Dr. Gary K. Michelson

Dr. Gary K. Michelson is celebrated across the nation and around the world as one of the leading innovators in philanthropy. But what makes his approach so successful?

In the 21st century, we have the tools and technology to take the value of our charitable gifts so much further than simply donating to a cause and leaving it at that.

Dr. Michelson’s philosophy of innovation through collaboration strives to make philanthropy more effective by bringing people from different fields and areas together, identifying clear goals, and tapping into the power of the market to multiply the momentum of the initial gift.

Medicine, animal welfare, and intellectual property are only a few of the philanthropic initiatives made possible by Gary Michelson. Forbes has listed him among the most influential philanthropists in the world, noting the traction of his innovations. Let’s take a closer look at how Dr. Gary K. Michelson is bringing philanthropy forward into the new century through collaboration.

Michelson Runway

The face of education is rapidly changing. Physical college campuses aren’t going away anytime soon, but, thanks to digital technologies, students are learning differently from their counterparts in generations past. In addition, our changing economy is redefining job roles in America, changing the skill sets that workers and entrepreneurs need to have in order to thrive.

Michelson Runway is Dr. Gary K. Michelson’s startup accelerator founded to answer the emerging challenges of higher education and specialized career training in our modern economy. It links together institutional decision-makers, up-and-coming entrepreneurs, and policymakers, serving as a bridge for them, with a vested interest in keeping America’s workforce the sharpest and nimblest in the world. Together, we can tackle these challenges in higher education and career skills, and foundations like Michelson Runway are paving the way.

The USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience

Perhaps nowhere is Dr. Gary K. Michelson’s philosophy of innovation through collaboration better expressed than at the Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience at the University of Southern California.

In recent decades, scientists and scholars have come to realize that interdisciplinary cooperation is vital to the development of future technologies. The Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience creates a space for bioscience researchers and engineers in different fields to:

  • Collaborate on large-scale health initiatives
  • Share information such as data and procedural methods
  • Force-multiply their respective competencies

That’s the “convergent” in “convergence bioscience.” By bringing together brilliant minds who wouldn’t otherwise have joined forces, Dr. Gary K. Michelson’s visionary research center will lead to the development of lifesaving medical therapies and technologies, while also creating a powerful learning environment for students who will go on to make their own contributions to medicine in the years to come. This is innovation through collaboration at its finest.

Dr. Gary Michelson: Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy Participant

It’s also important to build collaboration between other philanthropists. When Forbes set out to gather the most influential philanthropists in the world to a summit on how to better apply the world’s wealth toward the most pressing challenges of our time, Forbes naturally invited Dr. Gary Michelson.

Forbes is a deeply respected name in business, and its recognition of Dr. Gary K. Michelson’s accomplishments in philanthropic innovation speaks to Dr. Michelson’s far-reaching impact through his multiple foundations, each with its own, highly-targeted, well-defined mission.

The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property

Entrepreneurship in the 21st century has many differences and new competencies compared to the old way of starting a business. In particular, intellectual property is a modern legal minefield that few aspiring entrepreneurs properly understand.

Dr. Gary K. Michelson himself is a celebrated inventor who, in the course of his former career as an orthopedic spinal surgeon, filed hundreds of patents relating to his expertise in the field. These days he channels this same understanding of innovation to help others become successful innovators.

The result, the Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property, is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs better understand IP and IP law. This foundation provides extensive learning resources that explain IP in terms of operating a business, including protecting one’s own IP and avoiding infringement of other IP.

  • It reaches out to traditional educators in business schools and elsewhere to develop stronger, more effective IP curricula.
  • It offers IP resources directly to students and entrepreneurs, including an online video series, a free online course, and a full-length textbook on IP, with both a free digital version and a low-cost print version available.

The Michelson Found Animals Foundation

Animals helped Dr. Gary K. Michelson deal with hardships at home when he was growing up. Today, he loves animals second only to his human family, and he has spearheaded several charitable causes for animal welfare.

Most prominent of these is the Michelson Found Animals Foundation, which focuses on pet microchipping and adoption, as well as developing a safe, single-dose, non-surgical anti-fertility treatment for dogs and cats. The end goal is to create better lives for our furry friends, and minimize the number of pets who end up in shelters with no one to claim them.

By funding grant research into this challenge, and linking together policymakers, institutional leaders, and members of the public, Dr. Gary K. Michelson is creating a new model for innovating animal welfare philanthropy in the 21st century—another tangible example of his philosophy of innovation through collaboration.