The Dana Foundation (Charles A. Dana Foundation) is a private philanthropic organization based in New York committed to advancing brain research and to educating the public in a responsible manner about research’s potential. Its goals are: (1) to develop a better understanding of the brain and its functions; (2) to speed the discovery of treatments for brain disorders; and (3) to combat the stigma of brain disorders through education.
The Foundation was founded in 1950 by Charles A. Dana, a legislator and businessman from New York State, and CEO of the Dana Corporation. He presided over the organization until 1960, but continued to participate until his death in 1975.
Edward F. Rover is the current chairman of the Foundation. He served as vice-chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation before being elected president in 2000 and then chairman in 2009. Rover was a senior partner at White & Case, L.L.P. in New York City until December 31, 2003. Rover succeeded William Safire, who became the Foundation's chairman following David Mahoney’s death in 2000.
The Dana Alliances
The Dana Foundation supports the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the European Dana Alliance for the Brain, nonprofit organizations of leading neuroscientists committed to advancing public awareness about the progress and promise of brain research. The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives was officially launched in 1993, and has more than 350 members, including nine Nobel laureates. The European Dana Alliance for the Brain was established in 1997, and has more than 260 members, including five Nobel laureates, from 32 countries.
Research grant programs
The Dana Foundation’s current area of research emphasis is in neuroscience, focusing on neuroimaging and clinical neuroscience research.
David Mahoney Neuroimaging grants support research on imaging innovations that help reveal how the human brain functions normally, how disorders and injuries alter these functions, and how various therapies affect these conditions.
The Clinical Neuroscience Research grants support researchers testing promising therapies that move from animal models to a small number of human patients with devastating, currently untreatable brain diseases (first-in-human studies). Also supported are studies to develop ethical guidelines in brain research.
The Foundation has a broad range of outreach initiatives for the general public and for targeted audiences. Major initiatives include:
Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. Partner organizations host creative and innovative activities in their communities to educate kids and adults about the brain. In 2017, 420 partners held more than 890 events in 40 countries and 46 US states. Brain Awareness Week 2018 will be held from March 12 to 18.
Successful Aging & Your Brain forums are dynamic discussions by expert panels followed by Q&A sessions with the audience. The forums address how the brain changes as we age, memory loss, brain diseases and disorders, and maintaining cognitive function. Related videos and a booklet are available on the Dana Foundation website.
The Dana Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) co-host Neuroscience and Society, a free public event series in Washington, D.C. Past topics include Opioid addiction, aging and cognition, and creativity and the brain. Videos of the events can be viewed on dana.org.
Neuroscience and the Law workshops provide state and federal judges with a better understanding of the role neuroscience may play in making legal determinations in the courts, from the admissibility of neuroimaging evidence to decisions about criminal culpability.
Capitol Hill Briefings are designed to educate Members of Congress and their staff about the latest advances in brain research.
The Dana Foundation website, dana.org, offers vetted information by scientists about the brain. There are free publications and videos, and dedicated sections for kids, educators, seniors, and patients and caregivers.
Web-based publications include news articles; primers; briefing papers; scientist Q&As; Reports on Progress, “hard-science” articles written by an expert in the field; and Cerebrum, a monthly long-form essay on cutting-edge topics also written by experts. A series of It’s Mindboggling publications are targeted to students at a range of reading levels. The booklet Successful Aging and the Brain addresses how the brain works and how we can maximize brain function and health. Brain in the News is a monthly print compendium of articles about the brain, with a column by science advisor Guy McKhann, M.D.
The Foundation reinstituted the Dana Press in 2013 with the publication of Jane Nevin’s You've Got Some Explaining to Do: Advice for Neuroscientists Writing for Lay Readers, and four Cerebrum anthologies/ The Nevins’ book is available as a free PDF download in English and Spanish on the Foundation website or for purchase in soft cover in English from Amazon. The Cerebrum anthologies can be purchased on Amazon, but the individual articles and book reviews are available for free on dana.org in the Cerebrum archives.
- Dana Foundation website
- Philanthropy Roundtable
- The New York Times
- Dana Foundation website, About the Dana Alliances
- Dana Foundation website, Grants
- Dana Foundation website, Brain Awareness Week
- Dana Foundation website, Successful Aging & Your Brain
- AAAS website
- Dana Foundation website, publications
- Dana Foundation website, You've Got Some Explaining to Do
- Dana Foundation website, Cerebrum anthologies
- Scientific American MIND review
- PsycCRITIQUES review