A Job Well Done

August 9, 2011

Dean Robert Alpern: 333 Cedar Street

333 Cedar Street is a monthly letter from Dean Robert J. Alpern, MD, Ensign Professor of Medicine, on topics of interest to the Yale School of Medicine community. Write to Dean Alpern at 333cedar@yale.edu.

The Yale >> Tomorrow campaign raised $783 million for the School of Medicine, funds that will further the school's missions of research, education, and advanced clinical care. It wouldn't have been possible without you.

To the School of Medicine Community,

Last month President Levin announced the successful completion of the Yale >> Tomorrow campaign, which raised a record $3.881 billion for the university, including $783 million for the School of Medicine. This fundraising effort was the largest in Yale’s history, and it exceeded its original $3 billion goal by more than $800 million, at a time when the university, its supporters, and the nation as a whole weathered a number of significant challenges, including the global economic downturn. The efforts of alumni, friends, corporations, and foundations—with the enormous support of faculty and staff and the rest of the YSM community—have made a major difference for the future of the school.

In 2006 we set a campaign goal of $750 million for the School of Medicine and identified specific opportunities for donors interested in supporting the educational, scientific, and clinical activities of our faculty. I am pleased to say that giving to the campaign has exceeded our expectations, both in the dollar total and in the level of enthusiasm shown by donors and supporters, which has been extraordinary. A key goal of the campaign was to increase the medical school’s endowment. Endowment funds are significant because the income that these gifts generate provides a secure annual income stream for designated programs and permanently supports a variety of endeavors at the medical school. I am pleased to report that more than $175 million was committed for this purpose, increasing the medical school’s endowment to $1.789 billion.

Funds raised during the campaign are fueling progress in many areas, including the following:

  • Facilities: Thanks to a transformative gift by Joel and Joan Smilow and to the contributions of many others who recognized the need for better cancer facilities, October 2009 saw the opening of Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. Additional contributions from United Technologies Corporation and Louis and Debbie Chênevert also support cancer care at Smilow, especially pediatric oncology.
  • Faculty support: The campaign resulted in seven new Yale Scholar endowments, which provide support for outstanding junior faculty beginning their academic careers. Donors to this important program include Henry McCance; Donald McCluskey; the late Robert McNeil Jr.; the family of William Orthwein and the Orthwein Foundation; and Frank and Lois Top. The campaign also saw the endowment of 17 new named professorships, which honor and support the work of established faculty members. Donors included Glenn Greenberg; the late Robert McNeil Jr.; Maurice Polayes; Karen Pritzker and Michael Vlock; the family of Audrey Ratner; Ari Ritvo and the late Alan Slifka; Richard Sackler and Jonathan Sackler; David and Jean Wallace; and the family of William Ziegler III. The school now recognizes 110 faculty members with endowed chairs.
  • Support for education: The generosity of the Cavanagh family led to the creation of a reproductive health track within the curriculum, while other gifts are supporting the continued success and operation of HAVEN, a student-led Saturday morning free clinic for Fair Haven residents, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this month.
  • Research support: Here the impact is both broad and deep. Campaign gifts were made by the Yale College Class of 1961 for cancer research as part of their 50th reunion celebration; a new brain tumor research center was funded by Mehmet Kutman; studies of the genetic basis of dyslexia were supported by the Manton Foundation; autism research received support from the Simons Foundation; neurodegenerative disease and spinal cord repair research were funded by the Falk Trust and by an anonymous donor; orthopaedics received support from Michael Cummings, MD ’65, and Susan Cummings; and stem cell research received support from the Ellison Medical Research Foundation, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, the Lo Family, and the Mathers Foundation, which also supported cell biology research. The coming months will also see continued implementation of new programs made possible by philanthropy, such as the support from the Gilead Foundation for the new Cancer Biology Institute on West Campus and the Kavli Foundation’s increased funding of the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience at Yale.
  • Scholarships: More than $12 million in 27 new endowed scholarships will support the education of students at the School of Medicine. This generosity by donors, including bequests from YSM alumni John Borowy, MD ’50, and Nicholas Spinelli, MD ’44, and outright gifts from Sanfurd Bluestein, MD ’46, and our own Jim Jamieson, MD, PhD, director of the MD/PhD Program, will go a very long way toward enabling talented students to pursue careers in medicine and biomedical science.

The success of this fundraising effort would not have been possible without the concerted efforts of many, many individuals at Yale, notably our campaign volunteers, development officers and staff, medical school and other Yale alumni, and our faculty. Our faculty’s involvement in the campaign was reflected in gifts from every donor constituency. Faculty members’ relationships with alumni, both of the medical school and the broader university, made a significant difference in inspiring these donors to contribute to the school. Clinical faculty, alert to grateful patients and families, introduced individuals to important institutional needs that would benefit from private philanthropy. And faculty spent numerous hours meeting with corporate and foundation donors, sharing information about many areas of outstanding research at the school, explaining how gift funds can be used in research, and working with the development office to craft compelling requests for support.

Fundraising will continue of course, even though the campaign is over. There were a number of priority areas not addressed by the campaign, and we are continually identifying the need for support for new initiatives that further our core missions. Therefore, I encourage faculty and staff to remain alert to opportunities to match the interests and passions of potential donors with areas of institutional need and to stay in touch with Jancy Houck and her team in the Office of Development.

Once again, to the many people who contributed their time and resources to the Yale >> Tomorrow campaign, I offer my sincere thanks and congratulations.

Sincerely,

Dean Robert J. Alpern, MD

Ensign Professor of Medicine