NEW YORK, June 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mrs. Lily Safra has made a $1 million gift to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) to support this year's Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research. Named in honor of her late husband, a well-known international banker and philanthropist, The Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research were launched in 2008 to identify roadblocks along the therapeutic development pipeline, speeding novel treatments for the disease toward pharmacy shelves.
A member of the Foundation's Board of Directors since 2001, Mrs. Safra is MJFF's second-largest lifetime donor, through her personal giving and The Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation, of which she is chairwoman.
"The Michael J. Fox Foundation is truly grateful for the longstanding generosity and leadership of Mrs. Safra and The Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation," said Todd Sherer, CEO, MJFF. "This continued support has made a critical difference in our ability to advance the most promising — and patient-relevant — therapies through The Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research."
Mrs. Safra's gift was a result of the record-setting auction, 'Jewels For Hope: The Collection of Mrs. Lily Safra,' hosted by Christie's Geneva on May 14. The highly anticipated event realized a total of $32 million, the entirety of which is being donated to 32 charitable organizations around the world — including MJFF. At the auction, Mrs. Safra said, "I am overjoyed, knowing that so many people in need around the world will benefit. Like the jewels sold tonight, these extraordinary organizations make the world a more beautiful place, and it is a great privilege to be able to support them."
As part of the $50-million Brin Wojcicki Challenge, in effect throughout 2012, Mrs. Safra's gift will be doubled to $2 million toward the Foundation's efforts to speed a cure.
Today, the Foundation is also launching The Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research for 2013. This includes its newly created Therapeutic Pipeline Program, targeting industry and academic investigators to drive pre-clinical and clinical PD drug development; Rapid Response Innovation Awards, focused on breakthrough ideas; and Target Validation, which supports testing of biological targets with potential to become the new PD drugs of the future. Learn more about these funding opportunities and read the Foundation's announcement.
About Mrs. Lily Safra and The Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation
Edmond J. Safra was one of the 20th century's most accomplished bankers, as well as a devoted philanthropist. He created a major philanthropic foundation to ensure that needy individuals and organizations would continue to receive assistance and encouragement for many years to come. Now under the chairmanship of his beloved wife Lily, The Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation draws continuing inspiration from its founder's life and values. Through Mrs. Safra's leadership since 1999, the Foundation supports hundreds of projects related to education, science and medicine, religion, culture and humanitarian relief in over 40 countries. The Foundation has provided significant funding for Parkinson's disease research and patient care at dozens of hospitals and institutes in places as varied as Natal (Brazil), Toronto, New York, Grenoble, Paris, London and Jerusalem.
Mrs. Lily Safra joined the Board of Directors of The Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2001. She holds honorary doctorates from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, University of Haifa, Brandeis University and Imperial College London, and is an Honorary Fellow of King's College London and the Courtauld Institute of Art. She is a Commandeur of France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and an Officier de la Legion d'honneur.
For more information, visit www.edmondjsafra.org.
About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
As the world's largest private funder of Parkinson's research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson's disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson's patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $297 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson's research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson's disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson's awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world. Now through December 31, 2012, all new and increased giving to The Michael J. Fox Foundation, as well as gifts from donors who have not given since 2010 or earlier, will be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with the $50-million Brin Wojcicki Challenge, launched by Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki.
SOURCE The Michael J. Fox Foundation