In the final summary of recent, notable transformational cancer gifts, we examine gifts of over $10M which are long-term investments in the fight against cancer. Below is a summary of transformational gifts made since 2020 supporting the ecosystem necessary to research and treat cancer, including donations supporting infrastructure, capital, and faculty recruitment.
A gift of $126M to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine will accelerate advances in finding cures for cancer and expand innovative treatment options for cancer patients. The unrestricted anonymous gift was made in honor of Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., director of Sylvester and the Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. The gift is an anonymous bequest from a member of a family Nimer has known for decades. To maximize the donation’s impact, the anonymous gift will serve as a matching gift to leverage additional donations of $1M+ to Sylvester. This matching program will also establish a strong pool of resources for necessary investments in infrastructure, including a new research facility to foster cutting-edge, scientific discovery and interdisciplinary collaboration. Based on the donor’s previous interest in Nimer’s research priorities, a part of the gift will be dedicated to advancing research in cancer epigenetics and Sylvester’s experimental therapeutics program.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center announced the creation of The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Cancer Ecosystems Project to spur the next revolution of preclinical research, discovery, and treatment. The new initiative, made possible by a $100M gift from The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation, will bring together teams of researchers from across the institution to explore the many interconnected elements that contribute to the relapse of cancer — the key driver of cancer deaths — guided by a holistic, strategic vision. The Kravis Cancer Ecosystems Project aims to create a new generation of therapies rooted in the understanding of both the intrinsic drivers of cancer, including genes, and emerging insights about the environment that nurtures and sustains these dangerous cells. The new initiative will unite cancer researchers and computational scientists with advanced imaging, disease modeling, and analytical tools to learn how these different elements interact with one another.
The Sunderland Foundation has given The University of Kansas Cancer Center a $100M lead gift to build a new, state-of-the-art destination cancer center. The funding provided by the Sunderland Foundation will enable the KU Cancer Center to enhance its work in research and patient care while fulfilling its duty to provide public education and outreach programs, especially to diverse communities and high-risk populations, establishing a new cancer facility. The new building will bring expanded cancer care and research together in one place. Patients will have access to more innovative clinical trials and groundbreaking therapies developed on site. In addition, the whole patient experience – from nutrition and social work to pathology and imaging, and everything in between – will happen in one place. Researchers also will be able to collaborate in real time with physicians on personalized treatment options, making them more quickly available to patients.
City of Hope announced a $100M gift from Andrew and Peggy Cherng, co-founders and co-CEOs of Panda Express, to create a first-of-its-kind, national integrative oncology program that brings together Eastern and Western medicine to improve outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients and survivors. The gift, which will establish the Cherng Family Center for Integrative Oncology at City of Hope, is the largest single philanthropic contribution for cancer care in City of Hope history. Integrative oncology is a whole-person approach to cancer care that draws from diverse cultures, particularly traditional Chinese medicine and other Eastern healing traditions. Rigorous research on Eastern therapies could result in evidence-based insights that fuel the development of more effective cancer medicines and care.
Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah announced plans for a new Huntsman Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center in Utah County. This second headquarters will be in Vineyard, a growing city embedded in Utah’s tech hub. The plan opens new possibilities for cancer research, prevention, and treatments. The Huntsman Foundation granted $75M of matching funds to support the new facility. The second Huntsman Cancer Institute campus will support workforce development, training opportunities, and hands-on learning for the next generation of scientists and health care providers.
The Pan-Mass Challenge made a $69M gift to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This gift brings the PMC’s total contribution to the fight against cancer to $900 million since 1980 and is the largest single donation Dana-Farber has ever received. The gift will be used to accelerate innovation in cancer research, clinical trials, and treatment. A majority of the dollars raised by PMC riders are unrestricted, which allows Dana-Farber to utilize at their discretion to support vital research and treatment trials that may have otherwise gone unfunded. In recent years, PMC funding has supported Dana-Farber researchers in leading clinical trials that resulted in the first CAR T-cell therapies approved by the FDA for indolent follicular lymphoma and multiple myeloma, a major milestone for patients with these cancers.
The Mount Sinai Health System announced a $60M gift from James S. and Merryl H. Tisch to establish the Mount Sinai Tisch Cancer Center. This gift supports the construction of a modern, state-of-the-art cancer hospital at the Mount Sinai Hospital campus. The Center will broaden access to breakthrough therapies, diagnostics, and clinical trials and will further Mount Sinai’s mission to provide advanced, personalized treatment and holistic care for patients in all communities. The new Tisch Cancer Hospital will consist of four floors with approximately 20 single-bed rooms on each floor. There will also be a series of innovative clinical spaces designed to ease transitions between various stages of treatment. The hospital is expected to be completed by 2025.
City of Hope has received a $50 million gift from Lennar Foundation towards the organization’s campaign to develop and operate a comprehensive cancer campus in Irvine and establish an Orange County network of advanced cancer care and research that will speed groundbreaking treatments directly to a community with growing needs. The future Orange County facility will bring cancer care, pioneering research, and lifesaving treatments to the county’s 3.2 million residents.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (announced the establishment of The Starr Foundation Program for Discovery Science, an initiative made possible by a $50M gift from The Starr Foundation. The program will support the work of scientists at the Sloan Kettering Institute, the research arm of Memorial Sloan Kettering, by funding foundational laboratory research that will drive the next generation of cancer breakthroughs and ultimately improve the lives of people facing cancer around the world.
Peter and Danialle Karmanos donated $40M to the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit. The money will be used in a variety of ways, but the focus will be on key research, including immunotherapy, and working with the best researchers around the world to help build up immunity in cancer patients.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center today announced the creation of The Marie-Josée Kravis Center for Cancer Immunobiology (CCI), a hub for immunotherapy research that will elevate, centralize, and prioritize the full spectrum of immuno-oncology research across the institution. The CCI, made possible by a $40M gift from Henry R. Kravis to honor the visionary leadership of his wife, Marie-Josée Kravis, Vice Chair of the MSK Board of Trustees, will establish a strategic research infrastructure that will unite MSK scientists and physicians to further accelerate immunotherapy treatments for people with cancer.
A $25M anonymous philanthropic gift to Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey will provide support for the Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence. This donation will support faculty recruitment, shared resource development, and cancer research to help scientists better understand the human immune response to cancer and ultimately develop the foundation for new treatments or make existing therapies more effective. The gift also supports the recruitment of a co-director to lead the center, as well as additional new faculty.
Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation is pleased to announce that Helena Theurer has given $25M to advance cancer research and transform clinical care at John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center. The 9-story state-of-the-art facility includes 24 new operating rooms with advanced diagnostics including MRIs and CT scans; 150 medical/surgical private patient rooms and a 50-bed Orthopedic Institute. The project will span over a public roadway, providing connections to an existing parking garage, the Heart and Vascular Institute and the existing main hospital. As part of the new design, new lobby and valet drop-off will create a dedicated entrance for the critical care and surgical pavilion.
Chris and Lisa Jeffries donated $25M to Henry Ford Health System to accelerate the growth and expansion of Henry Ford’s Precision Medicine program, with the ultimate goal of creating a Precision Health Center. The efforts will have a robust focus on the advancement of cancer research and treatment, while also expanding to other medical specialties treating behavioral health, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. This gift will significantly bolster Henry Ford’s translational research, which allows the most innovative discoveries in the laboratory to be translated into new treatments for patients more quickly than ever before.
The Brian and Sheila Jellison Family Foundation donated $25M to Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation to help advance the mission of Sarasota Memorial’s Cancer Institute. In recognition of the gift, the Cancer Institute will now be known as the Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute, including the 8-story oncology tower now rising on the hospital’s main campus. Additionally, an existing outpatient radiation oncology center, and all future buildings and services that are part of the Cancer Institute, also will bear the Jellison name.
The $25M gift from Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine establishes a dedicated fund for preventative cancer therapy research and endows three chairs to form the Lavine Family Chairs for Preventative Cancer Therapies. This gift will enable Dana-Farber to invest in dedicated research to life-saving preventative cancer research. Through the Lavine Family Chairs for Preventative Cancer Therapies, three researchers will be able to dedicate resources to investigating precursor conditions, immunotherapies and other potential prevention therapies. This gift will also help researchers develop new methods of early detection and enhance the ability of doctors to identify and test for early-stage cancers.
A $25M gift from Almudena and Pablo Legorreta advances a plan to transform Brown University’s recently launched cancer center into a world-class cancer center located in Rhode Island. The gift will rename the Cancer Center at Brown University, established in 2020 to build on the strengths of the Joint Program in Cancer Biology at Brown and Lifespan, as the Legorreta Cancer Center. It will also position the center to work toward National Cancer Institute designation. NCI designation recognizes centers across the nation that meet rigorous standards for state-of-the-art research focused on developing new approaches to preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer. The investment in the center will enable its leaders to recruit world-class physician-scientists, leading investigators and other experts, launch pilot research projects, and build an infrastructure that includes the expertise, equipment and support to bring basic science discoveries, new technologies, and other innovations to clinical therapies and interventions to patients facing cancer diagnoses.
Houston Methodist received a $25M philanthropic gift from Dr. Mary and Ron Neal to expand the hospital system’s cancer center. This commitment supports critical areas including translational research, attracting and retaining physician scientists focused on pioneering new cancer treatments, and expanding the cancer center’s impact within the Greater Houston community and beyond. In recognition, the Houston Methodist Cancer Center will be renamed the Houston Methodist Dr. Mary and Ron Neal Cancer Center. This gift also funds and retains three endowed chairs and corresponding research funds for early-stage investigative research and therapies, support recruitment and fellowship training, and expand the depth of clinical trials across all community hospitals within Houston Methodist. Another component of the gift is dedicated to ongoing cancer innovation efforts within the Center for Drug Repositioning and Development (CREDO).
City of Hope received a $25M gift from Julia and George Argyros to advance City of Hope’s mission to deliver world-renowned research, treatment, and cancer cures to Orange County. In recognition of the family’s gift, Argyros Family Garden of Hope is named in their honor.
Henry and Susan Samueli donated $25M to Israel’s Beilinson Medical Center, which was additionally matched with a $9M of funding from the hospital’s owner, Clalit Health Services, to create a holistic cancer treatment institute, which is meant to both treat patients and perform research. The Samuelis donation to create the Samueli Integrative Cancer Pioneering Institute will go primarily to funding research, with the goal that the findings will be shared around the world.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) El Paso received a $25M gift from Steve Fox and family. The donation supports clinical trials, research, and recruitment of physicians, nurses, and researchers. TTUHSC El Paso plans to name the new cancer center “Steve and Nancy Fox Cancer Center” to honor the Fox family for their gift.
Following decades of philanthropic commitment, the University of California Irvine Health Cancer Center received a $20M gift toward expanding access to cancer care. The gift from Chao family will be renamed as the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Ambulatory Care at the new UCI Medical Center in Irvine.
Swedish Cancer Institute announced a $20M personal bequest from the late philanthropist Paul G. Allen. The gift supports the establishment of the Paul G. Allen Research Center at Swedish Cancer Institute. The center will support next-generation research programs that combine advances in biomedical sciences with innovation in cancer treatment, technology and computer science to transform our understanding of cancer, how to treat it and ultimately, how to prevent it from ever occurring. The program will be driven by a combination of tremendous amounts of clinical and genomic data and various treatment responses. One data point can tell us very little; however, when it’s combined with similar numbers from tens of thousands of data from other patients over time, patterns will emerge and potentially unlock the secrets of how cancer forms and grows, as well as reveal new, more effective ways to treat it.
John Muir Health has received a $20M donation from the Behring Global Educational Foundation and will use the gift for the Behring Pavilion, the home of the future UCSF-John Muir Health Cancer Center. The new 155,000-square-foot building is at John Muir Health’s Walnut Creek Medical Center campus. It is expected to offer cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care coordination in one facility provided by top cancer specialists who are teaming up for patients as part of the UCSF-John Muir Health Cancer Network. Patients will also have access to clinical trials and receive extensive support through nurse navigator and survivorship programs, genetic counseling, cancer nutrition and more as part of a comprehensive cancer care program.
An $18M commitment from the Simms/Mann Family Foundation creates the Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, which supports UCLA’s expansion of integrative psychosocial care for people with cancer and their families into communities throughout Southern California. The gift to UCLA Health will fund an endowment to sustain and expand the Simms/Mann–UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, which provides psychosocial care to patients and families dealing with the emotional, psychological, and physical burdens of cancer and its treatment. The commitment will also create the Simms/Mann Family Foundation Chair in Integrative Oncology, which will be held by the center’s medical director. $6M of the foundation’s gift is set aside for matching funds to encourage further support for the center.
Moffitt Cancer Center received a $15M gift from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation supporting investments in proton therapy. Proton therapy is used to treat a growing number of different cancers, but it is especially impactful when treating areas where cancerous lesions are close to other vital structures and organs. Using protons minimizes damage to healthy tissue surrounding a cancerous lesion, impacting only the targeted area. Moffitt Cancer Center will explore a new proton system, FLASH, a technology that allows radiation treatment to be delivered at ultra-high dose rates.
David Jonas donated $10M to the University of Chicago Medicine, establishing the David and Etta Jonas Center for Cellular Therapy at UChicago Medicine, named for his late wife, Etta. The center unites a team of experts dedicated to improving cellular therapy, especially T-cell treatments like CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell therapy, an emerging form of cancer treatment. The Jonas family’s gift will provide essential funding to advance research initiatives, while also putting in place the necessary infrastructure to sustain a successful research enterprise in the years to come.
Shelly Schwarz donated $10M to Indiana University Health, establishing the Joe and Shelly Schwarz Cancer Center at IU Health North Hospital in honor of her late husband, Joe. The Joe and Shelly Schwarz Cancer Center will make it possible for more people to access the care offered by IU Health. Under one roof, the center will offer radiation oncology spaces and infusion rooms, plus support services including a pharmacy and laboratory. Also planned is an Integrative Health and Wellness Center to offer programs including art, music, and yoga that benefit patients and their caregivers.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center announced a $10M gift to the James P. Allison Institute from the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation and Andrew “Andy” Sabin, a senior member of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors (BOV). The gift is the philanthropist’s second multimillion-dollar commitment to MD Anderson in less than 10 years. Funds from the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation’s gift will support the Allison Institute in two ways: first, by recruiting and retaining elite talent, including world-renowned scientists who will serve as core members, associate members and scholars; and second, by aiding the post-doctoral program and fellows.
The Wistar Institute announces that Ellen and Ronald Caplan have donated $10M to Wistar’s National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Center, which will be renamed the Ellen and Ronald Caplan Cancer Center of The Wistar Institute. The newly envisioned Ellen and Ronald Caplan Cancer Center will help transform the prevention and treatment of cancer by advancing fundamental and translational research into next-generation therapeutics. This will involve expansive recruitment of new leaders in cancer research focusing on key areas of treatment resistance, metabolic and cellular reprogramming, cancer systems biology and personalized anticancer strategies.
Central Bank donated $10M to support expanded patient care that the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center supporting a new outpatient cancer treatment center and an advanced ambulatory complex. The gift supports the development and building of the new complex, including structured parking as well as space for services such as outpatient operating rooms, procedures rooms, diagnostics and imaging services, pharmacy and lab services and room for meetings and support services.
A $10M gift from the Abramson Family Foundation will help ensure Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center remains on the leading edge of cancer research and care. In recognition of the gift, the lobby of the new Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania will be named in memory of the late Emeritus Trustee Madlyn K. Abramson who passed away in 2020.