Why You Need To Keep An Eye On This Young Foundation's Health Grantmaking

Stewart Rahr is worth $2.1 billion as of this writing, a fortune he's amassed as founder of Kinray, a pharmaceutical wholesale distributor that was purchased by Cardinal Health in 2010 for $1.3 billion.
That same year, Rahr also established a charitable vehicle, the Stewart J. Rahr Foundation, which held some $114 million in assets in a recent year. Giving is also on the rise, from just over $250,000 in the foundation's first year, to some $14 million in the 2013 fiscal year. That number may well be higher now.

The foundation states its mission as follows: "Investing in our world's future... supporting our youth, education, and medical research." It isn't too much of a stretch to see why a guy who's worked in pharma would also be interested in supporting medical research. Part of the story, here, also involves financier and philanthropist Michael Milken, who's been funding prostate cancer research for years, following his own diagnosis with the disease. Rahr credits Milken for activating his interest in this area. Milken's own Prostate Cancer Foundation has received at least $20 million from Rahr, so far. A number of other cancer research outfits such as American Cancer Society, Children's Tumor Foundation, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Play for Pink, St. Baldrick's Foundation (which deals with pediatric cancer) have been bankrolled.

The Rahr Foundation also has an interest in autism. Recent grantees include AABR, which serves "people with developmental disabilities and children with autism in Metro NYC"; The Darryl Strawberry Foundation; Foundation for Autism Training and Education; and Generation Rescue, the "leading national organization that provides hope, information and immediate treatment assistance to families affected by autism spectrum disorders."

Rahr has also bankrolled hospitals such as Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, Beth Israel Medical Center, Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and St. Francis Hospital Corporation.

Rahr also funds outfits that deal with HIV/AIDS. It gave a $1 million grant to Keep a Child Alive in 2012, an Alicia Keys co-founded outfit that brings "dignified treatment, care and support to children and families affected by HIV." 

Rahr has also given to more fringe health causes. Groups include NephCure Kidney International, which supports "research to identify the cause, improve the treatment, and find the cure of the two potentially debilitating kidney diseases; and Nephrotic Syndrome and Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). The foundation has also given sums to the National Stuttering Association and the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America. The most common form of Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that is characterized by fluctuating weakness of the voluntary muscle groups.

A component of Rahr's health grantmaking involves mental health and well-being. Grantees include Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace. Rahr has also shown interest in health causes on an international front. Israel is one important site of this work: funded groups include Medical Development for Israel, which raises funds for and promotes the activities of Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel; and Israel Cancer Research Fund. Other support has gone to Project Medishare for Haiti, which is dedicated to "providing comprehensive health and development services and building capacity in Haiti." Money has also gone to FasterCures, a Center of the Milken Institute that works to accelerate medical research.

As is apparent from our rundown, billionaire Stewart Rahr has hit the ground running with his health philanthropy, funding a wide variety of causes. With the money on hand, expect much larger grantmaking down the line. Grantseekers interested in support from Rahr can be begin by filling out a grant appication form on the foundation's website.