Article by Marc Moorghen, Former Communications Director

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is issuing an open invitation for research into Multiple Sclerosis, the leading cause of neurological disability in young adults.

LOS ANGELES, JUNE 17, 2014 – The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is issuing an open invitation to submit proposals for the Marilyn Hilton Award for Innovation in Multiple Sclerosis Research. The goal of the award is to stimulate innovative and potentially paradigm-shifting research on Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS), which may otherwise go unfunded in times of fiscal restraint.

The Foundation expects to commit up to $6 million in grant funding to be distributed over a four‐year period, with the intention of supporting multiple awards. For this funding cycle, the Marilyn Hilton Award will support grants of up to four years, totaling no more than $900,000 per organization over the grant period.

Multiple Sclerosis is the leading cause of neurological disability in young adults. Over 400,000 people in the United States have Multiple Sclerosis. However, very little is known about the disease, and very little can be done to stop it from causing neurological damage that leads to disability. No treatments currently exist that work on slowing disability for those who have Primary Progressive MS and Secondary Progressive MS.

The award is named in honor of Marilyn Hilton—the mother of current Hilton Foundation Chairman, President & CEO, Steven M. Hilton—who suffered from complications of Multiple Sclerosis. “Our family is intimately aware of the challenges facing a person living with severe MS,” Steven Hilton said. “When someone you love is afflicted with MS, it opens your heart to the suffering that others go through, so you feel it’s important to reach out and help others that are going through a similar struggle. Those with MS and those who love them will benefit from this innovative research.”

Marilyn and Barron Hilton
Marilyn and Barron Hilton

A Scientific Advisory Committee will select the winners. The committee is comprised of experts in the field of MS, including Dr. Stephen Hauser, chair of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco; Dr. Daniel Reich, Chief, Translational Neuroradiology Unit, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; and Dr. Henry McFarland, retired Chief of the Neuroimmunology Branch of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

All interested non-profit institutions are invited to apply. Only one proposal per institution will be considered. Recipients of the awards will be notified in November 2014.

For more information about the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s MS program, visit our website or contact Elizabeth Cheung.


About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world’s disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton’s support for the work of Catholic Sisters. In addition, following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants, distributing $92 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2013. The Foundation’s current assets are approximately $2.4 billion. For more information, please visit