The Methuselah Foundation is just one of a number of transhumanist non-profit advocacy groups formed over the past couple of years - it just happens to be the one I mention most often. These collaborative ventures can be viewed as the natural consequence of a narrowing between mainstream ideas and the concepts discussed in the earliest online transhumanist salons in the 90s. Prior to the internet, the cost of collaboration, distribution of information and acquisition of new members was high. With the advent of the internet, distributed transhumanist and futurist groups formed; ideas and positions were formulated and debated. Non-profit organizations require a certain level of public understanding and support for their cause, however. Lacking that easily available support, building these organizations is a tough job. Fortunately, the bootstrapping cycle of debate, propagation of ideas and raising support - so as to build organizations capable of propagating ideas and raising support - is moving into easier territory. The mainstream of ideas is finally catching up to the more moderate futurist concepts of the late 80s and early 90s. A number of small nonprofits - former labors of love - are expanding into larger, more professional, successful ventures, and new organizations are sprouting.
The Singularity Institute - an organization focused on advocacy relating to the development of general artificial intelligence, a very transhumanist goal - seems to be doing very well of late, for example. Hard work over the past year lies behind the headlines, of course, but I submit that the very same hard work ten years ago wouldn't have resulted in anywhere near the same level of success.
The Immortality Institute, like the Methuselah Foundation, is a volunteer organization that aims to advance healthy life extension - but there are few similarities beyond that. Diversity is a good thing! The Imminst volunteers have to be doing something right, as the Institute website now plays host to one of the largest online transhumanist communities. All-volunteer community initiatives include a book, film and, recently, the first Institute conference.
The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology looks, I imagine, much like the Foresight Nanotech Institute would look if it had been formed two years ago rather than two decades ago. Even the influential Foresight Institute has grown over the past couple of years as the mainstream discovered and discussed nanotechnology and nanomedicine. Much of the growth I'm pointing to in this post is a matter of riding the wave - even for those groups (such as Foresight) who were the ones out there working hard to make the wave in the first place.
The wave - the critical mass of discussion, understanding and resulting support for action - has not yet arrived for healthy life extension and directed research into ending age-related degeneration. But it's near, and coming closer because of the hard work of advocates and activists.