Three faculty members at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital were recently awarded more than $326,000 from Today’s and Tomorrow’s Children Fund (TTCF) to support new research related to serious pediatric medical conditions. TTCF members each commit a minimum of $5,000 annually, then have the opportunity to view presentations and vote on how to distribute their collective funding. All award winners submit progress reports to TTCF, as they launch innovative projects and collect the data necessary to apply for new grants, thus magnifying the impact of the donations. Ellen Sandler, co-chair of TTCF and a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, says, “The members provide seed funding to enable young investigators to take promising ideas to the next level.” The group’s goal, she says, is to increase membership to 200 and to award $1 million annually. “Private philanthropists need to step up and fill in the gap created by state and federal budget cuts.” To join TTCF, please visit: www.uclahealth.org/Mattel/ttcf
The Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation received gifts totaling $1.9 million from the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) during the 2009-10 fiscal year. EIF has a long history of supporting clinical/translational cancer research at UCLA. Its recent contributions will advance high-priority women’s-cancer and colorectal-cancer projects under the direction of Dr. Dennis Slamon.
The Furlotti Family Foundation has pledged $200,000 over two years to support the integration of the UCLA Family Development Project into Olive View-UCLA Medical Center under the leadership of Dr. Christoph Heinicke. Thanks to the foundation’s commitment, the project has achieved remarkable success in serving at-risk children with first-time mothers at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.
Michael Gene Gaston, who received his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA, designated the UCLA Brain Research Institute as the sole beneficiary of his estate. As of September 2010, the BRI has received total distributions of $895,940 from the Gaston Trust to the Michael Gene Gaston Fund for Brain Research under the direction of Dr. Christopher J. Evans. Dr. Gaston’s personal friends, Mr. Leonard A. Hampel, Jr. (UCLA Law School alumnus ’64) and Mr. Ulrich H. Eckel (UCLA College alumnus ’63), were instrumental in facilitating this generous bequest to UCLA. Mr. Hampel also donated $78,000 to the BRI in memory of Dr. Gaston for the same purpose.
The Marilyn Hilton MS Achievement Center at UCLA is a collaborative program offered by the UCLA Department of Neurology and the Southern California Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The center, which is named for Barron Hilton’s wife, who passed away in 2004, emphasizes the three clinical goals of physical, social and emotional wellness. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has pledged $750,000 over three years to support Dr. Rhonda Voskuhl’s project at the center that is focused on a trial of the common generic drug Estriol and its effect on MS symptoms. She hopes to prove that treatment with this relatively inexpensive hormone, taken in pill form, will reduce relapses.
The Lockheed Martin Corp., led by Robert J. Stevens, pledged $4 million to benefit UCLA Health System’s Operation Mend, which provides reconstructive surgeries and other healthcare needs to U.S. military personnel wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The gift will be equally divided. First, it will help enhance the patient experience during multiple surgeries and support the renovation of the surgical waiting room and the pre- and post-operative recovery areas; the latter are part of the broader Ambulatory Surgical Center Enhancement Project, which includes adding four private patient-recovery suites, four new high-tech surgical suites and a telemedicine video-conference center. Second, the funding will help underwrite the care of more patients in the coming years. On average, each requires 10- to-20 surgeries, in addition to post-operative coordination with the referring centers.
The Jean Perkins Foundation has made significant contributions to a variety of areas at UCLA . Earlier this year, it gave $300,000 to Operation Mend, UCLA ’s unique partnership with the military to provide plastic and reconstructive surgery and other care to servicemen and servicewomen severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, the foundation assisted with the launch of UCLA ’s Scholars in Translational Medicine (STM ) Program, administered by the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA . Through its $450,000 gift to the STM Program, the foundation supplies resources for three physician-scientists to pursue career paths in which clinical and basic science research merge. UCLA is grateful to Mr. James J. Carroll III , president of the Jean Perkins Foundation, and Mr. Joseph Connolly, treasurer and director, for such insightful generosity.
Among three gifts made by Lynda R. and Stewart A. Resnick to support students through UCLA ’s Bruin Scholars Initiative, $2 million was directed to assist Ph.D. candidates in the UCLA -Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA . This meaningful contribution, made in honor of Dean Emeritus Dr. Gerald S. Levey, The Lincy Foundation Distinguished Service Chair and Distinguished Professor of Medicine, has established the Gerald S. Levey, M.D., Medical Science Scholars Fund. The Resnicks noted, “In addition to honoring the service of our friend Jerry Levey, it gives us great satisfaction to support UCLA students studying in fields that are of personal interest to us.”
The Simms/Mann Family Foundation has made a $2.5-million pledge to the Simms/ Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology. The gift is for operating support of the center, which is a national model for providing integrative care for individuals and families touched by cancer. The center includes psychosocial support services, groups, public lectures, and nutritional support provided by an integrative medicine physician to help patients optimize their wellness through the continuum of care. The foundation recently pledged an additional gift, which underwrites spiritual care to patients and their families.
The Fran and Ray Stark Foundation made a generous donation to support research into ovarian and endometrial cancers at UCLA . The meaningful and visionary commitment will enable Dr. Robin Farias-Eisner, director of the UCLA Center for Biomarker Discovery and Research, and his colleagues in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology to more successfully detect and treat these difficult women’s cancers.
Long-time donor Mrs. Toni Brotman Wald has committed $240,000 over four years, through The Brotman Foundation of California, to the Laparoscopic Urology and Endourology Fellowship Program. Under the direction of Dr. Peter Schulam, Henry E. Singleton Chair in Urology, chief of the Division of Endourology and Minimally Invasive Surgery, and professor of urology, this generous gift will fund training in the latest novel interventional surgical techniques. Fellows are selected from an extremely competitive national pool of applicants and will have the opportunity to work with top researchers. Also involved in the planning and discussion of the gift was Mrs. Wald’s stepson, Dr. Samuel Wald, associate clinical professor of pediatric anesthesiology at UCLA .