Ignition Program™


In 2015, the 3-21 Foundation received a grant from a private family to expand its effort in cognition. Specifically, we have launched a program to stimulate (ignite) cognitive approaches through direct investment. Seed grants of up to $10,000 each are planned with the objective of contributing useful approaches that parents and caregivers can immediately use to support cognition & learning. Special priority will be given to nutraceuticals, generics, or commercially available devices currently in development and/or testing (in controlled, peer-reviewed trials). These approaches are typically not well funded (even by other research funders) because they lack patent or regulatory exclusivity. However, these approaches are those which can be used immediately upon proof of efficacy by people with Down syndrome.

Areas of Interest

Ginkgo Biloba, a natural supplement used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and sold widely in health food stores targets similar cognitive pathways as some pharmaceuticals now under development. Ginkgo has significant anecdotal human evidence and compounds targeting the same neurological pathway show efficacy in peer-reviewed animal models of Down syndrome. However, controlled trials of Ginkgo in people with Down syndrome have never been performed.

In another example, derivatives of green tea called ECGC (also available from natural food stores) have shown early promise in cognitive enhancement in trials with people who have Down syndrome. Would ECGC and Ginkgo act in a synergistic fashion? In yet another example, early treadmill training has been shown to support earlier walking in infants with Down syndrome. In addition, early treadmill training has also been correlated with developmental gains, which has not been fully studied. These are just a few areas where good research could lead to approaches which families can start using immediately to help their loved ones.


To submit an application for an Ignition Grant, please send a one to three page letter of inquiry with a description of the project, participants, collaborators, objectives, timeframe, related links, peer-reviewed scientific controls, use of funds, and other funding sources via email. We will respond within two (2) weeks as to our level of interest.


Financial Sources

The Ignition Program is funded exclusively by private family donations designated specifically to support unmet areas of cognition. If you would like to contribute to the expansion of this program, please contact us.

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