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Healers. Pioneers.
Disruptive Philanthropists.

About Michelson Philanthropies

As a network of private operating foundations, Michelson Philanthropies creates transformative opportunities, makes positive impact investments, and fosters strategic partnerships supporting vulnerable or underserved communities. Reflecting the passions and interests of Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson, Michelson Philanthropies catalyzes sustainable, scalable, replicable solutions to a host of challenges facing society.

Our Board


Dr. Gary K. Michelson


Dr. Gary K. Michelson, M.D. is a board certified orthopedic spinal surgeon, an inventor who holds nearly 1,000 patents throughout the world, the founder and funder of three private foundations, recipient of numerous medical and humanitarian awards, and one of only a small group of individuals to ever be inducted into both the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Academy of Inventors.

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Alya Michelson


Alya Michelson is an artist, philanthropist, and journalist who is passionate about uplifting women’s and immigrant stories. An immigrant herself from Russia, Alya led an awarded career in journalism before moving to the United States and launching a career as an artist working in multiple genres. Today, she serves as co-chair of Michelson Philanthropies and is developing a new project that celebrates global citizenship by highlighting how the immigrant experience strengthens the American story.

“We try to be involved in areas where nobody else wants to go. Where it is hard. We try to be innovative in philanthropy and lead with the principles that Dr. Michelson applied to all his devices and discoveries: Be innovative. Don’t be afraid to disrupt things, and be creative.”

– Alya Michelson

Executive Leadership


Geoffrey L. Baum

Executive Director, Michelson Philanthropies and Michelson Center for Public Policy 

Geoffrey L. Baum is the executive director of Michelson Philanthropies and the Michelson Center for Public Policy. He coordinates the work of the Michelson 20MM Foundation, Michelson Found Animals Foundation, and Michelson Medical Research Foundation. Before joining Michelson, Geoffrey served in senior leadership roles at the University of Southern California, Claremont McKenna College, C-SPAN, and the Milken Institute. An energetic advocate for public higher education, Geoffrey is past president of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and served three terms on the Pasadena City College Board of Trustees.


Brett Yates

CEO, Michelson Found Animals Foundation
CFO & COO, Michelson Philanthropies

Brett Yates is chief executive officer of Michelson Found Animals Foundation and chief operations officer and chief financial officer of Michelson Philanthropies. With a rich background in finance, operations, and product development he oversees the planning and execution of various technology, community outreach, investment, and research programs that support underserved communities. Prior to joining Michelson Philanthropies, Brett held senior positions at companies ranging from startup to multinational conglomerates including J2Global and CoreLogic, a division of First American.


Phillip J. Kim

CEO, Michelson 20MM Foundation
Managing Director, Michelson Impact Ventures

Phillip Kim has led the education practice of Michelson Philanthropies since 2015. With a background in entrepreneurship and venture capital, he has overseen the development of the social impact investment platforms at Michelson 20MM and Michelson Found Animals, providing seed funding to more than 40 mission-aligned technology startups. Phillip is actively engaged in a number of entrepreneurship programs across the country, including those at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, MIT, and Stanford University.

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