Medtronic Foundation: Grants for Disease

OVERVIEW: The Medtronic Foundation is committed to improving the health of the communities where it operates and improving health access in several countries worldwide for underserved populations, and focuses its grantmaking on non-communicable diseases like heart disease and diabetes. 

IP TAKE: Medtronic is a medical device industry giant, and it spreads its money widely. If you're a small community health organization taking on a non-communicable disease, or encouraging good lifestyle habits aimed at preventing non-communicable diseases, you have a good shot at securing funding, especially if you're situated in a community where one of Medtronic's facilities operates.

PROFILE: Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Medtronic Foundation was founded in 1978 as an outgrowth of the medical device company Medtronic. As a company, it is extremely proud of the mission statement, penned in 1960, which reflects its commitment to corporate responsibility and giving. Chief among its goals: being a good citizen, which obviously extends into its foundation initiatives.

The foundation focuses its grantmaking on non-communicable diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Generally speaking, Medtronic doesn't fund research; they fund access to care, health education, and other projects with a public health focus. It's currently active in the U.S., India, South Africa, Brazil and Russia. 

Diabetes and cardiovascular disease are huge areas of focus for Medtronic, both domestically and abroad. Rather than emphasize and support research-based strategies, Medtronic is interesting in overcoming barriers to care and improving preventative medicine.

Unlike many other foundations, Medtronic doesn't zero in on the big universities and medical research centers— little projects have a shot, too, and Medtronic tends to spread its influence widely. However, the big awards do tend to go to the big players. Grants from the Medtronic Foundation range from about $1,000 to $500,000.

Medtronic is definitely worth pursuing if you have a non-communicable disease project with an international angle you want funded. As an organization, they seem to be in the process of making big improvements in their organizational transparency, and though they're currently invitation-only, keep an eye out for future changes. The grants administrator, Deb Anderson, can be reached by email here.

PEOPLE: 

  • Gary Ellis, Chair and Director
  • Tom Tefft, Vice-Chair and Director
  • Jacob Gayle, Vice President and Executive Director
  • Deb Anderson, Grants Administrator

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