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Seeding Labs A Nonprofit Corporation

 50 Milk Street, 16th Floor
 Boston, MA 02109
[P] (617) 500-3014
[F] --
Nina Dudnik
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 10-8267613

LAST UPDATED: 05/31/2017
Organization DBA Seeding Labs
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

Seeding Labs invests in exceptional scientists in developing countries who have limited resources, but limitless potential. We provide reduced-cost lab equipment and training, and foster professional networks in order to enhance higher education, support vital research, and create a more connected global scientific community.

Mission Statement

Seeding Labs invests in exceptional scientists in developing countries who have limited resources, but limitless potential. We provide reduced-cost lab equipment and training, and foster professional networks in order to enhance higher education, support vital research, and create a more connected global scientific community.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $4,200,000.00
Projected Expense $1,500,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Ambassadors Program
  • Fellows Program
  • Instrumental Access Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Seeding Labs invests in exceptional scientists in developing countries who have limited resources, but limitless potential. We provide reduced-cost lab equipment and training, and foster professional networks in order to enhance higher education, support vital research, and create a more connected global scientific community.

Background Statement

At first glance, supporting scientific research may not seem like an obvious priority in countries where political instability is rife and food shortages are real. While we don’t diminish the importance of efforts to alleviate these immediate problems, we strongly believe that scientific research is an essential component in creating the kind of sustainable, diversified economies that help developing nations lift themselves out of poverty. Some of the benefits of scientific research in the developing world include:

Reversing the “brain drain”

Many scientists from developing countries migrate to the developed world for improved educational and career opportunities. Many remain; it is estimated that 30-50% of scientists from the developing world live and work in developed countries. In 2004, the National Science Foundation found that of the 1350 African doctoral students in the U.S., 70% planned to stay. One reason driving them to remain abroad is inadequate research facilities in their home countries.

Strengthening the capacity to solve local problems

The population of the developing world is plagued by diseases we don’t suffer from in the West, and dependent upon crops we don’t grow. We want to help the scientists working on these locally important issues, to make sure that they can help their communities.

Strengthening global public health and protecting our shared environment

The outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Zika in the last few years have proven just how closely connected we all are when it comes to our health. We are beginning to see the effects of climate change, manifested in tsunamis or droughts, impacting the lives of people worldwide. Scientists in the developing world must be equipped to detect and address outbreaks where and when they occur. And they must have the tools to predict and mitigate the effects of human activity on the environments in which they live.

Impact Statement

Since 2003 Seeding Labs has worked with scientists at 49 institutions in 28 countries around the world. We have made over $4,900,000 worth of equipment available to scientists for teaching over 17,000 students and conducting research on issues ranging from climate change to HIV to malaria. In 2017 we will provide 15 more institutions in 13 countries with much needed lab equipment. Five of these countries are new to Seeding Labs. We will continue to expand our strategic corporate partnership programs. 

Needs Statement

1. Funding to support operations and shipments of equipment to our Instrumental Access partners in developing countries.
2. Donated high-quality laboratory equipment ranging from consumables to analytical chemistry and molecular biology instruments. 
3. Sponsorship for training STEM personnel in maintaining and installing equipment.  
4. Sponsorship for scientific exchange and ambassador programs.  

CEO Statement


Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

Argentina, Brazil, Armenia, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Namibia, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Higher Education
  2. International, Foreign Affairs, and National Security - International Academic Exchange
  3. Science & Technology - Biological, Life Science Research

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Ambassadors Program

We believe scientists are integral to international diplomacy. They speak a universal language, and transcend nationality and geography when talking to each other about their work. Most of all, we believe in young scientists - up-and-coming researchers who are eager to expand their professional circles and used to communicating with friends regardless of distance. Ambassadors are scientists, including graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, from the U.S. who bridge the scientific and geographical gaps. They conduct brief visits to universities overseas where they share their knowledge and research, learn about the work being done elsewhere and meet new colleagues. Abroad they represent their U.S. research community. When they return to their home institutions they are connectors, painting a picture of labs around the world for their peers and introducing them to others overseas with shared research interests.
Budget  --
Category  Education Postsecondary Education
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success  --
Program Long-Term Success  --
Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success  --

Fellows Program

Our work with African universities points to a need to strengthen simultaneously four specific areas to make them engines for higher education and research in science: modern laboratory techniques; research project design and proposal development; leadership, mentorship and teaching skills; and network building. The Seeding Labs Fellows program, focuses on emerging campus change-makers – those who have completed a PhD and are working as lecturers and senior lecturers. During a 3-month program they work in a cross-cultural environment in advanced US labs, learning new techniques and utilizing cutting-edge equipment and methods. With Seeding Labs staff and academics they focus on broadening their research ideas into formal grant proposals. They work with leading experts on new approaches to undergraduate teaching and post-graduate mentoring; scientific publications, laboratory management, and other topics, with an especial focus on the process of drug discovery. They meet new colleagues from academia, industry, civic society and government to enhance their professional networks. Upon returning to their home campuses, Fellows are required to teach their new skills to colleagues and students and implement new projects. 
Budget  --
Category  Education Teacher & Faculty
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success  Already within the first two years of the program, we have observed marked improvement in the depth of Fellows’ grant proposals and in their confidence in grant submission. 46% of Fellows have begun to pursue collaborative research projects or new curriculum development with each other or with U.S. scientists met during the program. 
Program Long-Term Success  --
Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success  --

Instrumental Access Program

Seeding Labs lowers the cost for universities to fully equip their teaching and research labs. We reclaim used and new laboratory equipment from research institutions and manufacturers in the U.S. and match it to the specific needs of scientists in developing countries. We have equipped labs in 28 countries around the world.
Budget  $800,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Postsecondary Education
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success 
- Over $3M equipment matched and shipped
- Labs in 24 countries equipped
- Over 17,000 students and scientists using equipment 
Program Long-Term Success  Having access to affordable lab equipment will allow our scientists to train their students in the latest techniques, resulting long-term in a well-educated scientific workforce building the local academic and industry sectors. It will allow our scientists to pursue new research projects, ultimately leading to new knowledge and solutions related to agriculture, the environment, public health and energy. 
Program Success Monitored By 
Increase quantity of scientific research on campus

Annual institutional research budget

Number of journal clubs (attendance)
Proportion of students conducting research on campus

Content and hours of laboratory practical courses

Number of masters and doctorate degrees awarded

Increase communication and collaboration

Number of collaborations (internal, external, international)

Number of seminars held (attendance)

Number of researchers in communication networks

Increase quality of scientific research

Number of peer reviewed articles published
Number of high level publications (impact factor >5)

Number of grants awarded

Examples of Program Success 
From nothing to big discovery in Tuberculosis Argentina,
Dr. Hector Ricardo Morbidoni
Seeding Labs helped launch this lab in 2004 when Morbidoni returned to Argentina after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the prestigious Albert Einstein College of Medicine. At the time, the country was in financial crisis and there was no funding available at all for his research. With our help, his determination and continual innovation, the lab is now thriving and receives funding from agencies around the world.
  • Best of all, he reports: “We have implemented a method for rapid determination of drug resistance in tuberculosis. The method shortens from 45 days to 4 days the time required and will be added to our public health service that provides coverage to a population of 1,000,000 people.”

  • CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



    CEO/Executive Director Dr. Nina Dudnik
    CEO Term Start Jan 2008
    CEO Email
    CEO Experience

    At a very early age, I decided to become a geneticist and was passionate about using science to address social issues including health and hunger around the world. After earning a Bachelor’s in biochemistry I worked for the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research in Italy and in Cote d’Ivoire. My colleagues were inspiring scientists from every part of the world and I visited labs on three continents. I was struck by the disparities in material resources available for these scientists in comparison to my colleagues in the U.S. While pursuing my PhD in molecular biology at Harvard Medical School, I founded Seeding Labs to help universities around the world become first-class scientific research institutions, and ensure that scientists everywhere have the tools and the training to pursue great research. 

    In 2008 I was awarded a two-year fellowship from Echoing Green to launch Seeding Labs' growth. I was a 2000 Fulbright Scholar, a 2010 TEDGlobal Fellow, a 2010 PopTech Fellow and a 2011 MassHighTech Woman to Watch.
    Co-CEO --
    Co-CEO Term Start --
    Co-CEO Email --
    Co-CEO Experience --

    Former CEOs and Terms

    Name Start End
    -- -- --

    Senior Staff

    Name Title Experience/Biography
    David Qualter Operations Manager --
    Robin Watters Cheif Executive Officer --
    Robin Watters Cheif Executive Officer --


    Award Awarding Organization Year
    2017 Innovation All-Star Boston Business Journal 2017
    Finalist Lipman Family Prize 2017
    Passion in Science Awards: Humanitarian Duty Award New England BioLabs 2016
    World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 — Not-For-Profit Fast Company 2015
    New Frontier Award John F. Kennedy Library Foundation 2014
    Young Professional Award Massachusetts Nonprofit Network 2010
    SBANE Innovation Award Smaller Business Association of New England 2009
    Echoing Green fellowship Echoing Green 2007


    Affiliation Year
    -- --
    Member of state association of nonprofits? No
    Name of state association --

    External Assessments and Accreditations

    External Assessment or Accreditation Year
    -- --



    CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


    Foundation Comments


    Staff Information

    Number of Full Time Staff 7
    Number of Part Time Staff 2
    Number of Volunteers 10
    Number of Contract Staff 0
    Staff Retention Rate % --

    Staff Demographics

    Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
    Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
    Caucasian: 8
    Hispanic/Latino: 0
    Native American/American Indian: 0
    Other: 0
    Other (if specified): 0
    Gender Female: 6
    Male: 3
    Not Specified 0

    Plans & Policies

    Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
    Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
    Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
    Management Succession Plan --
    Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
    Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
    Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
    Whistle Blower Policy Yes
    Document Destruction Policy Yes
    Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
    State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
    State Registration --

    Risk Management Provisions


    Reporting and Evaluations

    Management Reports to Board? Yes
    CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
    Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
    Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Quarterly


    Board Chair Dr. Tim Fenton
    Board Chair Company Affiliation Thermo Fisher Scientific
    Board Chair Term Jan 2017 - Dec 2017
    Board Co-Chair --
    Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
    Board Co-Chair Term -

    Board Members

    Name Company Affiliations Status
    Nina Dudnik Seeding Labs Voting
    Tim Fenton Thermo Fisher Scientific --
    Joanne Kamens Addgene --
    Cheryl Nickerson Nutter HuLow Medical Voting
    Lewis Whitehead Novartis Voting

    Constituent Board Members

    Name Company Affiliations Status
    -- -- --

    Youth Board Members

    Name Company Affiliations Status
    -- -- --

    Advisory Board Members

    Name Company Affiliations Status
    -- -- --

    Board Demographics

    Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
    Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
    Caucasian: 5
    Hispanic/Latino: 0
    Native American/American Indian: 0
    Other: 0
    Other (if specified): 0
    Gender Female: 3
    Male: 2
    Not Specified 0

    Board Information

    Board Term Lengths 2
    Board Term Limits --
    Board Meeting Attendance % 100%
    Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
    Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
    Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
    Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
    Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

    Standing Committees

    • Audit, Compliance and Controls
    • Board Governance
    • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
    • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction

    CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


    Foundation Comments



    Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

    Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

    Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

    Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

    Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

    Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
    Total Revenue $2,516,845 $1,589,545 $753,398
    Total Expenses $1,969,397 $881,766 $1,081,489

    Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

    Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
    Foundation and
    Corporation Contributions
    -- -- --
    Government Contributions $929,989 $589,544 $38,103
        Federal -- -- --
        State -- -- --
        Local -- -- --
        Unspecified $929,989 $589,544 $38,103
    Individual Contributions $35,021 $288,903 $111,763
    Indirect Public Support -- -- --
    Earned Revenue -- $-3,500 $-41,781
    Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
    Membership Dues -- -- --
    Special Events -- -- --
    Revenue In-Kind $1,357,562 $683,652 $511,682
    Other $194,273 $30,946 $133,631

    Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

    Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
    Program Expense $1,781,030 $689,367 $961,459
    Administration Expense $120,016 $89,480 $89,354
    Fundraising Expense $68,351 $102,919 $30,676
    Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
    Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.28 1.80 0.70
    Program Expense/Total Expenses 90% 78% 89%
    Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 7% 12% 20%

    Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

    Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
    Total Assets $1,731,589 $1,175,582 $489,865
    Current Assets $1,727,891 $1,170,519 $488,708
    Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $12,000
    Current Liabilities $454,539 $142,401 $71,113
    Total Net Assets $1,277,050 $1,033,181 $406,752

    Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

    Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
    1st (Source and Amount) -- --
    -- --
    -- --
    2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
    -- --
    -- --
    3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
    -- --
    -- --

    Financial Planning

    Endowment Value --
    Spending Policy N/A
    Percentage(If selected) --
    Credit Line Yes
    Reserve Fund No
    How many months does reserve cover? --

    Capital Campaign

    Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
    Capital Campaign Purpose --
    Campaign Goal --
    Capital Campaign Dates -
    Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
    Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

    Short Term Solvency

    Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
    Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 3.80 8.22 6.87

    Long Term Solvency

    Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
    Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 2%

    CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


    Foundation Comments

    Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above are per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.
    *Please note the nonprofit changed from a 1/31 year end to a 12/31 year end in 2009 and there are two 990s ending in 2009.


    Other Documents

    No Other Documents currently available.


    The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

    1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

    Direct outcomes that we anticipate from use of equipment from Instrumental Access include: 1) research projects enabled or enhanced; 2) leveraged funding and other resources for research and education; 3) enhanced opportunities for graduate thesis and dissertation research to be conducted on-site; and 4) enhanced science teaching and learning with more opportunities for hands-on training. These outcomes will enable impacts that include: 1) generation of new scientific knowledge in fields relevant to development; 2) a better-educated workforce of scientists, engineers, healthcare workers, teachers, entreprenuers, and engaged citizens; 3) stronger and more sustainable institutions of higher education; and 4) ultimately, enhanced development and progress towards the SDGs.

    2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

    Our Instrumental Access program leverages the surplus of high quality scientific equipment in the US to affordably meet the demand for it in developing countries. We work with over 120 private and public sector partners who donate equipment to us. We employ a rigorous selection and vetting process to identify institutions in the developing world with solid scientific teaching and research plans and a defined need for equipment that they will be able to use, share and maintain. Sending equipment is not the end; we follow up with receiving institutions to monitor progress and to provide other types of assistance including help publishing their work and connecting to colleagues in their fields. 

    3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

    Seeding Labs is the only organization meeting the need for lab equipment by scientists in the developing world through this model. We have 10 years of experience delivering over $5M in equipment to scientists in 28 countries. This experience has given us a unique observation of the needs and barriers throughout life cycle of lab equipment procurement and use. We have partnerships with the US government, partners in the private sector, as well as scientific societies in the US and worldwide. 

    4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

    We use a combination of written annual reports and interviews to gather short and long term indicators of equipment use and impact including: 
    - Number of faculty research projects using equipment
    - Numbers of students - graduate and undergraduate involved in research projects
    - Change in coursework involving equipment
    -  Publications and presentations using equipment
    - Impacts on public health, policy, economy
    - Research collaborations enhanced by/involving equipment
    - New funding proposals submitted using preliminary data generated with equipment
    - Numbers of graduate theses completed using equipment
    - Changes in enrollment in the sciences, undergraduate and graduate
    - New techniques enabled by equipment 

    5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

    What we have found to date is that the leaps from receiving equipment to using it and again from use to real impact are great. We have identified some of the most significant barriers to success in those steps including gaps in skills of our beneficiaries, sheer logistical or bureaucratic hurdles they face, as well as systemic barriers such as overall lack of research funding that Seeding Labs most likely cannot address. We have already started to design and implement steps that we can take to reduce the barriers in other ways from simple checklists to provide with our shipments to actually procuring electrical transformers for beneficiaries.