William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation: Grants for Diseases

OVERVIEW: William K. Bowes, Jr. is a San Francisco-based venture capitalist. His foundation prioritizes medical research, and organizations based in California.

IP TAKE:  The Bowes Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals and letters of inquiry. Bowes himself oversees grantmaking with a small staff.

PROFILE: William “Bill” Bowes, Jr., is one of the United States’ richest men. William K. Bowes Foundation recently declaring almost more $350 million in assets and giving nearly $40 million in grants a recent year. Unfortunately, the foundation lacks transparency restricting public information about its grantmaking guidelines and strategies. Its one-page website offers little information, stating only that it "supports nonprofit organizations in several areas including (but not exclusively) medical research, access to college, the arts, and higher education."

Bowes has supported work in a few different specific types of cancer including ovarian and myeloma. However, the majority of its related grants have gone toward cancer research at large medical institutions such as Damon Runyon and cancer focused nonprofits such as the Clearity and Canary foundations. Apart from cancer research Bowes’ disease funding tends to go toward the support of research and drug discovery for neurodegenerative disorders, mainly Alzheimer’s. Two key areas of interest include stem cell research for the cure and treatment of deadly diseases—especially cancer. This work has prioritized California research universities. Past grantees include Stanford University's Bio-X fellowship, which received about $1.5 million on a regular basis. Grantees also include the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, UC Berkeley (site of the Bowes Research Fellows Program), UC Santa Barbara, and the California Institute of Technology.

Unfortunately, the Bowes foundation does not accept any unsolicited proposals, however contact information for all of its staff is readily available on the web page. In terms of decision making, the board does all its own selection and research on the organizations that it funds.


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