At MS Research Australia, we rely on the generous support of our major funding partners to fund the best quality MS research in Australia.
One of our long-term partners is Perpetual, whose philanthropic clients have greatly contributed to Australian MS research. Long term support is absolutely essential to realise the full extent of benefits from funding medical research.
Perpetual connects their clients who want to donate to specific causes to highly reputable not-for-profits working in those areas. MS Research Australia, has had a long-term relationship with Perpetual dating back to 2005.
One way Perpetual distribute funds from the charitable trusts they manage on behalf of their clients is through their IMPACT Philanthropy Application Program where charities can apply for support for causes. In a highly competitive process, MS Research Australia has been awarded various grants to carry out our vital MS research through these funding rounds. ‘Importantly, our funding program allows NFPs to demonstrate how they improve outcomes for the communities and sectors in which they operate, which is vital. We encourage high quality outcomes by identifying organisations that can maximise their impact through strong strategy, solid leadership, good governance and with an outcomes focus. ‘It’s a rigorous application program, but ultimately it matches our clients’ wishes with suitable organisations, and that can only be a good thing’, said Jane Richmond, Perpetual’s Senior Philanthropy and Non Profit Services Manager.
Funding from Perpetual’s clients has been pivotal for a number of MS projects. Back in 2006, funding was provided for The Australian MS Longitudinal Study (AMSLS) which is an ongoing project, following over 3,000 people with MS, and has provided vital information on the challenges facing people with MS in Australia, including employment issues and economic burden.
Other projects funded include three studies that investigate the role of MS risk genes, genetics and vitamin D in the development of MS. With help from Perpetual’s clients, MS researchers have discovered a link between the genetics of a specific type of immune cell and vitamin D, and discovered how this might alter the function of immune cells in the central nervous system. They have also discovered rare genetic changes which can either enhance or lower a person’s risk of developing MS.
These projects are essential as understanding the mechanisms that underlie the genetic susceptibility of MS will improve understanding of disease progression, which in turn will allow development of better treatment approaches.
‘MS Research Australia has always been focussed on clear, measurable outcomes and strong governance principles as has Perpetual, I believe that this has been an integral part of the strong and long-term relationship, said Matthew Miles.