The largest and most ambitious capital and endowment fundraising campaign in the history of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation kicked off today at a luncheon at Gaillardia Country Club in Oklahoma City. The five-year “For the Future of Medical Research” campaign for $100 million will push the 54-year-old private, non-profit biomedical research institute into the “very top tier” of its competitors in the U.S., said Foundation president J. Donald Capra, M.D.
The campaign’s goal is to raise $66 million in new endowment and $34 million for capital expansion, and will be used to add new research programs, expand current programs, add laboratory space and infrastructure and renovate out of date facilities.
This comprehensive campaign is critical, Capra said, to continue the quality of research for which the Foundation is known into an even more competitive and challenging new century.
“OMRF is poised to be among the top three or four biomedical research institutions in the nation and, indeed, the world. But our size, which is substantially smaller than those independent research facilities with whom we must compete, keeps us from attaining that status.”
Campaign chairman is H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt, chairman of BankFirst Corporation and prominent civic leader and philanthropist. OMRF’s chairman of the board of directors is David R. Brown, M.D., Oklahoma City. The campaign committee included Sharon Bell, partner in Rogers and Bell law firm of Tulsa; Len Cason, partner in Hartzog Conger and Cason of Oklahoma City; Michael A. Cawley, president an CEO of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation of Ardmore; and Brooks (Boots) Hall, Jr., chairman of Fred Jones Automotive Group of Oklahoma City.
The grand total of advance leadership gifts is $41 million, Rainbolt announced. These include three lead gifts totalling $25.5 million from the Noble Foundation in Ardmore, the Chapman Trust in Tulsa, and the Gaylord Family in Oklahoma City. Other lead gifts include significant contributions from the Putnam City Schools Cancer Drive, the H.A. and Mary K. Chapman Trust in Tulsa, the Presbyterian Health Foundation in Oklahoma City, the National Institutes of Health, and an anonymous donor, totalling more than $3.1 million.
“A lot of people may not appreciate the fact that well over 98 percent of the funds that we bring into this institution, apart from competitive grants, come from the people of Oklahoma,” said Capra. OMRF’s annual revenues are approximately $26 million. Of that figure, approximately half is received through competitive, peer reviewed grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the American Heart Association and other such organizations.
“The other half is raised each year in the state of Oklahoma,” Capra emphasized, “with the average donation at $25. This comes to about $750,000 each year from individuals in small and big towns throughout the state.”
Well known within the medical and scientific communities in the U.S. and around the world, OMRF was formed in 1946 by alumni of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, who believed in the need for a premier independent biomedical research institute in the state of Oklahoma. Money was raised to start OMRF from these physicians, and from civic leaders and individual donors throughout the state.
OMRF focuses on just a few areas of research: Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, lupus and other autoimmune diseases, stroke, AIDS, children’s diseases and genetic disorders.