Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies, with net sales in 2017 of more than $20 billion, has been operating for more than 125 years. It’s a privately held business that offers an array of philanthropic grants and services through its BI Cares Foundation and other programs.
The foundation focuses specifically on access to healthcare and STEM education, with an emphasis on underserved populations. The company directs its for-profit work toward the therapeutic areas of cardiovascular, respiratory, central nervous system, metabolic and virological diseases and oncology, and much of its giving outside of the foundation ties into these realms.
While BI is based in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and is one of the largest grantmakers in the state, this global company also funds scientific investigation and medical donation programs throughout the U.S. and worldwide. Between its foundation and other means of giving, we’ve identified four key ways BI works to support health and science in Connecticut and beyond. If you’re a Connecticut-based STEM or healthcare-access nonprofit, or a scientist or medical practitioner working in BI’s areas of specialization, you may be in luck.
Foundation Funding to Local Nonprofits
Through the BI Cares Foundation, BI funds local organizations with a preference for Connecticut nonprofit groups. It has “a mission to strengthen our communities by improving the health and well-being of people and animals.” The foundation's two areas of concentration—accessible care and STEM education—both clearly connect with BI's core industry of pharmaceuticals. Since it launched in 2001, it has supported 1,240 community programs with $30 million.
One grantee the BI Cares Foundation highlights is the Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach’s Connecticut Mission of Mercy clinic. In a recent year, it awarded this program $10,000 to support free dental care for the underserved and uninsured. It gave an annual total of more than $4.3 million recently, with the biggest grant of $220,000 going to AmeriCares Free Clinics.
Assistance for Patients Around the World
Along with grantmaking, the BI Cares Foundation carries out Patient Assistance and Product Donation programs. The Patient Assistance program helps people in need, including limited-income families and seniors, to get BI medicines for free. It has served more than 730,000 U.S. patients.
The Product Donation program serves patients in America and around the world, providing both medicine and services to those in need. The BI Cares Foundation partners with AmeriCares, Direct Relief International, and MAP International to carry out this work, and has now donated about $880 million worth of medicine.
Grants for Research and Education
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI) awards multiple grants to the medical and scientific community, wherein, not surprisingly, we see topic-area overlap with the priorities of its pharmaceutical business, including the treatment of respiratory and cardiovascular conditions and oncology. These grants include Independent Medical Education Grants, which support national, regional or local educational activities for health care providers “that may translate to better management of disease and improvement in patient safety and population health.” Immunology-dermatology, oncology, and respiratory therapeutic areas are common funding interest areas, and BIPI also gives some diabetes-related grants in alliance with Lilly USA, which focuses on care for this disease.
BIPI also runs an External Research Grants Program, funding research that might improve disease treatment, patient outcomes, or healthcare quality. It is available to both academic and community-based U.S. scientists. BIPI’s areas of interest for this program are cardiovascular, oncology, metabolic and respiratory.
BIPI also awards Scientific Advancement Grants and Quality Improvement Education Grants in the following areas: cardiovascular, oncology, diabetes, and respiratory.
Boehringer Ingelheim states its “success as an innovator is directly linked to the passion and commitment of its employees in bringing groundbreaking new medicines to patients.” It explains that the communities where its employees live and work “benefit from this same spirit of commitment and caring.” Through the BI Cares Foundation Skills-based Volunteer Program, employees provide services worth $1 million annually to patients and communities. Along with helping others, the foundation feels their team members also get to “gain development and fuel their inner purpose.”
For example, BI’s Global Head of Formulation Sciences and Pharma Discovery Research Leader Sammy Bell volunteers in the metro Atlanta community with local elementary, middle and high school students as a science coach with the American Chemical Society. He recently led a group of elementary schoolers in a diverting activity that involved exploding gummy bears with liquid nitrogen and a flamethrower.
“My greatest moment as a science coach is getting students to a point where they are learning chemistry at a complex level without even knowing that they are learning. To see that ‘a-ha’ moment in a student’s face and sparking that student’s interest in science makes volunteering worthwhile,” Bell said.
The BI Cares Foundation holds an annual review of contribution requests each spring—the next round of applications must be completed online by April 1, 2019. To find details and contact information for each of BI’s scientific grants, explore “funding opportunities” on its website.