Over the past year or two, the grassroots community of longevity science supporters and advocates have been getting a lot of practice in networking and persuasion. There is a growing trend amongst large organizations to crowdsource some of their charitable contributions: it's great publicity and seems to generate much more goodwill and awareness for the recipient causes than a straight donation. So everyone wins. In this, we can see the effects of competition at work; initiatives generally involve voting or some other form of popularity contest that can be won by through grassroots social networking and organization.
Longevity science supporters have won some and lost some over the past year, seeking to direct funds to the SENS Foundation or Methuselah Foundation. It's all good experience and exposure even when the prize goes to another charity - or as happened in the Amex contest, where the organizers themselves veto any support for longevity science, no matter how the vote goes. Social networking in a community is like a muscle: use it or lose it, and grow stronger with practice. But for an engineered longevity research community to grow in the long term, advocates must be able to convincingly explain why reversing the damage of aging is just as worthy a cause as homeless shelters, children's cancer research, environmentalism, and other, similarly broadly supported endeavors. Participating in these crowdsourced contests for charitable donations helps the community to figure out how to do this.
The latest event of interest is the Chase Community Giving initiative on Facebook. Over the next couple of weeks, votes will be accepted to establish a list of the top 100 charities. Each will receive $25,000, and then a second phase of voting and organizer selection will determine larger grants. I encourage you all to go and plug in your list of favored charities with the SENS Foundation and Methuselah Foundation at the top. But first, you might want to swing by the Immortality Institute forums to read the thread they have there, since the Institute volunteers have worked to save you time forming a list of charities. You'll find a good list in a post on the second page, with each item linked to the relevant place in the Chase Community Giving section of Facebook. That list is reproduced below:
Facebook members can vote for up to 20 charities. ... The stiffest competition will likely come from relatively smaller charities like the winners of America's Giving Challenge charity contest.
In order to avoid voting fatigue and make sure that voter at least vote for the most important charities, the charity list could be divided into the following sections:
These charities are the most important ones to vote for as they have a more direct impact on life extension research.
These charities fund mainstream research related to aging, Alzheimer's disease, stem cells, and Parkinson's disease.
- Alliance For Aging Research
- Genetics Policy Institute
- American Aging Association
- Campaign for Aging Research (might be shifting focus from aging research to the study of aging in society)
- Alzheimers And Aging Research Center
- Institute For Advanced Studies In Aging & Geriatric Medicine
- Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation
- Cure Alzheimer's Fund
- Sabrina Cohen Foundation for Stem Cell Research
- International Society For Stem Cell Research
- Michael Stern Parkinsons Research Foundation
- Parkinson's Action Network
- Paul Ruby Foundation for Parkinson's Research
- Parkinsons Disease Research Society
- Foundation For Parkinsons And Neurological Research
- Louies Run For The Mass General Hospital Parkinsons Research
These charities have political or educational goals related to stem cell research.
So go forth and vote for longevity science - and encourage your friends to do likewise. The more that the community strives to win this sort of contest, the better the results will be. We won the last one, after all.