Lefkofsky Family Foundation: Grants for Disease

OVERVIEW: The Lefkofsky Family Foundation supports medical research toward prevention or cures for diseases. The outfit, created by Groupon founder Eric Lefkofsky and his wife Liz, doesn’t name specific diseases of interest, but cancer seems to be a frontrunner.

IP TAKE: The foundation won't overwhelm you with grant size, but this billionaire couple who established the outfit is well worth watching, since they're still quite young, recently signed the Giving Pledge, and take health philanthropy very seriously.

PROFILE: Described by some as a "serial entrepreneur," Eric Lefkofsky began his career by selling carpets as a freshman at the University of Michigan after being dumped by a girl. Lefkofsky went on to create, buy, and sell several companies, which eventually led to his creation of Groupon.

In 2006, Eric and Liz formed the Lefkofsky Family Foundation, with a mission of "supporting charitable, scientific, and educational organizations and causes around the world." The foundation makes grants in several key areas, including education, human rights, health, and arts and culture. 

In health, much of the couple's recent philanthropy has involved cancer research. Growing up, Liz lost her sister to cancer and as the couple's Giving Pledge letter states, "[Liz] and her family know firsthand what it’s like to pray for a cure to a terrible illness." Liz's mother Susan Kramer started the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) in the wake of her daughter's death. Liz used to stuff envelopes at ABTA as a youth.

Outside of cancer research, the foundation seems to fund a wide range of medical research including work related to Crohn’s, Alzheimer’s, immunotherapy and food allergies, to name a few.

The Lefkofsky Foundation tends to support large medical institutions and medical schools at major universities. Those organizations typically garner the foundation's higher-dollar grants of around $100,000 to $1 million. Generally, though, grants are between $5,000 to $100,000. To get a rundown of the foundation’s most recent awards, take a look at its grants list

The foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals.

PEOPLE: 

  • Jill McClain, Director
  • Rachel Graham, Assistant Director 

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