WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 127 of 195

fitness & health "every dollar raised goes immediately into research" Bekenstein of Wayland, became co-founders of CAF. Phyllis Rappaport is director of New Boston Fund, a provider of real estate, development, and management services. McCance is a venture cap- italist. His wife, Allison, was diagnosed more than ten years ago with early-onset Alzheimer's. In their no-frills office suite in Wellesley, a short distance from Tanzi's lab at MGH, I met with Tim Armour, President and CEO, of Weston; and two Wellesley residents, Sally Rosenfield, Senior Vice President, and Laurel Lyle, Director of Fundraising Programs, from the six-person (plus intern) staff. They described CAF's approach, known as venture philanthropy. "We don't seek any financial return for ourselves or our investors," says Armour. "The return is in the cure of the disease. But we try to apply venture capital principles in terms of seeking the best people to do this research, running a very lean operation, and focusing on big changes, not incremental ones. None of the funding and no proceeds from any of the research go back into the organization because the founders pay for all expenses." There is no endowment. Every dol- lar raised goes immediately into research. The founders remain heavily involved in daily operations and provide about 40 percent of support. About 50 percent comes from their friends and family, and 10 percent from others. Lyle's husband is a cancer researcher, so she knows first-hand the frustrations of try- ing to get funding from regular institutions, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH). When she lost her mother to Alzheimer's, her work became her passion. "There's so lit- tle money out there," Lyle says. "Pursuing grants takes so much time away from their actual work that a lot of scientists in virtu- ally every field are leaving research because it is so frustrating. One of the ways CAF is making a difference is to make funding accessible for important projects quickly and without the nightmare of an 18-month grant application process." CAF's Research Consortium, drawn from scientists at Stanford, UPenn, California (UC) at Irvine, UC San Diego, University of Pittsburgh, Northwestern, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Chicago, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, worked with Tanzi to design a "roadmap for research" to stop Alzheimer's before it begins: n FIND ALL GENES that contribute to risk or protect against the disease, prioritizing those with the greatest impact. n LEARN EVERYTHING POSSIBLE about the role of those genes. n DETERMINE WHICH DRUGS or newly devel- oped chemical compounds can safely disrupt Alzheimer's pathology generated by the high- est priority genes. n FACILITATE CLINICAL TRIALS of the most effective drugs by partnering with biotech 126 WellesleyWeston Magazine | summer 2012

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