Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Fundraiser for CIRM by San Francisco philanthropists

Taking independent action in the face of lawsuits that have held up funding for California's $3 billion stem cell research institute [CIRM], some of San Francisco's most prominent philanthropists are holding a gala fundraiser for this state agency on May 22, 2006.

A press release for "Reach for Tomorrow, Research Today" says the event will offer "private scientific briefings" and "private tours" of nearby campuses for donors willing to contribute up to $10,000 per person, or $100,000 per table. The gala also offers a VIP reception, a black-tie dinner and appearances by actress Julie Andrews, composer Marvin Hamlisch and others.

The Sacramento Bee has criticized the form of the event:

What is wrong with this picture? Plenty, if you think that public stewards of taxpayer money should keep at arm's length from those seeking that money. By agreeing to participate in the fundraiser, Hall, Klein and Penhoet have flunked this test. "It smacks of selling access and influence to well-heeled donors," said John Simpson of the watchdog group, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.

**Separately, of independent action related to Proposition 71:

From the Pittsburgh bizjournal:

K&LNG partner Sanford Ferguson saw big potential in California's plans to spend $3 billion on embryonic stem cell technology. The law firm announced its Stem Cell Technology practice in February, roughly three months later.

So Ferguson initiated discussions with Peter Kalis, chairman of K&LNG's management committee, around Thanksgiving 2005. He also turned to Thomas Turano, a partner in its Boston office, to help direct the new group.

"Tom is a heavyweight intellectual property lawyer who does a lot of medical and life sciences work so he was a very natural person to team up with," Ferguson said. "I had, perhaps, some marketing skills. Our practice groups are born from the management committee so it can make sure that the ways we're applying our resources, time and goodwill make sense in terms of the future growth of the firm."


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