Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad presented his first installment of a $400 million endowment to a Cambridge, Mass., genomic medicine research institute, his foundation announced Wednesday.
The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a newly established permanent nonprofit organization, received the $100 million payment from the Los Angeles-based Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.
"Our goal in funding the Broad Institute is simple: to improve the human condition," Broad stated.
"Edye and I are convinced that the hundreds of passionate scientists at the Broad Institute will identify the genes responsible for disease and will discover cures or completely eliminate diseases altogether," he said. "We believe that our investment will put the Broad Institute firmly on the path toward this goal and will ultimately build an endowment of $1 billion to support the Institute in its mission of completely transforming medicine."
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Initially launched in 2004 as a partnership between MIT, Harvard and its affiliated hospitals, and the Whitehead Institute, the Broad Institute was established to discover the knowledge buried in the human genome and use it to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to disease, foundation spokeswoman Karen Denne said.
"We are profoundly grateful to Eli and Edythe Broad for their generosity and vision and look forward to continuing our many collaborative research efforts through the Broad Institute and defining the future of the field," said Susan Hockfield, president of MIT.
The Broads announced the $400 million endowment last September, on top of previous $200 million in commitments to the Broad Institute. The Broad Foundation will continue to make installments, with the goal of growing the endowment to $1 billion through investment and additional gifts, Denne said.
"This is an historic moment in the life of this young institute," said Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute.
"Just as Eli and Edye are fulfilling their remarkable promise to us, the Broad Institute must now fulfill its promise by empowering creative scientists from across institutions and disciplines to work together to truly transform medicine," he said.
The Broad Institute is considered among the world's leading genomic medicine research institutes and has grown to more than 1,000 scientists working on a variety of projects across biomedicine, Denne said.