News from Michelson Philanthropies | April 2024 Newsletter


CAMP Staff - Better Neighbor Project Pet Wellness Day

CAMP staff conducting a pet wellness check at the East LA Civic Center


Dear friends and partners of Michelson Philanthropies,

As a philanthropist and advocate for animal welfare, the late Erika Brunson found a like-minded spirit in Dr. Gary Michelson. Through their organizations and support for life-saving efforts, the pair worked closely to expand spay and neuter services throughout Los Angeles. When Erika passed in 2022, the Michelson Found Animals Foundation (MFA) stewarded the Robert & Erika Brunson Fund to continue the legacy of Erika and her husband Bob.

This legacy was strengthened on World Spay Day when MFA announced a $1 million grant to Community Animal Medicine Project (CAMP) Clinics in South Los Angeles, Mission Hills, and San Pedro. In tribute to the Brunsons, the fund established in their name awarded the historic grant.

This grant will be used to widen access to spay and neuter services and veterinary care, enhance veterinary training, and improve the lives of countless animals and the communities who care for them. Read more about the grant and CAMP here.

On behalf of Alya and Gary Michelson, I extend our gratitude to the MFA team and encourage all of us to support CAMP as they continue to improve animal welfare in Los Angeles and beyond.


Geoffrey Baum, Executive Director

Latest News

Low cost spay and neuter op-ed

Photo credit: Ed Crisostomo, Los Angeles Daily News

Low-cost Solution to L.A.’s Animal Shelter Crisis

LA’s animal shelters have an overcrowding crisis on their hands. But it’s beyond unfair to blame City leadership. They did not cause this crisis — they inherited it, according to Dr. Gary K. Michelson. In a new op-ed he outlines how the Michelson Found Animals Foundation has a simple, low-cost solution: expand city and county vouchers for low- and no-cost spay and neuter service.

2023 Michelson Prizes Next Generation Grants Winners

Michelson Medical Research Foundation and Human Immunome Project Announce 2023 Michelson Prize Laureates

Dr. Siyuan Ding, Dr. Claire Otero, and Dr. Dennis Schaefer-Babajew are the latest recipients of the Michelson Prizes: Next Generation Grants. A partnership between the Human Immunome Project and Michelson Medical Research Foundation, the $150,000 grants are given annually to early-career scientists whose work has the potential to advance immunology and vaccine research. Applications for the 2024 Michelson Prizes are now being accepted.

Gary and Alya Michelson 2024 Humanitarian Award

Michelson Philanthropies Co-Chairs Receive Humanitarian Award from World BrainMapping Foundation

Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson were recently given the Humanitarian Award at the 21st Gathering for Cure Awards Gala at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. The honor, which is awarded by the World Brain Mapping Foundation, recognizes the Michelsons’ philanthropic work across medical research, education, and animal welfare.

Lessons Learned From Implementing AB 2881 webinar

The State of Pregnant and Parenting Students in California: Lessons Learned From Implementing AB 2881

The passage of AB 2881 gives pregnant and parenting students better access to the resources and services available to them during their studies. The Michelson 20MM Foundation hosted a webinar on the impact of the Bill and the overall state of a student demographic that is almost half a million strong.

Leap Venture Studio Cohort 8

Leap Venture Studio Announces Cohort 8

Leap Venture Studio recently named the six startups that will join their latest accelerator program. Cohort 8 includes companies changing the pet health industry through AI and other cutting-edge technology. The program will give them the tools they need to realize their vision.

Michelson Philanthropies Donates to Huru International

Michelson Philanthropies Supports Women and Girls in Kenya

Since 2023, Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson have proudly supported Huru International, a charity dedicated to fighting period poverty in Kenya. The organization teaches girls to safely manage their periods and tackle a stigma that often leads to lost education. Thanks to the Michelsons’ donation and the support of local organizations, Huru marked World Aids Day by providing Huru Kits—a bag containing reusable menstrual pads—to 400 girls.

The Better Neighbor Project Team with LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis

Better Neighbor Projects Partners With LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis to present Pet Wellness Day in East LA

A big thank you to Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis and the intrepid pets and their people who braved the downpour to attend Better Neighbor Projects’ first Pet Wellness Day of 2024. Even amid heavy showers, the Michelson Found Animals Foundation team, partners, and volunteers provided health checks, grooming, and a lot of treats to pets in the East LA community.

Internet Broadband, Public Utility

Over 100 Years After Electrification: Will California Lead the Way to Internet as a Public Utility?

Broadband is crucial for quality of life but is treated as a luxury in the marketplace. As the Affordable Connectivity Program ends, Cristal Mojica from the Michelson 20MM Foundation suggests making broadband a public utility, as we did with electricity, in order to close the digital divide.

Women's History Month Leaders Who Are Changing the Future of Intellectual Property

Pioneering Paths: How Women Leaders in Business Are Shaping the Future of IP

Leading women entrepreneurs have harnessed the power of IP to grow their businesses and create household brand names. In honor of Women’s History Month, the Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property looked at the careers of Spanx founder Sara Blakely, Slutty Vegan’s Pinky Cole, and investor and music industry exec Sherrese Clarke Soares to highlight the crucial role IP played in their success.

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