Venture Philanthropy Panel

This panel focuses on investment with philanthropic impact and how organizations maintain a genuine mission for patients. Topics may include:

  • What it means to be a philanthropic investor
  • Incentives to engage with venture philanthropy organizations
  • How to execute and measure impactful funding

Panelists will highlight philanthropic impact investing within the industry. Panelists will discuss how philanthropic investing drives their organizations, and how the firms are structured to work with startups seeking investment and partnership.


John Parker, Founder & Managing Director, Springhood Impact Ventures

John established and manages CH Innovations, the program-related investment initiative of the Charles H. Hood Foundation, a Boston-based private foundation that supports pediatric research, where he is also a trustee. CHI invests on a mission-first basis in seed-stage companies developing important medical solutions for children. More recently, John founded Springhood Impact Ventures as a platform through which other impact-first investors can provide critical early support to companies with a significant pediatric focus. Previously, John spent 25 years in the alternative investment industry, including senior roles in venture capital, private equity, and hedge funds. Early in his career he also worked in operations consulting and international merchant banking. John has a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Dartmouth’s Amos Tuck School of Business Administration. John is currently an observer on the boards of Aldatu Biosciences, Breegi Scientific, and Noninvasix.


Annette Bakker, President & CSO, Children’s Tumor Foundation

Annette, a PhD in Biochemistry, has leadership experience in both the academic and pharma/biotech research enterprise in Italy, Belgium, France, and the USA. Intrigued by the observation that the path from great basic discoveries to equally great clinical benefit is bumpy and often inefficient, she joined the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) in order to try to smooth this path for neurofibromatosis, a rare genetic disorder. The team has built collaborative science networks, an open biobank, a centralized data hub at Sage, a patient registry, KOL networks, etc. Annette feels very strongly about involving the patient voice in every initiative since patients are partners rather than victims. She hopes that the new CTF enterprise will not only benefit patients with NF, but may be of value to the larger rare disease community.

Akanksha Halbe,  Associate Director, Research Partnerships, The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Akanksha Halbe is a business and research professional with experience working in both private and nonprofits sectors. Halbe joined the Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2018 as part of the Research Partnerships team. She focuses on industry engagement efforts, to deepen alliances with pharma and biotech companies and cultivate new research partnerships and collaborations.

Jonathan Behr, Managing Director, JDRF T1D Fund

As the founding Managing Director of the T1D Fund, Jon has driven the creation of the fund’s strategy and operating model while leading deals and driving portfolio construction. Jon has previously held senior venture creation roles, including Principal at PureTech Ventures (PRTC) and Vice President of New Ventures for Enlight Biosciences (which was established in partnership with major pharmaceutical companies MRK, PFE, LLY, JNJ, ABT, AZN, NVO). Prior to the T1D Fund, Jon was a Market Sector Leader and Executive in Residence at Partners Healthcare Innovation, where he was responsible for driving technology translation from research hospitals affiliated with Harvard Medical School. In those roles Jon co-founded seven companies (including Vedanta Biosciences at PureTech, Entrega at Enlight, and Tilos Therapeutics at Partners), and supported and managed portfolio companies in operating roles and 6 director or board observer positions.

Meg Wood, Director of Business Development, CureDuchenne

Meg Wood is the Director of Business Development for CureDuchenne Ventures (CDV) — an organization focused on funding treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Since its first 2006 investment in Prosensa (acquired by BioMarin), CDV has operated under a venture philanthropy model. Most recently CDV co-founded Exonics, a company commercializing gene editing technology from the Olson Lab (UT Southwestern). Previously, Meg helped launched the Oncology Impact Fund at MPM Capital, a unique product designed in partnership with UBS Europe. Meg received MPH and MSW degrees from Boston University after completing her undergraduate work at College of Charleston.

Go Back to Agenda