Caltech, where Merkin sits on the board. Caltech has received millions from Merkin. It's also worth mentioning that Merkin also has a chartiable vehicle called Richard Merkin Childrens Charities, though the current status of that outfit is unclear.

3. Sums Have Also Gone to Arts and Culture in Los Angeles

Merkin has also been a steady supporter of arts and culture in Los Angeles. Sums have gone to Los Angeles Ballet, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. LACMA alone received a total $300,000 in the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years.

Support has also gone to Homeboy Industries, which "provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women," the Milken Institute, " an independent economic think tank whose mission is to improve the lives and economic conditions of people," and the Miguel Contreras Foundation, a "nonprofit organization founded out of the Los Angeles labor movement to

honor union leader Miguel Contreras."

Related: Merkin Family Foundation: Los Angeles Grants