New gifts in 2014 Propel Children’s Research Institute into the Next Phase of Discovery

October 2015

Because of the foresight and generosity of several of Dallas’ leading foundations and families, more than $20 million was committed to Children’s Medical Center Foundation in 2014 for the benefit of the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI).

Recent gifts to the CRI have set fundraising records. The largest donation for research in Children’s history was made in 2014 by the Hamon Charitable Foundation ($15 million on top of a previous $10 million gift in 2012 for the CRI). Additionally, the Moody Foundation contributed a second multimillion gift of $2.7 million for recruitment and equipment; Dr. Rolf and Ute Schwarz Haberecht committed $2 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 System of Texas president and CEO 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 and individuals 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 Communities Foundation of Texas. Other major contributors through December 2014 include 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, the Eugene McDermott Foundation, the estate of Eddie Alexander and the Morton Feldman Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Montgomery, and Donna S. and Robert A. Chereck, among others.

Dr. Morrison serves as director of the CRI and leads his own award-winning programs 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 8 to 15 scientists. In just three years (2012-2014), he has already recruited five superstar leaders and 66 staff scientists, who are collectively generating $7.7 million per year in peer-reviewed external grants to assure the CRI’s continued growth.

These latest gifts 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 families and 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.

“Quite simply, the world will be a better place because of what these gifts will make possible.”


Jake and Nancy Hamon are Dallas legends. Mr. Hamon was an 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 Foundation has donated similar amounts to UT Southwestern for complementary research programs.


The Moody Foundation’s initial support of 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, will expand the Institute’s research capabilities through the purchase of additional specialized equipment and by providing 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 CRI is a special interest of Frances A. Moody-Dahlberg of Dallas, the greatgranddaughter of the founders and one of the three trustees. Other Moody Foundation officers are Robert L. Moody and Ross R. Moody.


Longtime benefactors of science and medicine in the Southwestern Medical District, Dr. Rolf and Ute Schwarz Haberecht have committed $2 million to Children’s Medical Center Foundation through a charitable gift annuity. They have a special interest in supporting innovative science and graduate education and have fostered many early-stage research projects in these areas. The couple immigrated from Germany after World War II, and Dr. Haberecht began his 22-year career at Texas Instruments, where he was corporate vice president responsible for TI’s worldwide semiconductor operations. He subsequently founded the successful start-up high-tech company VLSIP Technologies in 1984. He has served on the board of Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern Board of Visitors. The couple received the Charles Cameron Sprague Community Service Award from Southwestern Medical Foundation in 2012 in recognition of their extraordinary impact on the Dallas medical and scientific community.


The Lupe Murchison Foundation has contributed $300,000 to the CRI’s Genetic and Metabolic Disease Program, which is directed by Dr. Ralph DeBerardinis. Earlier gifts of more than $1 million to Children’s Medical Center Foundation from the Murchison Foundation funded the stem cell transplantation program and the foster care intervention initiative. The Murchison Foundation has had a longstanding interest in medical research and education as evidenced by a $1.5 million gift in 2008 to UT Southwestern’s Endowed Scholars Program in Medical Science. 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 Health and UT Southwestern.

“Without the support of the community, we could not do what we do,” said Dr. Morrison. “We would not be able to compete with the best institutions in the country to try to bring the best scientists to Dallas. Our gratitude for the community’s faith in our work is profound.”


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