J.P. Morgan Contributes $1 Million to Bay Area Affiliate at Launch

What started in 2016 as a local nonprofit that empowers corporations within Boston’s life sciences industry to use their time, talent, and treasure to help end poverty in the city, Life Science Cares is now a nationally expanding organization with affiliate branches in Philadelphia, San Diego and the Bay Area/San Francisco.

As the affiliate in Philadelphia celebrates its inaugural year, we are proud to announce the launch of the affiliates in San Diego and the Bay Area at the J.P. Morgan 39th Annual Healthcare Conference. J.P. Morgan will make a $1 million philanthropic investment to the San Francisco affiliate to support relief efforts for education, homelessness and food and healthcare insecurity in the Bay Area. This investment in relief efforts is part of the firm’s global philanthropic commitment to address the immediate and long-term challenges resulting from the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“My colleagues and I are excited to support the launch of Life Science Cares Bay Area concurrent with the start of our Annual Healthcare Conference, which would have kicked off in person in San Francisco today,” said Mike Gaito, Global Head of Healthcare Investment Banking, J.P. Morgan. “We believe individual wellbeing and economic opportunity are deeply rooted in things like neighborhood conditions and undermined by challenges in healthcare, food and housing insecurity, so we are proud to support the efforts of Life Science Cares Bay Area in these critical endeavors.”

Life Science Cares is a turnkey CSR program for the life science industry and a model through which other professional industries can leverage employee expertise and corporate profits to tackle society’s greatest social issues including pervasive racial and socioeconomic inequalities. It was founded by Rob Perez, an Operating Partner at the global growth equity firm, General Atlantic. The organization’s goal is to harness human and financial resources from companies, industry leaders and employees and commit them to organizations that improve education, workforce development and sustainability for individuals and families living in poverty.

“Historically, the public’s perception of the life science industry has been focused on the healthcare advancements driven by some of the country’s brightest minds and most prosperous biotech and medical device companies,” says Perez. “But those minds and organizations are also leaders in solving social issues and using philanthropy and community investments to make change. Now more than ever, nonprofits and companies need to work together to help tackle racial and socioeconomic divides, all exacerbated by the pandemic. That’s where Life Science Cares steps in.”

Massachusetts leads the nation with one of the highest rates of unemployment and food insecurity. And, yet the Commonwealth also houses some of the country’s brightest minds and most prosperous biotech and medical device companies. This is why Perez created the platform for members of the life sciences industry to give back
while also giving nonprofits the funds and volunteer power necessary to grow and innovate.

In 2020, Life Science Cares Boston made more than $2 million in grants to Greater Boston nonprofits, including more than $1 million in direct response to COVID-19 and its economic impact. Despite the pandemic and the stay-at-home policies adopted, Life Science Cares volunteers provided 3,250 volunteer hours and $350,000 in in-kind contributions.

“Philadelphia, San Diego and San Francisco are among the poorest of the largest U.S. cities and have a large life sciences presence with the bandwidth and knowledge of community needs to build a network of mobilizers and changemakers from within the industry. We will continue to expand into cities where there is profound need and where there are resources and manpower in place to support nonprofits locally,” Perez says.

The beauty of the national expansion is that each affiliate will raise funds in its own community and decide how to best use the funds to curtail poverty. Each of the cities has a large life sciences industry, and at the same time, each faces great challenges due to poverty and racial and economic inequalities. “Poverty in one city doesn’t mirror poverty in another,” says Sarah MacDonald, Executive Director of Boston’s Life Science Cares. “Similarly, community leaders know the issues within their own cities and are best equipped to address and fund effective local solutions.”

The Life Science Cares affiliate in San Diego recently distributed its first round of grants to three area nonprofits. “What’s unique about our model is that we don’t go into nonprofits telling them how to do their jobs. Instead, we educate ourselves by asking them how we can help them do their critical work bigger and faster, which enables us to pivot what we do to best serve their needs,” says Leane Marchese, Life Science Cares San Diego Executive Director.

In addition to driving change in communities, Life Science Cares encourages access for people of different socio-economic backgrounds to employment within the life science industry. The organization has helped to place nearly 100 college students in internship positions at top life science companies.

In its first year, the Philadelphia affiliate granted $570,000 to 14 local nonprofits. To date, the Life Science Cares network has distributed more than $4.5 million in grants and performed 12,000 volunteer hours to support human service organizations in Greater Boston and Philadelphia. the organization is on track to grow exponentially with the addition of the San Diego & Bay Area affiliates.

“As we grow in San Francisco and expand into new cities nationwide, we will partner with companies and nonprofits working to serve diverse populations while working to create new opportunities for people of all backgrounds to enter our industry,” says Heidi Wagner, Interim Executive Director for Life Science Cares Bay Area.