The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation announced today that it has successfully completed its “For the Future of Medical Research” fundraising campaign, obtaining almost $101 million in gifts and pledges. The campaign, which began in November 1999 and has funded a wide variety of capital and endowment projects, represents the largest fundraising effort in the foundation’s 58-year history.
“When we embarked on this campaign five years ago, we set a goal of $100 million, a total that seemed almost inconceivable at the time,” said OMRF President J. Donald Capra, M.D. “To reach and exceed the $100 million mark is a remarkable testament to the generosity of the people of Oklahoma, who have contributed the lion’s share to this campaign.”
The campaign is only the second in OMRF’s 58-year history. The first, which took place more than half a century ago, raised $1.95 million, funds that were used to build OMRF.
“Since its birth, OMRF has benefited from the remarkable vision of the people of this state,” said Capra. “Over fifty years ago, Oklahomans dared to invest in a dream, and our medical research foundation is the dividend that resulted. With this most recent campaign, we have once again seen that Oklahomans understand the value of medical research, and they are willing to give of their hard-earned dollars to improve the health of people everywhere.”
During the five-year campaign, OMRF has made numerous important strides in the fight against disease. Two life-saving drugs with OMRF roots have reached the market: the first and only FDA-approved treatment for severe sepsis (which claims more than 200,000 American lives each year) and a drug to treat children suffering from a life-threatening blood disorder.
Four other OMRF-based drugs have also entered the final stages of human clinical trials during this time, including a potential treatment for stroke. OMRF discoveries have also given birth to a risk assessment test for breast cancer that will soon be available and have cleared the path for an experimental Alzheimer’s drug that will begin human clinical trials in the near future.
Capra noted that also during the campaign, OMRF has enjoyed remarkable growth. “We have nearly tripled the amount of National Institutes of Health grants we are receiving each year, and we now rank among the top 15 independent research institutes in the country in this area,” he said. “At the same time, the size of our workforce has increased dramatically. We could not have done any of this without the help of our many philanthropic partners.”
Leading donors to the campaign include the Chapman Trusts, the Noble Foundation, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the Presbyterian Health Foundation, the H.A. and Mary K. Chapman Trust, Putnam City Schools, the Hocker foundation, the Kerr Foundation, the Sarkeys foundation, the Merrick Foundation, the McCasland Foundation, the Mabee Foundation and Henry Zarrow. In total, over 40,000 individuals and organizations made donations to the campaign, which was chaired by OMRF board member H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt.
Campaign proceeds have been used to:
- Construct OMRF’s Donald W. Reynolds Center for Genetic Research, a $15 million state-of-the-art facility that housed nearly 20,000 mice bred specially for research on human diseases.
- Build OMRF’s new small animal magnetic resonance imaging facility, the first facility of its kind in Oklahoma and one of only approximately a dozen in the nation.
- Add over 100,000 square feet of new laboratory space.
- Renovate more that a dozen existing laboratories.
- Increase the size of OMRF’s faculty from 38 to 46 principal investigators.
- Add nine endowed faculty chairs.
- Grow OMRF’s endowment by $13 million.
- Provide graduate students scholarships.
- Add new core facilities – such as DNA sequencing, microarray and imaging – that enabled OMRF scientists to conduct cutting-edge research.
- Finance numerous capital improvements to OMRF’s 50-year-old facility.
OMRF will hold a campaign celebration dinner on February 24 at Gaillardia.
“This campaign has paved the way for another half-century of growth and discovery,” said Len Cason, chairman of OMRF’s board of directors. “Because of the foresight of so many giving people, the future burns bright at OMRF.”