It’s been almost 20 years since sports and science philanthropist James Drake launched his first major endeavour, the Future Science Group.
Since then, James has conceived and coordinated a host of charitable initiatives that have revolutionised the sports science sector, amongst other industries. He is best known for funding breakthrough research into sports players’ concussions and long-term brain defects and his philanthropic ventures have redefined safe sports practice.
James’ mission is to connect people from different backgrounds to build successful ventures and contribute to society. His work primarily informs the health industry’s understanding of concussion-related injuries and drives safer practice in sports. Over the last few years, he has expanded his philanthropic scope and now also funds musical grants for promising young artists.
These are the main charitable efforts that James has set up over the last two decades as part of his philanthropy programme. Each initiative rises from his science-publishing operation, which explores neuroscience, sport and music education.
The Future Science Group
The Future Science Group (FSG) is a progressive imprint that publishes advanced medical, biotechnical and scientific research. As the Founder of FSG, James manages the Group’s advancement of clinical practice and drug research. He seeks to consistently improve collaboration and communication between clinicians, researchers, and decision-makers.
FSG is prevalent in medical communities, publishing cutting-edge releases that provide clinical professionals with trusted information on the latest trends in scientific fields. The Group publishes 15 open-access journals and 20 hybrid-model journals, which are advised by 1,000 editorial board members. Since its launch in 2001, FSG has also released over 200 medical eBooks and over 50,000 articles.
The Drake Foundation
After witnessing players obtain serious injuries on rugby and football fields – including Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who stayed on the pitch following a concussion injury in 2014 – James launched another philanthropic venture, the Drake Foundation. The not-for-profit organisation has worked since 2014 to develop evidence-based measures to better understand sporting concussion injuries, including possible long-term effects of repeated head impacts.
Partnered with the Football Association and Saracens Rugby Club, the Drake Foundation is committed to supporting sports players’ health and provides a host of resources that drive knowledge share for sports professionals. The Foundation also studies retirement from professional sports, offering guidance to support players through their transitions to retirement. A career of repetitive concussive impacts can have huge implications for sports professionals that often don’t come to light until later in life, and James is keen to identify how we can prevent these risks.
Little research had been conducted into sports concussions before The Drake Foundation made its mark on the sports science sector. Six years on, the Drake Foundation has now invested over two-million pounds in groundbreaking research and has expanded its scope to explore overall long-term health trends in the sporting landscape.
The Drake Foundation’s studies include:
- The Drake Football Study: the most comprehensive study to date into the physical and psychological health of footballers over time.
- Evaluating Concussion in Premier League Football: a trial that examines samples from Premier League football players and uninjured control players to identify biomarkers that indicate brain injury.
- Health and Ageing Data in the Game of Football: a study into whether ‘heading the ball’ has triggered concussion-related and neurodegenerative diseases in retired footballers.
- Brain Health and Healthy Ageing in Retired Elite Rugby Players: research into the connection between the history of concussion and neurodegenerative disease in rugby players.
- Biomarker Study of Head Injury in Rugby: a longitudinal study into potential biomarkers of concussion injuries in Premiership and Championship rugby union teams.
- Head Injury, Cognition, and Imaging Correlates of Dementia in the Insight 1946 Cohort: a study of 3,000 individuals, all born during the same week in 1946, that investigates whether people who have lost consciousness at some point in their lives have lower cognitive functions and accelerated cognitive decline at age 69.
- Mixed Pathologies, including Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, Account for Dementia in Retired Association Football (Soccer) Players: an investigation into former Professional Association football players with histories of repetitive head impacts that found chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as a potential cause of dementia and motor impairments.
The Drake Calleja Trust
In 2015, James set up his third major philanthropic endeavour, The Drake Calleja Trust, which enables exceptional musicians from underprivileged backgrounds to start musical careers. James chairs the Drake Calleja Trust with opera singer and Westminster School Singing Coach Matthew Hargreaves. Together, they offer musical scholarships and grants to promising young talent. The renowned Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja is the Patron.
The Drake Calleja Trust offers one-year scholarships from £2,500 to £9,000 to successful classical solo instrumentalists, accompanists, and singers aged 18 and above. The Trust has enabled undergraduate, postgraduate, and research-level students to purchase quality instruments, partake in masterclasses and competitions, attend national and international auditions, further their studies, and complete recordings. The Drake Calleja Trust also provides awards for non-classical musicians and offers frequent performance opportunities.
Looking ahead, James aims to continue to grow the Drake Calleja Trust into a key funder in the UK’s creative industry. The Trust will also continue to support and showcase the talents of classical and non-classical artists.
The Drake YolanDa Award
As part of the Drake Calleja Trust, the saxophonist and philanthropist YolanDa Brown welcomes applicants for theDrake YolanDa Award, which supports emerging artists from the UK in their bids to kickstart musical careers and compete in the saturated market. The Drake YolanDa Award celebrates ten emerging artists every year. Each artist receives a £3,000 prize to support them with touring, artistic development, recording, music videos, marketing, branding, and equipment.
James Drake’s Education and Career
After completing his degree in biochemistry at the University of Leeds, James worked at the BIBRA food toxicology research institute and then transitioned into academic publishing. He has worked as the Commissioning Editor and Senior Editor at Academic Press, developed the Current Opinion journals for Current Drugs Ltd, and founded various companies including Ashley Publications Ltd and Expert Reviews Ltd.
In 2003, James founded Future Medicine and Future Science under the Future Science Group. Since then, he has worked with his specialist teams to acquire significant medical journals and community websites, includingNanomedicine, Regenerative Medicine, Neuro Central, and Oncology Central.
James Drake’s Success Mindset
As a charity-driven entrepreneur, James highlights that we don’t always act rationally or with our best interests in mind. He advises that we overcome this by thinking of our future selves as separate beings. This way, we can achieve rationality and set realistic goals. James suggests taking note of our emotions to calculate whether we are likely to achieve our goals. If we imagine that we have not achieved a particular target six months from now, the level of surprise that we feel indicates how likely we would be to succeed if we put the goal into practice. While many people try to push their emotions away, James shows that it can be more helpful to embrace and analyse them.
More About James Drake
James doesn’t consider himself an entrepreneur in the traditional sense. Instead of focusing on finance, his ventures stem from empathy and developing relationships with like-minded professionals to provide the best philanthropic efforts.
James enjoys creating portraits to help him to empathise with those involved in his endeavours. Not only has he painted many icons, including Dame Judy Dench, Sir Bill Beaumont, and Marco van Basten, but he has also painted historical events such as the Royal Box on Men’s Final day at Wimbledon and the signing of Article 50, which activated Brexit – he painted this piece for Theresa May, though this does not imply a political view on Brexit either way.
Contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jamesjpdrake to learn more about his philanthropic ventures.