Giving Compass' Take:

• MedPage Today reports on the American Association for Cancer Research delving into the area of social impact funds in order to support research, a rarity in the field.

• Will more disease-focused organizations look to such a financing model? The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation found some success, and impact investors interested in medical research should take note.

• Read about ways to choose an impactful cancer charity.

The American Association for Cancer Research is experimenting with a novel research funding mechanism, similar to one pioneered by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation but with money from Wall Street.

At last month's American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in Chicago, AACR announced at a special press conference that it would receive an initial gift of $1.2 million from the UBS Oncology Impact Fund (OIF) for an AACR-MPM Transformative Cancer Research Grants Program to support "innovative research that will accelerate breakthroughs against cancer."

A matching $1.2 million will also be donated to UBS's Optimus Foundation supporting emerging market access to cancer care. Additional funds will flow from OIF to the two groups as time goes on and the fund continues to earn profits.

OIF is one of many so-called social impact funds established both by big investment firms (Goldman Sachs and others have established their own) as well as by nonprofit foundations and advocacy groups. Like other managed investment funds, their capital comes from private investors and a fund manager invests the money into different ventures expected to turn profits. The difference is that social impact funds seek to "do good" in the community while earning a competitive return for their investors.

But while social impact funding is not new, dedicating its profits specifically to cancer research is innovative, and the great success achieved by the pioneering efforts of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation a few years ago demonstrated how a charity could benefit from targeted venture philanthropy by providing funding to biotech and pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs for rare diseases.

Read the full article about the new cancer research funding model by Eric T. Rosenthal at MedPage Today.