Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced a $3 billion investment in life sciences and health research (with the potential for more) through their nonprofit arm, Zuckerberg Chan Initiative.
That announcement was met with plenty of enthusiasm — $3 billion is certainly enough to grab headlines — but it also caused some to wonder whether it would be enough to make a dent. As NBC's Maggie Fox reminds us:
• The NIH has a 2016 annual budget of $32 billion for scientific research.
• The CDC's annual budget is $7 billion, and much of it is spent on prevention of common diseases.
• Other nonprofits like the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have invested $8 billion over 10 years, and have plenty more in the bank.
But as Stephen Downs from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation tells me, it's not just about money. "What's most important is the mentality," he says. "It's about bringing in new ways of thinking, different paradigms, and in some cases breaking out of some of the sector's established traditions."