Michelson Philanthropies February Newsletter

Dear friends and partners of Michelson Philanthropies,

We are pleased to share news about the California Institute for Immunology & Immunotherapy (CIII). Its future home in the UCLA Research Park was announced by California Governor Gavin Newsom, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, and University of California President Michael Drake in a ceremony attended by Nobel Laureates, academic, and community leaders.

Senator Ben Allen, Alya Michelson, Dr. Gary K. Michelson, and Governor Gary Newsom

From left: Senator Ben Allen, Alya Michelson, Dr. Gary K. Michelson, Governor Gavin Newsom

The historic acquisition of the former Westside Pavilion shopping mall and its transformation into a massive research center was made possible through a $200 million public investment, approved in the 2022 and 2023 state budgets proposed by Governor Newsom and passed by the California State Legislature, with support from the Michelson Center for Public Policy and other partners. Michelson and the founding directors, including Dr. Arie Belldegrun, Dr. Eric Esrailian, Meyer Luskin, Michael Milken, and Sean Parker, are making a significant philanthropic commitment to the institute, which will be announced in soon.

According to Dr. Michelson, who chairs the board of founding directors, CIII will be a “Field of Dreams” for biomedical research that will revolutionize human health, prevent and cure disease, and be a catalyst for economic growth and innovation akin to how Silicon Valley spurred breakthroughs that launched several of the biggest companies in the world today. Read more here. You may also find coverage of the announcement in the LA Times, Associated Press, and EdSource.

Geoffrey Baum
Executive Director


Dr. Aleksandar Obradovic, Columbia University

New Michelson Laureates to Be Announced

The Michelson Philanthropies & Science Prize for Immunology will be announced on February 15, and the Michelson Prizes: Next Generation Grants will be announced on March 5. Each award is a recognition of past achievements and a catalyst for future endeavors, encouraging these promising young scientists to reach new heights in their pursuit of scientific excellence.

Maryn McKenna 2023 Victor Cohn Prize Winner
Nominations Open for the 2024 Victor Cohn Prize in Medical Science Reporting

The 2024 Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting, supported by Michelson Philanthropies, is open for nominations. The $5,000 prize recognizes a writer whose work significantly enhances public comprehension of pivotal medical science breakthroughs and their implications for human health. Pictured is last year’s recipient, Maryn McKenna.

Textbook Costs

Photo credit: Getty Images

President Biden Can Limit Colleges’ Scheme to Tack Textbook Costs Onto Tuition

In an op-ed published in The Hill, Michelson 20MM Foundation Fellow Katie Wagman discusses why the rise of automatic textbook billing programs have been robbing students of their freedom to shop around and find free or lower-cost course materials. Wagman highlights the financial burden these programs impose on students, particularly those relying on federal student aid.

Michelson 20MM Student Fellowship Program

Michelson 20MM Foundation Student Fellowship Program

Applications are now open for the Michelson 20MM Foundation Student Fellowship Program. Candidates will be tasked with leading a project on a campus, systemwide, or statewide level related to a Michelson 20MM program: Student Basic Needs, Smart Justice, Digital Equity, and Open Educational Resources.

OER Spark Grants

Grant Opportunity: Open Educational Resources

The Michelson 20MM Foundation will award grants of up to $25,000 to nonprofits and educational institutions advancing the proliferation and adoption of open educational resources. Proposals will be accepted from February 26 to March 11. Join members of the grant committee on February 14 to learn more.

Pet Telehealth

Pets in California Now Have Wider Access to Telehealth Options

Michelson Found Animals Foundation CEO Brett Yates was quoted in Axios about a new California law that increases access to telehealth options for pets. The bill should ease the burden of a national vet shortage, which has resulted in “long wait times at clinics, lagging surgeries at shelters, slowing adoption rates, and pet owners being more inclined to put their next visit off.”

Open Arms Challenge 2024 Save the Date
Open Arms Challenge 2024

If you’re part of a shelter, foster program, or any organization dedicated to supporting pets, then mark your calendars for the 2024 Open Arms Challenge. In April, organizations will be given the opportunity to pilot a new program or expand an existing one focused on keeping pets and people together. The challenge aims to drive adoption and offer prizes and grants.

Pet-Inclusive Housing Scorecard
Introducing the Pet-Inclusive Scorecard: Assessing True Pet-Friendliness in Rental Housing

Is your rental housing property truly pet-inclusive, or is it just pet-friendly? The Michelson Found Animals Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative team developed an easy-to-use scorecard to help you answer that question.

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Feb 14, 2024 | Michelson Philanthropies, News