Funding for research into the therapeutic uses of psychedelics and medical marijuana increased significantly this April, when the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) announced that it will receive a generous $1.9 million bequest from the estate of longtime MAPS supporter Timothy Butcher.
SANTA CRUZ, Calif.—Funding for research into the therapeutic uses of psychedelics and medical marijuana increased significantly this April, when the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) announced that it will receive a generous $1.9 million bequest from the estate of longtime MAPS supporter Timothy Butcher.
Since its founding in 1986, MAPS has disbursed over $17 million to developing psychedelics and marijuana into prescription medicines for hard-to-treat illnesses and to educating the public honestly about the risks and benefits of these substances. MAPS’ top priority project is developing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy into a legal FDA-approved treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), estimated to cost about $18 million over the next 7½ years.
Tim believed strongly in the potential of MDMA combined with psychotherapy to help reduce anxiety and pain for people nearing the end of their life. To honor Tim’s legacy, MAPS will allocate approximately $400,000 of his gift to a new study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness in Marin, Calif. Another $400,000 of Tim’s bequest will help fund collaborative initial research between MAPS and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs into how MDMA-assisted psychotherapy compares or combines with established evidence-based psychotherapies for veterans with PTSD.
Tim left his entire estate to charity, divided evenly between MAPS and the human rights organization Amnesty International. Tim’s gift to MAPS also supports human rights by expanding MAPS’ ability to create legal contexts for the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and provide fact-based public education, both of which provide models for a post-prohibition world.
Starting in 1996, Tim donated over $155,000 to support MAPS’ work, though his bequest came as a surprise to the organization. “Tim was passionate about our mission,” says MAPS Founder and Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D. “Unbeknownst to me, Tim decided to include MAPS in his will in a characteristically modest and humble manner. As we expand our work, Tim’s bequest provides crucially needed support by allowing us to build a bridge from Phase 2 to Phase 3 studies of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD.”
Tim died in October 2012, at age 45. Tim’s father, Samuel Butcher, was the originator of Precious Moments figurines. Tim was an accomplished artist, making contributions to Precious Moments designs that enabled him to make financial gifts to organizations whose missions he supported. He was also a skilled musician, and dedicated to helping people learn to enjoy life to its fullest.
“Tim believed strongly in the work MAPS is doing,” said Tim’s lifelong friend Sue Stevens. “He also knew that there’s a long road ahead before research is completed and goals are met. His gift to MAPS after his death is exactly perfect to who Tim was, what he stood for, and what he believed so strongly.”
The four largest gifts in MAPS’ 28-year history have been bequests. MAPS received about $500,000 from Eric Bass in 1994, and $450,000 from Larry Thomas in 2010. In 2011, MAPS Board member Ashawna Hailey left MAPS roughly $5.5 million, of which $5.3 million was Board restricted to Phase 3 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD studies, estimated to cost a total of $16 million.
“Part of what makes me smile most about Tim’s gift is that it didn’t cost him anything while he was alive,” said Stevens. “Naming MAPS in his end-of-life legal paperwork, ensuring that money he can’t take with him is being put to good use, that’s something any of us with a will can do. I do hope others will consider doing the same.”
If you are interested in learning more about planned giving or would like to leave a gift to MAPS in your will, please visit maps.org/bequests or call Virginia Wright at (831) 429-6362 x107.