Iacocca Family Foundation: Grants for Disease

OVERVIEW: The Iacocca Family Foundation supports organizations that share its mission of finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

IP TAKE: This niche foundation is a great potential funder for researchers in this field. Iacocca tends to fund new research, stuff off the beaten path that shows promise. 

PROFILE: Lee Iacocca is best known for introducing the Ford Mustang and Pinto, and the minivan, to the world during his career as a storied U.S. auto company CEO, but in his later years, he’s devoted much of his attention to a cause that is very personal to him—the cure of type 1 diabetes. His late wife Mary K. Iacocca passed in 1983 after battling the chronic immune system disease since she was a young woman, and Iacocca made a promise to her that he’d do everything he could in his lifetime to find a cure. 

The Iacocca Family Foundation launched the next year, initially funded by royalties from Iacocca’s autobiography. It's laser-focused on diabetes, funding research toward cure discovery, biological mechanisms that might directly accelerate a cure, and toward alleviating the complications that eventually take the lives of those who suffer from the illness. 

Grants are awarded to nonprofit academic, medical or research institutions in amounts that tend to range from $5,000 to $50,000. Grants are usually for one year at a time, but funds are often renewed if the research is promising. Funding usually consists of a handful of larger research grants in the five- and six-figure range, plus several smaller donations to a variety of medical, educational or other institutions. Iacocca's Current Research page provides an overview of their grantmaking.

The foundation issues annual requests for proposals with deadlines generally toward the end of the calendar year.

PEOPLE:

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