An $18 million gift for the Kansas University Cancer Center from the Hall Family Foundation will help fund a new space for clinical trials and recruitment of talented faculty.
The donation, the second-largest in the center’s history, places the cancer center more than 40 percent of the way toward its fundraising goal for National Cancer Institute designation, with $37 million of $92 million raised.
Bill Hall, president of the Hall Family Foundation, said that the effort to achieve designation has attracted support from the Legislature, the community and other organizations.
“The combination of factors that have come together at this time led us to believe that you can make a significant advance in terms of treatment, research and the university,” said Hall, himself a cancer survivor.
Roy Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center, said $12 million of the gift would help recruit top-notch scientists, and $6 million would help fund a Phase I clinical trials facility in Fairway.
The foundation purchased the building in 2008 and is donating it to the cancer center, as pledged during a 2008 sales tax campaign in Johnson County.
Jensen said he appreciated the support of the Hall family and others in the effort.
“It reaffirms the fact that when I came here, I knew Kansas City would get behind this effort because of the long, rich history of giving for a whole variety of causes,” Jensen said.
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said that the gift continued the Hall family’s tradition of giving to KU, and that the university community was “extremely grateful” for their support of the NCI effort.
The donation from the foundation marks the second major cancer donation in recent weeks, as Joe and Jean Brandmeyer, of El Paso, Texas, donated $10 million to the effort in late December.
Along with the recent support from the philanthropic community, Jensen said he was pleased that the Gov. Mark Parkinson called attention to the cancer effort in his State of the State speech Monday night.
Even with all the support, Jensen said there’s still much to be done, and the center still needs to increase its recruitment efforts and resources.
“This (donation) goes a long way toward solving those problems,” Jensen said.