From the desk of Methuselah Foundation chairman Aubrey de Grey:
I am writing to you to relate some momentous developments at the Methuselah Foundation. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has generously pledged $3.5 million to our research effort over the next three years. $500,000 of this sum will be immediately put to use with a view to securing near-term validation of the SENS strategy. The remaining $3,000,000 is offered in the form of a matching grant – Mr. Thiel will contribute 50 cents for every $1 that we raise for SENS-related research. (Note that donations to the Mprize do not attract this matching money.)
The Methuselah Foundation is now transitioning from its start-up phase to becoming a fully operational scientific research organization. Researcher John Schloendorn at Arizona State University has just been awarded a scholarship in recognition of his original work under our LysoSENS initiative in identifying bacterial enzymes that are particularly effective in breaking down intracellular debris. At Cambridge University, doctoral student Mark Hamalainen has begun Methuselah Foundation-supported work on mitochondrial DNA. And I have identified several more promising research projects that we can start work on as soon as funding is in place.
Of particular interest to US taxpayers, and with the end of the US tax year approaching, I would like to emphasize the leverage that the Thiel pledge offers. Assuming a 28% tax rate, for every $1,000 that you contribute, with an after tax net cost to you of $720, the Methuselah Foundation will receive more than double that amount – a total of $1,500 including Mr. Thiel’s matching funds. Therefore, I would like to ask you to consider making a contribution to the Methuselah Foundation’s research fund before the end of the year, so that we can maintain our gathering momentum. One of our supporters, Gary Hudson, recently made a $40,000 donation, which will be leveraged in this way. Gary told us, ‘I had been considering making a substantial contribution to the Methuselah Foundation, and Peter Thiel’s matching funds offer was irresistible’.
I also have a non-monetary request. If you are reading this, you are most likely well ahead of the curve of general public awareness and acceptance of the prospect of radical changes in human lifespan. I would be very interested to know your opinions and ideas concerning how to communicate with the public and the media, how you think we can fundraise more effectively and any other feedback you would like to give us.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss these matters further.
Many thanks once again for your support!
Aubrey D.N.J. de Grey, Ph.D.
Chairman and Chief Science Officer
The Methuselah Foundation