Michael Milken introduced Sumner Redstone, the 84-year-old media mogul behind Viacom and CBS, as a younger man than the one he'd known 20 years ago. And at a conference where philanthropy clearly came to the fore, it was appropriate that Redstone used this 10th annaul Milken Global Conference to announce a major charitable commitment - and to urge the audience of 3,000 movers and shakers to exercise and consume anti-oxidants.
Redstone - not previously well-known for his philanthropy - announced his commitment of $105 million in charitable grants to fund research and
patient care advancements in cancer and burn recovery at three major
non-profit healthcare organizations. The cash contributions of $35
million each will be paid out over five years to Milken's own FasterCures/The Center
for Accelerating Medical Solutions; the
Cedars-Sinai Prostate Cancer Center in Los Angeles and
Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
In introducing Redstone, Milken noted that "70 percent of healthcare spending is related to lifestyle," and recalled how Redstone - a hard-charging CEO - adjusted his lifestyle in terms of diet and exercise more than a decade ago, and still remains fully in charge of his empire. Said Redstone:
"Advancements in research and medical science are creating a better
world and a higher quality of life for all of us. Like many, I have
personally benefited from these advancements and have been an active
contributor for many years to help speed their development. But I also
know that there is so much more to be done and with the right resources
in the right hands, we can make even more rapid progress and literally
change the world."
FasterCures/The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions is a
non-profit "action tank" formed under the auspices of the Milken
Institute with a mission to identify and implement global solutions to
accelerate the process of discovery and clinical development of new
therapies for the treatment of deadly and debilitating diseases.
According to the official announcement, funds provided by Redstone's foundaton will support and expand The Research
Acceleration and Innovation Network (TRAIN), a program
created by FasterCures in 2004. TRAIN coordinates the work of more than
two dozen non-profit, disease-research organizations and aims to
improve their effectiveness by sharing best practices, standardizing
data collection, and enhancing dialogue with philanthropic and
investment communities. FasterCures, which believes collaboration is
essential to successful innovation, convenes the TRAIN network to
accelerate medical solutions by uncovering the best approaches to get
patients connected to treatments. The TRAIN groups say they are making
significant strides in getting treatments to patients with diseases as
diverse as prostate cancer, breast cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, autism, brain cancer, HIV/AIDS, malaria, epilepsy, MS,
Parkinson's, heart disease, ALS, cystic fibrosis, and multiple myeloma.
The grants will be used to bring other disease groups into TRAIN and
take these non-profit disease research organizations into
new areas of collaboration, including accelerating clinical trial
enrollments, identifying and implementing best practices for research,
and increasing the use of information technology to study and treat
The TRAIN Program will be renamed The Redstone Acceleration
and Innovation Network.