Moody Foundation Awards $12 Million to Children’s Health To Support Transformative Medical Research
October 25, 2017
Pivotal eight-figure gift will establish a prestigious faculty scholar program at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern
The Moody Foundation has made a $12 million gift to Children’s Health. This one-of-a-kind gift will establish a prestigious faculty scholar program designed to attract the world’s top scientists to Dallas to work alongside other researchers at Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) and will fuel their research for the next decade.
The commitment from the Moody Foundation provides for an immediate $5 million gift to create a new Robert L. Moody, Sr., Faculty Scholar endowment, which will support the research of a leading scientist in CRI. In addition, the Moody Foundation will fund world-class medical research at CRI for at least 10 years with a distribution of $700,000 or more every year.
This latest gift from the Moody Foundation brings the organization’s total funding for CRI and Children’s Health to more than $17 million, placing it among the top 10 largest cumulative donors to Children’s Health in the system’s 104-year history. The Moody Foundation has provided two earlier gifts for CRI totaling $5.35 million in support of faculty recruitment and the purchase of specialized equipment for the Moody Foundation Flow Cytometry Facility.
“We are deeply honored by this generous gift from the Moody Foundation that will accelerate our ability to make discoveries that improve the diagnosis and treatment of disease in children,” said Dr. Sean Morrison, director of CRI and principal investigator of the Hamon Laboratory for Stem Cell and Cancer Biology. He is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, professor in CRI and of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and holder of the Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics, and the Kathryne and Gene Bishop Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research at Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern.
Founded in 1942 by William L. Moody Jr. and his wife, Libbie Shearn Moody, the Foundation has since donated more than $1.4 billion in grants across the state for the perpetual benefit of present and future Texans. The Foundation is now led by three Moody descendants – Frances Moody-Dahlberg, Ross R. Moody and Elizabeth Moody.
“With this gift, we hope to increase the impact of the Children’s Research Institute and attract the most brilliant scientists and researchers from around the globe to North Texas,” said Ms. Moody-Dahlberg, chairman and executive director of the Moody Foundation. “Most importantly, we treasure the idea that our support of top scholars and future research might play a small role in healing and saving the lives of many children.”
The first Robert L. Moody, Sr., Faculty Scholar will be Dr. Ralph DeBerardinis, director of CRI’s Genetic and Metabolic Disease (GMD) Program and professor in CRI. He is also a professor in the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development, and of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern, where he is chief of Pediatric Genetics and Metabolism. Dr. DeBerardinis is an attending physician in the Division of Pediatric Genetics and Metabolism at Children’s Health; holds the Joel B. Steinberg, M.D., Chair in Pediatrics; is a Sowell Family Scholar in Medical Research; and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar. It was announced in September that Dr. DeBerardinis will receive a prestigious Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute. CRI’s GMD Program is taking innovative approaches to improve the diagnosis and treatment of metabolic diseases in children. The DeBerardinis laboratory has also pioneered the ability to study cancer metabolism in patients and discovered that cancer cells use different fuels than expected. This work is providing new strategies for treating cancer by exploiting metabolic differences between cancer cells and normal cells.
“Given the established track records of these scientists for finding the pathways to medical breakthroughs, the Moody investment will benefit countless generations yet to come, especially in our relentless pursuit of the discovery of tomorrow’s treatments,” said Christopher J. Durovich, president and CEO of Children’s Health. “Driven by our mission to make life better for children, we are focused on the next generation of health care – discovering, evaluating, applying and distributing new knowledge, science and research. This generous gift will help us achieve our mission and remain a world-class institution.”
Brent Christopher, president of Children’s Medical Center Foundation, concurred: “This is an extraordinary gift. We’ve had a long-standing relationship with the Moody Foundation, and we’re inspired by this powerful collaboration with one of Texas’ most revered philanthropic families.
“Permanent, private philanthropic support like this is an invaluable tool for these researchers. It is a unique, reliable resource for proven scientists who are at the top of their game and will launch them into their next phase of life-changing discoveries.”
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