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Sheikh Zayed Institute at Children's National launches first child health focused crowdfunding website

WASHINGTON, DC—The Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Medical Center launched the first child health focused crowdfunding website this week. The website,, gives the general public access to directly support any of the four featured research projects. 

This pediatric crowdfunding program is designed as a pilot project to gauge both the need for additional funding sources from investigators and the interest of the general public in supporting specific research aimed at helping children. 

“We know that government and philanthropic research funding is more competitive than ever before,” said Floortje Blindenbach-Driessen, PhD, head of the crowdfunding initiative. “We also know through our institute’s focus on pediatric innovation that there are many, many good project ideas out there that are either too small to qualify for that funding or need additional assistance to begin. This website could become a venue for these projects to earn the support they need.” 

The four projects selected for this pilot were based on their stage of development and their potential to have longstanding impact on how care is provided to children. They include:

  • Asthma: the beginning of a project to develop a handheld application allowing parents to measure the amount of dangerous particulates in the air of their home, and prevent a child’s asthma attacks by reducing the risk. 
  • Down syndrome: a first of its kind software program that can detect Down syndrome without blood tests and extensive analysis using image recognition in an affordable way.
  • Image-guided surgery: a novel open source toolkit designed to explain image guided surgery to aspiring doctors, biomedical engineers, patients and families, through hands-on learning.
  • Pain medicine: development of a new digital media technology system that will engage children in the Pain Medicine Clinic in fun, educational, high-tech activities in the waiting room before their appointments. This technology also collects data that will inform the care they receive before they ever enter an exam room. 

The pilot will run for at least 90 days. If successful, the next phase of development will include the addition of several more projects from across Children’s National Medical Center.

“This project is exactly the kind of paradigm shifting effort that the Sheikh Zayed Institute was created to support,” said Peter Kim, MD, PhD, Vice President of the Sheikh Zayed Institute. “As with any innovative idea, the outcomes are unknown, but the promise that we could redefine how important research ideas for children are successfully funded shows even greater potential.

Contact: Jennifer Stinebiser, 202-476-4500

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