In 2012 the Hamon Charitable Foundation donated $10 million to help endow the new Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern. It was the second-largest gift ever made to Children's and represented a major step toward fulfilling Children's commitment to raise $150 million in endowment support plus $50 million for constructing and equipping the new initiative, which is led by Dr. Sean Morrison.
In recognition of the Hamon gift, Dr. Morrison's laboratory was named the Hamon Laboratory for Stem Cell and Cancer Biology. Dr. Morrison, w ho holds the Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics at UT Southwestern Medical Center, is considered a pioneer in his field. He is leading a team of world-class researchers on a mission to advance the understanding and treatment of cancer, birth defects and metabolic diseases.
Jake Hamon was a pioneer, too. In the first half of the 20th century, he explored the Permian Basin to discover oil w here others had failed to find it. Out of his determination and insight came great financial success. After he married Nancy Hamon, a San Antonio native and Hollywood film actress, in 1949, Dallas became the center of their lives and civic activities. After Mr. Hamon's death in 1985, Mrs. Hamon became one of Dallas' most generous philanthropists.
Between 1990 and 2007, she gave more than $30 million to UT Southwestern, among many other beneficiaries. Mrs. Hamon died in 2011. In addition to contributions during her lifetime, in her will she provided $1 million each to UT Southwestern and Children's, while bequeathing the majority of her estate to the Hamon Charitable Foundation for later distribution under the guidance of individuals she trusted.
"UT Southwestern was fortunate to be the largest single beneficiary of her generosity during her life, with a major research building, two research centers, two distinguished chairs, a breast cancer treatment center (named after her friend, Dr. George Peters), and a student activities center (named after another friend, Dr. Bryan Williams) being among her many donations to the medical center," said Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of Children's Medical Center Foundation and president emeritus of UT Southwestern. "She will be remembered forever as one of the most influential and delightful supporters in the Southwestern Medical District's history."
Mrs. Hamon also gave generously to other institutions in Dallas and beyond, including - among many others - Southern Methodist University; Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts; the Dallas Opera; the Dallas Symphony; the Dallas Zoo; the African American Museum; Texas Ballet Theater; and California Pacific Medical Center and the de Young Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Her $10 million gift to the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation helped build an education and recital hall named in her honor, and a $20 million gift to the Dallas Museum of Art helped fund construction of the Nancy and Jake L. Hamon Building.
Also in 2012, Children's Medical Center honored many years of volunteer service and philanthropic contributions from Ric and Debbie Scripps by establishing the Scripps Society, a Friends group for people who have donated $1 million or more to the CRI.
Mr. and Mrs. Scripps have embodied the Children's mission "to make life better for children," through volunteerism, board leadership and financial contributions since 1982, the year Mrs. Scripps began volunteering on behalf of Children's patients.
In addition to their recent gift to help endow the CRI, the couple had made a seven-figure gift to the WePromise Campaign in 2002 to support renovation and construction at the medical center. Their generosity helped establish a dedicated neonatal intensive care unit, w hich w as named at the Scripps' request for former Children's CEO George Farr. The unit is now a level IV NICU, the highest level designation, and includes a full range of pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists and pediatric anesthesiologists on site.
Their 2002 gift also helped fund the purchase of new radiology equipment and created an endowment fund in support of Child Life.
Mr. and Mrs. Scripps both serve on the Children's Medical Center Foundation board, and Mrs. Scripps serves on the Executive Committee. She has previously served as chair of the board, as well as being president and a Lifetime member of the Women's Auxiliary to Children's Medical Center. She also is one of a group of "100 Women," each of w hom gave $10,000 to Children's as a 100th birthday present. Mr. Scripps has served as a trustee on various task force initiatives, including hosting potential physicians and their families w hen they have visited Dallas.
In 2007 Mr. and Mrs. Scripps received the Distinguished Service to Children's Award, given to those w ho have provided exemplary service to Children's and to our community's young patients.
In 2013 the W.W. Caruth Jr. Foundation of the Communities Foundation of Texas committed $7.5 million to be paid over 10 years to support faculty recruitment and start-up costs for new physicians and scientists in the Children's Research Institute. The gift established the W.W. Caruth Jr. Foundation Endowment for Children's Research Institute.
" Funding frontier-advancing projects in medical research was one of Will Caruth Jr.'s main focus areas w hen he set up the Caruth Foundation at CFT," said Bobby Lyle, chair of the Caruth Foundation grant committee. "CR l's vision to create a unique scientific environment that is dedicated to groundbreaking discoveries in pediatric medicine is directly in line w ith our mission."
William Walter Caruth Jr.'s philanthropic goals were to support frontier-advancing projects in public safety, education, and scientific and medical research. Throughout the past 20 years, the Caruth Foundation has awarded more than $100 million in grants, including an earlier grant of $5 million to Children's in 2004 to support innovative clinical research projects and $5 million in 1998 to UT Southwestern to endow a program to recruit a series of Caruth Scholars in Biomedical Science.
Mr. Caruth learned his philanthropic philosophy from his parents, Earle Clark Caruth and W.W. Caruth Sr., w hose plantation stretched from today's downtown Dallas to Forest Lane and from Inwood Road to east of White Rock Lake. Their contributions to the development of Dallas included the land for Southern Methodist University.
By buying land on his own or at fair market value from his parents' estate, the younger Mr. Caruth went on to build his fortune, and, then w ith his w ife, Mabel Peters Caruth, established his reputation as a philanthropist. On making a gift in 1951, he compared the importance of medical research w ith one of his development projects. " Inwood Village w ill be gone someday," he said, "but a vaccine for polio w ill live forever." He was just 39 w hen he began buying equipment for and making contributions to Southwestern Medical School.
In 1974 he established the W.W. Caruth Jr. Foundation. Working with the Communities Foundation of Texas, it has made numerous major distributions through the years. His four sons - Bill, John, George and Robert - also have made substantial contributions to the family foundation.
In 2013 the Moody Foundation granted $2.5 million to the Children's Medical Center Foundation for the CRI to renovate, staff and buy equipment for the Flow Cytometry Facility.
"Throughout our seven-decade history, the Moody Foundation has funded many medical projects," said Francie Moody-Dahlberg, executive director of the Moody Foundation. "We were very pleased to have an opportunity to support CR I. We think the enormous data analysis capabilities that the Flow Cytometry Lab provides will significantly enhance CRl's endeavors in far-reaching ways."
Flow cytometry is a powerful technology for investigating many aspects of cell biology. Flow cytometers are machines that can analyze and sort cells at extremely high rates. Their power comes primarily from their capability to analyze individual cells quantatatively, thus permitting the identification of subpopulations of cells. The machines are a combination of lasers and computers that analyze the molecules on the surface of cells as a way of assessing the cellular compositions of tissues and separating different kinds of cells based on the surface markers they express.
The facility is a shared resource available to scientists of CRI and UT Southwestern.
"We hope that the results of flow cytometryderived data will lead to breakthroughs in the understanding of cancer and, ultimately, to new therapies for many devastating childhood diseases," said Ms. Moody-Dahlberg.
The 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. The Foundation is now led by Moody descendants who emphasize ongoing foundation-initiated projects.
One the earliest donors to the CRI was the Dallas-based Dean Foods Foundation, which pledged $1.25 million over five years to establish a lead endowment to fund basic science, translational and clinical research initiatives. The commitment was the largest corporate gift for endowment in the history of Children's Medical Center Foundation and made the company the largest corporate partner, with total giving in excess of $2.5 million.
Dean Foods Co. established the Dean Foods Foundation in 2008 to strengthen the company's ability to provide strategic philanthropic support to national, regional and local organizations working in key focus areas - childhood nutrition, youth leadership, dairy stewardship and disaster relief.
"We hope this gift will help Children's explore the frontiers of science in the pursuit of causes and cures for numerous pediatric diseases," said Gregg Engles, chairman and CEO of Dean Foods Co. at the time of the gift and a member of Children's Medical Center's Board of Directors. "We support health and wellness every day through the nutritious products we make, and we share Children's commitment to kids and families.
"The Dean Foods Foundation is proud to partner with Children's Medical Center as it advances pediatric research and brings new medical discoveries to kids across North Texas and beyond for years to come."
The Constantin Foundation provided two gifts totaling $1.15 million in 2012 and 2013 to support the CRI and establish an endowment to fund cancer and stem cell research under the direction of Dr. Sean Morrison and his colleagues.
The Constantin Foundation has been a long-term, loyal supporter of Children's. The Foundation's $5 million commitment in 2009 enabled Dr. Andrew Koh to be recruited as medical director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Program in the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children's. As a result, that program is now accredited by the Foundation for Accreditation of Stem Cellular Therapy, the most prestigious form of peer review for bone marrow stem cell transplantation, and it is designated as a Center of Excellence. The reputation and capabilities of the Stem Cell Transplant Program at Children's have resulted in more young patients being referred to Children's for this highly specialized treatment.
Although stem cell transplants in pediatric cancer patients are often lifesaving, they are not universally successful and many fundamental questions remain regarding the mechanisms that regulate their function and determine their effectiveness. This new commitment from the Constantin Foundation will be used to further the understanding of stem cell biology, with the goal of improving cancer therapy.
The Constantin Foundation was started by oilman Eugene Constantin and his wife, Ruth, in 1947, shortly after the death of their only son. In addition to Children's, it has provided significant support over the years to UT Southwestern, the University of Dallas, and other groups involved in the care of children and education, including the YMCA Camp Grady Spruce and the Boy Scouts' Camp Constantin at Possum Kingdom Lake.
In 2013 Patricia "Pete" and Jerry Abbott made a $1 million commitment to the Children's Medical Center Foundation to create an endowment for the CRI.
The couple has a passion for supporting Children's. A $1 million gift in 2009 made the vision of a chapel at the Children's at Legacy campus a reality. The Abbott Chapel and Godly Play Room were dedicated in a ceremony attended by Pete and Jerry Abbott and more than a dozen of their children and grandchildren.
The Abbotts formed their Foundation more than a decade ago, but their family business goes back even further. Jerry Abbott became a pioneering force in the label industry through the growth and success of Metro Label, a company he bought in 1978. For 20 years, the company grew exponentially with established manufacturing plants in Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago and New Jersey. Soon after he sold the company in 1998, his son, John Abbott, started Abbott Label in Dallas. Jerry Abbott now serves as director of the company.
Both men contend that the success of their businesses have been founded on loyalty - reciprocally with their employees, many of whom have been with the company for 30 years, as well as from their customers. It is this sense of community, the company's "big heart," that inspires their giving.
"My wife and I have always had a concern about the future," Jerry Abbott said. "We see no better way to have an effect than to invest in research. It is something we can do to carry on God's work and help our children, grandchildren and our friends."
Inspired by Dr. Sean Morrison's vision to take innovative approaches to make transformative discoveries, Erny Lou and Jerry Baldridge's $1 million gift to the Children's Medical Center Foundation for the CRI has kickstarted a study to develop new techniques for studying stem cell metabolism.
The project that intrigued them involves assessing the extent to which stem cells are metabolically different from other types of cells. The insights from this study could lead to new ways of promoting the regeneration of damaged tissues and to more effective ways of treating cancer.
"When we heard about what the Children's Research Institute could accomplish, the potential there seemed so great that we felt compelled to donate and say, 'Go for it,"' Mrs. Baldridge said.
The Baldridges have supported Children's since 1998, and this gift is their largest donation to the hospital. Mrs. Baldridge also is one of "100 Women," who each gave $10,000 to Children's in 2013 as a 100th birthday present.
"We believe that the Institute will ultimately push the frontiers of pediatric medicine," said Mr. Baldridge, who is the founder and chairman of Republic Energy, a privately held oil and gas company that specializes in the acquisition and development of low- to medium-risk oil and gas prospects.
Before founding Republic Energy, he owned Sportpages, a mail order catalog, and General Recreation Inc., a company that made and marketed products such as ski wear, sporting shotguns and camping equipment.
Mrs. Baldridge is a child advocate and founding chairwoman of Community Partners of Dallas and Greater Texas Community Partners, two organizations that aid abused and neglected children. She has served on the boards of the Dallas AfterSchool Network and TexProtects.
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