Emory Report
November 27, 2006
Volume 59, Number 12



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November 27 , 2006
Woodruff Foundation gives major boost to intiatives

BY Nancy Seideman

The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation Inc. is contributing $261.5 million to Emory University to help the institution construct a model patient-centered health care system for the 21st century and to support other strategic priorities of the University.

The announcement of the extraordinary financial commitment, one of the largest in American higher education, came at Emory’s Nov. 16 Board of Trustees meeting. Board of Trustees Chairman Ben Johnson, managing partner in the Atlanta firm of Alston & Bird, said, “Robert W. Woodruff and the Woodruff Foundation have been Emory’s major partners at every juncture in Emory’s modern advancement to preeminence. We are all grateful that the foundation continues at our side and leading the way as we advance so many common interests together.”

The Woodruff Foundation’s gift includes:

• $240 million to modernize and transform the outpatient care facilities of Emory’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center. This will enable Emory to create a place where the physicians and scientists who make up The Emory Clinic will offer an ideal patient-centered experience supported by the power of translational research, so as to set a new world-class standard for health care.

• $12.5 million for the establishment of The Presidential Fund, to be invested selectively in initiatives related to the advancement of Emory’s strategic plan.

• $9 million for renovation of Emory’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center Administration Building, the administrative home of the University’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

The new Emory Clinic complex will be located across Clifton Road from the current Emory University Hospital on land occupied by the current Emory Clinic. Plans call for a combination of patient, research, and office space designed to integrate research and clinical care in an “Ideal Patient Experience,” from parking, arrival and check-in to examination, treatment and patient discharge.

President Jim Wagner noted that the foundation’s $12.5 million gift to support strategic priorities will also have significant impact as discretionary seed money for promising cross-disciplinary ideas that need early nurture to succeed. “I am tremendously heartened by this important validation of the course we have set at Emory, one in which we leverage our own resources and gifts as well as the investments of others to achieve positive transformation in the world.”

The Emory Clinic is part of a complex of health care buildings on Emory’s Clifton Road health sciences campus supported in whole or in part by the Woodruff Foundation and its associated charities, the Lettie Pate Evans and Joseph B. Whitehead Foundations. Those other buildings include the Winship Cancer Institute, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, the Whitehead Biomedical Research Building, and the new School of Medicine Administration and Education Building, scheduled to open in 2007.

“This generous gift will help support Emory’s vision to build the health care environment of tomorrow for all the people of Atlanta, the State of Georgia and the Southeast today. It is very exciting to reflect that this new medical complex will enable us to fulfill our goal to transform health and healing in the 21st century,” said Michael M.E. Johns, executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. “These new facilities will support patient care, medical training and research in a new and more nimble way that sets the standards for health care systems everywhere.”

Robert W. Woodruff, the late legendary leader of Coca Cola, became a major benefactor of Emory beginning in 1937. In 1979, he and his brother George Woodruff gave Emory the then-record sum of $105 million, the first nine-figure gift to an institution of higher education, galvanizing Emory’s advance into the front rank of American research universities. The Woodruff Foundation’s new gift to Emory is exceeded only by its $295 million endowment of a foundation in 1996 whose proceeds specifically benefit the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. Both gifts rank in the top ten given to any institution of higher education in the last 40 years.

“Robert Woodruff helped establish the Emory Clinic more than fifty years ago,” said P. Russell Hardin, president of the Woodruff Foundation. “The Woodruff Foundation is pleased to invest in Emory’s current leadership and its continuing ambition to provide world-class patient care and medical training.”