Sidney Kimmel, founder and chairman of Jones Apparel Group, has donated $150 million to Johns Hopkins for cancer research and patient care--the largest single gift ever to the university. With more than a third of the gift already received, the Hopkins Cancer Center officially will be called the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.
Kimmel, the son of a West Philadelphia cab driver, had no previous association with Hopkins, nor has he ever been treated for cancer.
Speaking of his gift, Kimmel said, "I am blessed. To be able to support one of the leading institutions in the world and build on its momentum gives so much meaning to what we have all done thus far to defeat cancer and provides even more hope for what can now be accomplished. My goal with this gift is to make meaningful advances in our knowledge of cancer."
Kimmel's gift also will provide the lead funding for development of a residence to serve patients undergoing prolonged cancer treatments and their families. "As important as research is, I want to assure that some of those most acutely devastated by cancer, whose conventional and experimental therapies require a protracted presence in Baltimore, have the advantage and support of a family residence," Kimmel said.
Michael Bloomberg, chairman of the board of trustees of the university and mayor-elect of New York City, said, "On the day after my election, I took time out to call and thank Sidney. He's probably the nation's leading individual donor to cancer research, and that deserves congratulations not only from the Hopkins community but from us all."
Martin Abeloff, director of the newly named Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, said, "Sidney Kimmel has shown enormous vision and insight into what would make a difference in the field of cancer research, as well as great confidence in our ability to achieve results. We are truly honored by this gift."
Kimmel's gift symbolizes a new era in cancer research and treatment according to Edward D. Miller, dean of the School of Medicine and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Mr. Kimmel has made it clear that he expects his gift to bring about meaningful advances in our knowledge of cancer, and we have the same expectations," said Miller in announcing the gift. "We stand at the threshold of tremendous discoveries in the laboratory, and we are convinced these will lead to new forms of diagnosis, new treatments and even to new preventive therapies. We seek nothing less than the eradication of cancer in our lifetimes. And this magnificent gift brings us closer to that today."
The Hopkins gift is one of many that Kimmel has made to cancer research. Most recently he gave $25 million to fund research and to develop a new prostate and urological cancer center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York, and he has made significant gifts for cancer research in San Diego and Philadelphia. Kimmel also designed and remains closely involved with the Kimmel Scholars Program, which supports young cancer scientists nationally. Each year a distinguished panel of 10 scientists selected by Kimmel chooses 15 recipients, each of whom receives $200,000 over two years. He also was the lead sponsor for The March: Coming Together to Conquer Cancer, a 1998 event that helped make more than $400 million in additional government funding available for cancer programs around the country.
Among gifts in fields other than cancer, Kimmel is the lead individual donor to a new performing arts center set to open in Philadelphia on Dec. 14. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Rafael Vinoly, will be home to the Philadelphia Orchestra.
William R. Brody, university president, said, "Mr. Kimmel's gift to us, as well as his other philanthropic endeavors, represent a combination of extraordinary thoughtfulness and compassion. He defines leadership, and his example calls on others to follow him.
"This gift will have tremendous impact, hopefully for cancer patients throughout the world," he said. "And I'm delighted that Mr. Kimmel has put his confidence and trust behind the researchers and the clinicians at Johns Hopkins."
Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening, said, "On behalf of all Maryland citizens, I thank Mr. Kimmel for his extraordinarily generous gift for cancer research and patient care in our state. We are proud of the many contributions in cancer research and care made by the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. Mr. Kimmel's gift will provide unprecedented opportunities to advance the fight against cancer. It is also gratifying to know that the state-sponsored programs to conquer cancer, made possible by the Cigarette Restitution Funds, have played a role in Mr. Kimmel's decision to make a difference in this effort."
John Hopkins has one of just 41 cancer centers in the country designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, and was one of the first to receive that designation. The center has active programs in clinical research, laboratory research, education, community outreach, prevention and control.
A leader on many fronts, the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins has internationally recognized programs in the molecular genetics of cancer, bone marrow transplantation, new drug and vaccine development, pediatric oncology, radiation oncology, and brain tumor treatment and research. It is highly regarded for its innovative surgical treatments for head and neck cancers, sarcoma, prostate and pancreatic cancers and its research involving the genetic basis of colon cancer, the treatment of cancer pain, gene therapy and new therapeutic approaches for breast cancer.
Sidney Kimmel, 73, is chairman and a director of Jones Apparel Group Inc., which he founded in the mid-1970s and which went public in 1991. The group's brands now include Jones New York, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Polo Jeans, Nine West and Evan-Picone. He also is the owner of the new Regent Wall Street luxury hotel at the New York Stock Exchange Building; a partner in Cipriani International, a world-renowned restaurant and catering concern with establishments in New York, Venice and Buenos Aires; and part owner of the Miami Heat. He also has a film production company, whose films include Blame It On Rio and 9-1/2 Weeks. He spends time in New York City, Philadelphia and Palm Beach with his wife, Caroline.