Conrad N. Hilton Foundation: Grants for Diseases

OVERVIEW: The Conrad Hilton Foundation’s U.S. disease related grants are awarded to organizations working with individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) as well as research facilities that focus on the disease. 

IP TAKE: Hilton is looking for researchers willing to think outside the box and bypass bureaucratic red tape. This is a great brain research funder for young scientists just starting their careers.

PROFILE: Today, Conrad N. Hilton is best known as the man who founded the global hotel chain that bears his family name. But in 1944, the hotel magnate also founded the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, with the mandate to “relieve the suffering, the distressed and the destitute.” A family foundation, this funder’s articles of incorporation require that “direct descendants of Conrad Hilton constitute a majority of the board.” Today, the foundation operates around the globe, with assets recently reported at around $2.5 billion, total grantmaking at more than $1 billion, and about $100 million in giving in a recent year, with focus areas in Global Catholicism, Foster Care, Homelessness, Safe Water, Substance Abuse, Youth AIDS, Avoidable Blindness, Disaster Relief, Hospitality, and Multiple Sclerosis.

Hilton’s Multiple Sclerosis focus area “believes that encouraging innovative research on MS is vital to understanding the causes of the disease, developing effective treatments, and eventually a cure.” Its research priorities are to fund “young promising scientists,” “research into biomarkers and infrastructure that benefit the field as a whole,” and “translational research aimed at finding treatments and a cure for Progressive MS.” Its patient services priorities are to fund “programming at the Marilyn Hilton MS Achievement Center,” “ways to bring wellness programming to more people with MS,” and “programs and fellowships to encourage doctors into the MS field.” Hilton also offers the Marilyn Hilton Award for Innovation in MS Research. This award provides $620,000 over five years to “physician scientists transitioning from late postdoctoral training to their first early faculty positions at academic health centers or equivalent institutions.”

Hilton’s Young Children Affected by HIV and AIDS focus area is aimed at “improving the growth and development outcomes for young children affected by HIV and AIDS in East and Southern Africa.” Its three-pronged approach consists in “advancing proven and promising approaches to improve caregiving and early learning,” “strengthening systems through integration and collaboration,” and “building and disseminating credible evidence to improve practice and policy.” The foundation’s efforts are directed primarily at Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique.

Grants typically range from $500,000 to $2 million. Grantseekers may review Hilton’s Grants Database for more information on its grantmaking habits.

The foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, except for its award competitions.

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