The Helmsley Charitable Trust is a foundation established in 1999 and administered by four Trustees selected by Leona Helmsley.
The Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional nonprofits and other mission-aligned organizations in the U.S. and around the world in health, selected place-based initiatives, and education and human services.
They strive to make a meaningful impact in their focus areas, employing not only their significant financial assets, but also a rigorous and results-oriented approach and a keen understanding of the relevant issues, needs and opportunities. They are committed to close and productive partnerships with the organizations that receive their grants, as well as with other funders and impact players in government, academia and the private sector who share their interests and goals.
Basic Medical Research
Their Basic Medical Research Program supports the fundamental laboratory and translational science that is essential to advancing society’s ability to understand and combat disease, treat traumatic injury and improve human health globally. Advances in areas such as genomics and stem cells have brought us to the precipice of major medical breakthroughs. Unfortunately, government and private funding that has traditionally financed such critical work is shrinking, making it even more challenging for innovative therapeutic discoveries to make the leap from the lab to the patients who need them most. Their program seeks to help fill that void by supporting scientists in their formative efforts to identify pathways and modes of disease and devise novel and effective approaches to the search for treatments and cures.
IBD and Crohn's Disease
The Helmsley Charitable Trust supports leading research institutions across the globe in an unprecedented effort to find a cure—and until then better treatments—for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Crohn’s disease. The Trust has allocated more than $160 million to institutions in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Israel. Many of these projects bring scientists together in new collaborations to study different facets of the disease and incorporate the latest technologies and most recent scientific insights into their explorations. Across the program, nearly 100 Helmsley-funded investigators are working to understand both how human genetics and the gut microbiome can cause and exacerbate IBD, and to bring those insights into the development of new treatments.
The Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use telemedicine and other information technologies to connect rural populations to specialty medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel, and foster incentives for healthcare personnel to train and serve in rural areas. The program awards grants in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana.
Type 1 Diabetes
The Helmsley Type 1 Diabetes Program was launched in 2008 with the goal of having a positive impact on people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D). They partner with key players across the T1D ecosystem – patients, physicians, researchers, caregivers, other funders, government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, device makers, insurers and grassroots and community organizations – in order to accelerate the development of devices, therapies and services that ease the burden of living with T1D. To date, the program, which has rapidly become the largest private foundation funder in T1D, has made in excess of 200 grants totaling more than $200 million in pursuit of this goal.
Biomedical Research Infrastructure
In 2014, the Trust launched a new grants program to strengthen the infrastructure for research and enhance the quality and reproducibility of biomedical research.
Their Conservation Program works to resolve environmental threats in ways that ensure the well-being of local communities while sustaining natural resources and protecting biodiversity. They do so by collaborating with outstanding global and local organizations that share our mission. The Trust’s place-based approach, which has focused on the Galapagos Archipelago in Ecuador, Baja California Sur in Mexico, Madagascar and Myanmar, aims to align biodiversity conservation and environmental protection goals with sustainable human development. This includes promoting development solutions that benefit communities, wildlife and the environment; establishing and supporting the management of protected areas; and working to save endangered species.
The Trust’s Israel Program is committed to contributing to the continued development and security of Israel, both for the country's benefit and for humanity in general. Since the program began in 2010, the Trust has committed over $115 million to leading Israeli institutions that seek to strengthen the nation’s leadership in scientific, technological and medical research, its healthcare preparedness, and its standing in the world.
New York City Regional Grants
Their New York City Regional Grants Program seeks to identify and solve specific problems to help the region’s residents meet basic needs for themselves and their families, maintain economic security, and utilize public goods and services that improve economic well-being, security, and quality of life.
Education and Human Services
The Trust's Education Program aspires to advance American economic competitiveness as well as individual social mobility. To that end, the Education Program supports K-12 and higher education initiatives to help ensure that all students, including those who are economically disadvantaged, have access to a quality education and the opportunity to attain a meaningful postsecondary credential.
Vulnerable Children in Sub-Saharan Africa
The Trust’s Vulnerable Children in Sub-Saharan Africa Program began in 2013. Through select nonprofit implementing partners, they invest in evidence-based interventions that provide at-risk children with greater access to education, improved food and nutrition, and clean water and sanitation. They seek to support sustainable solutions that will leave meaningful and lasting change within the communities touched. The program’s initial grantmaking efforts have been in Kenya, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Angola, Ethiopia and Zambia supporting a range of integrated development initiatives.
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