$35 Million Received from Texas Foundations to Propel Children's Research Institute Into Next Phase of Discoveries

September 01, 2016 - Promise Magazine

Because of the Foresight and Generosity of Several Leading Foundations, More Than $35 Million Has Recently Been Committed to Children’s Medical Center Foundation to Catapult The Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) Into a Leader in Pediatric Research.

By Heidi Harris Cannella

Record-setting donations were given by the Hamon Charitable Foundation ($15 million on top of a previous $10 million gift in 2012 for the CRI) and the Pogue Family Foundation ($10 million in addition to $10 million for other programs at Children’s Health). Additionally, the Moody Foundation has contributed a second multimillion gift of $2.7 million for recruitment and equipment; the Hoblitzelle Foundation has pledged $2 million; the Once Upon a Time Foundation has given $2 million; the Constantin Foundation has provided $1.55 million; the Pfeil Foundation has committed $1 million; the Pollock Foundation has made donations totaling $1 million; and the Lupe Murchison Foundation has given $300,000.

“To say we are humbled and inspired by these tremendous gifts is an understatement,” said Children’s Health CEO and president Christopher J. Durovich. “The Children’s Research Institute and its director, Dr. Sean Morrison, are revolutionizing the future of pediatric medicine, the impact of which has no boundaries. We are proud that these outstanding foundations in our community want to join the revolution.”

Launched in 2011, the CRI received its first major financial boosts in 2012 and 2013 with an initial $10 million gift from the Hamon Charitable Foundation and a $7.5 million commitment from the W.W. Caruth Jr. Foundation at the Communities Foundation of Texas. Other major contributors in previous years have included Rolf and Ute Schwarz Haberecht, Debbie and Ric Scripps, Dean Foods Foundation, Jerome T. and Patricia Flood Abbott Family Foundation, Emy Lou and Jerry Baldridge, Alison and Mark Weinzierl, Kathryne and Gene Bishop, Dr. and Mrs. Henry Estess, McDermott Foundation, estate of Eddie Alexander and the Morton Feldman Family Foundation, Beth and Thomas A. Montgomery, Donna S. and Robert A. Chereck, S.T. Harris family, Mr. and Mrs. Doyle D. Glass, and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, among others.

Quite simply, the world will be a better place because of what these gifts will make possible. – Dr. Kern Wildenthal

Dr. Morrison serves as director of the CRI and leads his own award-winning research program in the Hamon Laboratory for Stem Cell and Cancer Biology. As CRI director, he oversees an enterprise that is fulfilling the ambitious goal of recruiting 15 principal investigators, each overseeing labs of eight to 15 scientists. In just four years (2012– 2014), he has already recruited six outstanding faculty members and 66 staff scientists, who are collectively generating $8 million per year in peer-reviewed external grants to leverage the philanthropic gifts it receives and maximize the impact on biomedical research.

The recent gifts from the Hamon, Pogue, Moody, Hoblitzelle, Once Upon a Time, Constantin, Pfeil, Pollock and Murchison foundations will move the CRI from its formative years into its mature years, said Children’s Medical Center Foundation president Dr. Kern Wildenthal.

“We are tremendously grateful to these Texas foundations for propelling the CRI into even greater international prominence,” said Dr. Wildenthal, who serves as president emeritus of UT Southwestern in addition to his role at Children’s. “These funds will ensure that the CRI will be among the world’s leaders in finding new treatments and cures that have the potential to transform medicine.


Jake and Nancy Hamon are Dallas legends. Mr. Hamon was a leading independent oilman, and Mrs. Hamon was a Hollywood actress in the 1940s. After her husband’s death in 1985, Mrs. Hamon focused on her philanthropic passions: medicine, art and young people. Before her death in 2011, she gave more than $35 million to support UT Southwestern and Children’s Medical Center and an even greater amount to the arts in Dallas. The foundation to which she bequeathed the fortune made by her late husband, Jake, continues to fulfill their goal of improving life and health for others. In addition to its $25 million gifts for the CRI, the Hamon Charitable Foundation has donated similar amounts to UT Southwestern for complementary research programs.


The Pogue Family Foundation’s remarkable $10 million gift, which is dedicated to pediatric cancer research, doubles this foundation’s previous contributions to Children’s. In 2001 the Pogue family established the hospital’s Pogue Cardiac Catheterization Lab with a $3 million gift, and in 2008 a $5 million gift funded an endowment to support outstanding clinicians practicing at Children’s, as well as an expansion of the hospital’s Pulmonary Function Lab. In 2015, in addition to the foundation’s support of the CRI, Mack Pogue donated $2 million for speech therapy programs at Our Children’s House, in honor of his brother, Jack Pogue. In addition, the Pogue Family Foundation has been a longtime supporter of pediatric cardiology and pulmonary research at UT Southwestern, having committed $6 million to support the medical school’s pediatric leaders based at Children’s, as well as $7 million for Alzheimer’s disease research. Long involved in the Dallas community, Jean Pogue and her husband, Mack, who co-founded Lincoln Property in 1965 with Trammell Crow and has served as its longtime chairman and CEO, are passionate about supporting organizations that directly benefit children and medicine.


The Moody Foundation’s initial support to the CRI enabled the purchase of a state-of-the-art cell sorter and analyzer for the Moody Foundation Flow Cytometry Facility. The most recent $2.7 million gift, which brings the total Moody support for the CRI to $5.35 million, expands the Institute’s research capabilities through the purchase of additional specialized equipment and provides funding to aid the recruitment of an additional leading scientist. The Moody Foundation was created for the perpetual benefit of present and future generations of Texans by William Lewis Moody Jr. and his wife, Libbie Shearn Moody of Galveston.


The Hoblitzelle Foundation’s $2 million commitment to the CRI will provide for the purchase of laboratory equipment, development of research capacity, and technology enhancements. The foundation has been one of UT Southwestern’s and Children’s foremost supporters through the years, having given many major gifts to support faculty recruitment, research programs and new construction. Mr. Karl Hoblitzelle, who was a co-founder of Southwestern Medical Foundation, donated the land that became the site of the first Southwestern Medical School buildings, including acreage that was conveyed to Children’s Medical Center in the 1960s, when the hospital moved to its new home adjacent to the school. Mr. Hoblitzelle was the founder of Interstate Amusement Co., which included the Majestic Theatre, as well as a director and chairman of the board of Republic National Bank for decades. “


“Once Upon A Time…” is a Fort Worth-based foundation whose gift for the CRI will support Dr. Morrison’s innovative research on melanoma therapy in the glycosides that alter ion transport, as well as research on genetic metabolic diseases under the direction of Dr. Ralph DeBerardinis. The foundation has previously funded clinical-service projects in emergency medicine and neurology, a hospitalist program at UT Southwestern and an endowed professorship in pediatric neurologic diseases. The foundation’s latest gifts to Children’s bring its total contributions since 2002 to Southwestern Medical District affiliates to more than $6.2 million. The foundation also supports organizations focused on the arts and humanities, community affairs, human services and education, particularly in Fort Worth.


The Constantin Foundation’s gifts to the CRI are being used to support cancer and stemcell research under Dr. Morrison. A longtime, loyal supporter of Children’s Medical Center, the foundation made a multiyear $5 million commitment in 2009 to enable the recruitment of a medical director and associated staff members for the Stem Cell Transplantation Program in the Pauline and Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. The foundation was started by oilman Eugene Constantin and his wife, Ruth, in 1947, shortly after the death of their only son.


Mr. and Mrs. David Pfeil and the Pfeil Foundation are longtime supporters of Children’s Medical Center. The foundation’s earliest gifts were for the new Plano hospital. Two gifts for $200,000 each were designated for laser surgery enhancements in the operating suites at the Plano facility in 2011 and 2013. Their new $1 million pledge to support the CRI doubles the Pfeil Foundation’s total giving to the medical center. Mr. Pfeil is the founder and former owner of Southwest Consulting Associates, which he sold in 2013, and Kelly Pfeil is the president and founder of ArrowInno, which provides consultation in food and beverage new product design.


The Pollock Foundation, a significant supporter of both cancer and gastrointestinal research at UT Southwestern, has turned its attention to the CRI with multiyear commitments totaling $1 million. Lawrence Pollock Jr., former chairman of the board of Pollock Investments, served on the board of University Medical Center Inc. while Zale Lipshy University Hospital was being constructed. His wife, Shirley Pollock, who died in 2008, expressed her wish to do something meaningful in medical research in honor of her husband, who died of cancer in 2000. Additionally, scholarship support in her name continues to benefit young medical students. Current trustees of the Pollock Foundation are Robert G. Pollock, Lawrence S. Pollock III and Richard R. Pollock.


The Lupe Murchison Foundation has contributed $300,000 to the CRI’s Genetic and Metabolic Disease Program, which is directed by Dr. Ralph DeBerardinis. The Murchison Foundation has had a longstanding interest in medical research and education as evidenced by pledges in 2008 of $1.5 million to UT Southwestern’s Endowed Scholars Program in Medical Science and $1 million to Children’s bone marrow stem cell transplantation program, as well as numerous other six-figure donations. The foundation was established in 2001, the year Mrs. Murchison died. A Texas arts patron and civic leader, she was the widow of John D. Murchison, co-owner of the Dallas Cowboys for more than two decades. She and her foundation have made major donations to the University of North Texas, where she served as a Regent for 18 years, as well as to Children’s and UT Southwestern.

“Without the support of the community, we could not do what we do,” said Dr. Morrison, who holds the Kathryne and Gene Bishop Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research at Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern and the Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics. He is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Scholar in Cancer Research. “We would not be able to compete with the best institutions in the country to bring the best scientists to Dallas. We are grateful for the leadership and foresight of the Dallas community and their investments in the future of biomedical research.”


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