Wall Street Donor’s Latest Cause is Fighting a Nasty Intestinal Microbe

A mutual fund billionaire whose philanthropy has notably supported two universities recently gave a $3 million grant to team those two schools up against a bacterial species responsible for a gut-wrenching disease. 

Michael F. Price’s Price Family Foundation this month made the grant to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University and the University of Oklahoma to form a research consortium that will take on clostridium difficile, a microbe that causes about 250,000 infections in the United States each year and leads to colitis. Complications from the bacteria kill 14,000 a year in the U.S., and are a growing problem in health care facilities. The infections can occur when antibiotic treatment leaves an overabundance of the bacteria in the colon. The grant from Price will back research on the structural biology of the microbe’s key proteins.  

While Price’s main causes are children’s welfare and hospitals, biomedical research has been a major beneficiary along the way. The New Jersey-based investor donated $25 million to the Einstein College of Medicine in 2001, the largest gift the Bronx school had received at the time. The gift went to establish the Michael F. Price Center for Genetic and Translational Medicine, with 40 laboratories designated primarily toward genetic research to develop medical therapies. The center opened in 2008. An earlier gift of $2.5 million to the medical school went toward a Center for Experimental Therapeutics. The Price Family Foundation has given ongoing support to the medical school for clinical services as well. 

The latest grant is not his first to the University of Oklahoma either. The donor gave $18 million to the school, his alma mater, to establish the Price College of Business. 

Aside from higher ed, hospitals and biomedical research, Price gives to some pretty standard philanthropic causes, including programs providing services and education to children, and New York City nonprofits like the Central Park Conservancy. 

Price's foundation, started in 1997, gave $7 million in the last year on record. It’s a pretty informal philanthropy, with mostly family on the board and just one employee. As such, there's very little structure for seeking funding, but they do accept letters of inquiry. See more about the foundation and contact info here