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February 17, 2012

Philanthropists: A Key “Public” in Life Sciences PR

by Cameron Bays

In mid-February, President Obama revealed a budget proposal that didn’t sit well with public health advocates. According to Kaiser Family Foundation’s Policy Tracker, the ultimate result will be an overall decrease in the Global Health Initiative’s budget.

No matter how you slice and dice the various increases and decreases announced by Obama, one thing is clear: As federal funding for life sciences research continues to decrease, the importance of donors becomes more and more critical to solving some of the world’s most pressing global health challenges. And, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual list of the 50 most charitable Americans, we’ve got the top guy right here in our backyard. Hint: It’s probably not who you’d think.

The Chronicle named Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen as the most charitable living person in the U.S. in 2011 (third overall). In 2011, Allen channeled $372.6 million into charitable ventures, including the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Brain Science. Although not included on the 2011 list, Seattle’s other global health funding powerhouse – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – recently pledged $750 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

From a public relations perspective, donors are a key audience for all communications efforts – it’s not just about media! From messaging and positioning to media placements and events, PR can help global health companies reach potential donors via any number of channels.

[Photo via Flickr user Elmira College]

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