Considering Donating to LRI Frequently Asked Questions

By Sarah Constantin

Q: Do you have room for more funding?

A: Yes!  Your donations go primarily to funding experiments, and the more donations we receive, the more experiments we can do.  A mouse lifespan study costs about $200,000-500,000, and we're hoping to fund about twenty such studies over the next few years.

Q: Are you interested in small donations?

A: Absolutely. Small donations add up. 

In addition to lifespan studies (which are inherently fairly expensive), there are also cheaper projects we're hoping to take on in the near term, like breeding genetically diverse UM-HET3 mice, which costs about $20,000, or developing processes for laboratory-grade production of pineal gland extracts, which costs about $9000.  Secondary endpoints (besides lifespan) also cost money to add to experiments -- we need to fund animal behavior scientists to administer cognitive and motor tests, veterinary pathologists to perform autopsies, and research staff to measure biomarkers.

Q: Can I earmark my donation for a specific experiment?

A: Yes.

Q: What do you spend money on besides experiments?

Operational expenses: salary and benefits, legal fees, office rent, and small odds-and-ends like accounting software.

Q: Are you a registered nonprofit?

A: We have applied for 501(c)3 status, and are expecting to receive official confirmation in a few months.  Your donations in 2018 will be retrospectively tax-deductible after our application is accepted.

Q: Are you hiring?

A: Not right now. I'm currently focused on trying to launch experiments, and am more bottlenecked on funding than on bandwidth.  As LRI's activities expand, that'll change, and I'll revisit building a larger team.

Q: Are there ways I can help besides donating?

A: If you're a biogerontologist (or work in a related field), I'd love to hear from you about what avenues of research you think are valuable and underfunded.  

Q: Why is the LRI a nonprofit instead of a biotech company?

A: Mostly, it comes down to freedom of inquiry.  Being a nonprofit means that we have more opportunity to publish results publicly, and to research natural products or generic drugs or environmental interventions.  If there were a way to prevent age-related disease but it was hard to monetize, I think it would still be valuable to know about it.  Your donations fund science that, hopefully, will help billions of people -- whether or not it's financially profitable.