Buck Institute Meets Goal in Capital Campaign

Tonight’s gala announces the establishment of the Larry L. Hillblom Center for Integrative Studies of Aging

April 20, 2006  A $2 million gift from the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation has brought the Buck Institute’s first capital campaign to a successful close, funding a laboratory expansion project that will bring together Institute scientists who study the processes of aging. The Larry L. Hillblom Center for Integrative Studies of Aging will house eight research programs (five existing programs plus three new ones), supporting collaborative efforts among scientists and allowing for efficient use of key technologies.

“We are delighted to support the Buck Institute during this crucial phase of its development,” said Peter J. Donnici, President of the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation. “The fact that the Institute is the only facility of its kind in this country focused solely on aging and age-related disease makes it is a perfect fit for our philanthropic mission; the growing prestige of the Institute makes it an honor for us to share in their success,” added Donnici.

The announcement of the major gift will be made tonight at the Institute’s second black tie gala at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.

A total of $9.3 million was raised for the expansion project, involving the build out of 11,000 square feet of unused shell space in the Institute’s administrative building. Construction of the new center is slated to begin in mid-May; completion is expected in early March, 2007. Workspace will be provided for 64 researchers.

“The gift from the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation will play a critical role in helping us meet our mission of extending the healthy years of life,” said Dale Bredesen, MD, Buck Institute CEO and Scientific Director. “This establishment of this new center will help guide our continuing endeavor to unravel the biological mystery of aging; we are well aware of the Hillblom Foundation’s reputation and good work in supporting medical research and are honored to be one of its recipients,” he said.

In addition to the gift from the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation, the Institute was awarded a $2.9 million construction grant from the National Institutes of Health. The Glenn Medical Foundation, the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation, and the Mericos Foundation donated $1 million each to the expansion effort. Additional gifts from other foundations and individuals brought in $1.4 million for the total of $9.3 million. Additional monies will be raised to supply the labs with scientific equipment.

The Larry L. Hillblom Center for Integrative Studies of Aging comprises the first phase of the Buck Institute’s overall expansion plan. The Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board recommended the establishment of 20 to 25 research programs at the Institute involving studies of the aging process, diseases of aging and technology for aging studies. When planning began in 2003, there were 12 programs in place; 21 programs are expected by 2010. Total staff at the Buck will grow from 150 to 250.  The construction of the new center will free up other space for the additional research programs.

No Buck Trust funds will be utilized in lab expansion project. The Buck endowment helped build the Institute, comprising 81% of total revenue in 1999. Since then the Institute has become less reliant on the Buck monies; this year the trust fund provides just 23% of expected revenues of $25.6 million dollars. The majority of Institute revenues come from federal awards and research grants.  For example, last year the National Institute of Aging designated the Institute a “Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Biology of Aging,” one of just five centers in the country.  That award will bring $3.7 million to the Institute over a five-year period. Additional philanthropic support for the Institute’s annual operating fund, community education and research programs comes from individuals, corporations and foundations.

The Buck Institute is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to extending the healthspan, the healthy years of each individual’s life.  Buck Institute scientists work in an innovative, interdisciplinary setting to understand the mechanisms of aging and to discover new ways of detecting, preventing and treating age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, stroke and arthritis. Collaborative research at the Institute is supported by state-of-the-art genomics, proteomics and imaging technology.

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