The founders of Edelman Financial Services have donated $25 million to a group called the Alzheimer’s Disease Team to help it compete for a global XPRIZE.
Jean and Ric Edelman announced the donation at the 2017 XPRIZE Visioneers Summit in Los Angeles on Oct. 19. The Alzheimer’s team, which received the highest score at the summit, advances to the global XPRIZE 2018 competition.
XPRIZE is a non-profit organization founded in 1995 whose goal is to marshal crowdsourcing, philanthropic donations and other funding sources to tackle the world’s greatest challenges. Its fund-raising format is designed to greatly increase the amount that would normally be available for a project.
Two hundred fifty prominent people rated the proposals of the Alzheimer’s Disease Team and four other teams seeking an XPRIZE. The other proposals dealt with clean air, cybersecurity, democracy, and industrial waste. The Alzheimer’s team received the highest score.
The raters included prominent corporate and political leaders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, artists, technologists, and scientists.
Dr. Ken Dychtwald, founder and CEO of Age Wave, and XPRIZE’s founder, Dr. Peter Diamandis, came up with the idea of an XPRIZE competition for Alzheimer’s in November 2012. The Edelmans joined the effort shortly thereafter.
Dychtwald created an Alzheimer’s team composed of more than 100 leading neuroscientists, advocates and technology experts to develop a proposal for the competition.
The hope is that an XPRIZE will lead to ways to detect and diagnose Alzheimer’s early, and eventually a cure. The Alzheimer’s Disease Team plans to use cutting-edge technologies, including big data and artificial intelligence, to help it reach its goals.
Philip Edgcumbe, an innovator, entrepreneur, bio-medical engineer, scientist and doctor-in-training, is leading the team, along with Dychtwald, an internationally recognized expert on aging. The Alzheimer’s Brain Trust is the team’s sponsor.
“Jean and I are honored to offer this vital funding to encourage innovative approaches to defeat Alzheimer’s,” Ric Edelman said in a press release. “We have seen firsthand the devastating impact of this dreadful disease on so many of our firm’s clients, and we are thrilled at the opportunity to support the XPRIZE Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Disease Team so we can start working on new ways to detect, diagnose and ultimately eradicate Alzheimer’s disease.”
“With steadily increasing longevity, it’s hard to look at the future without realizing that Alzheimer’s disease may very well be the biggest challenge we’re going to face this century,” Dychtwald said. “With one in three people over the age of 85 stricken with this horrific disease, this coming pandemic doesn’t only affect the elderly — it impacts all of us: our moms, dads, wives, husbands, kids and friends.”
“We have seen so many of our clients’ lives devastated by the physical, emotional and financial impact of Alzheimer’s,” Jean Edelman said. “Now it’s time for all of us to work together and crack the code on Alzheimer’s, so every retiree — today and in the future — can enjoy true health and happiness, free of this terrible disease.”