Joan and Sanford I. Weill Agree to Boost Capital Campaign at Weill Cornell Medical College With $170 Million Cash Payment of Pledge
NEW YORK, April 7, 2009 — Cornell University announced today that Joan and Sanford I. Weill agreed to the University's request to accelerate the fulfillment of their pledge toward its $4 billion capital campaign, including Weill Cornell Medical College's $1.3 billion "Discoveries That Make a Difference" fundraising drive. By fulfilling their pledge with a $170 million cash payment, the Weills are responding with a decisive boost to the Medical College's capital campaign at a time when the University's endowment has been significantly diminished by the current economic challenges. Mr. and Mrs. Weill's 2007 pledge is believed to be the single largest gift given to a medical college.
By completing their gift now, Mr. and Mrs. Weill have created a challenge gift -- the Weill Challenge -- which will raise up to $203 million in additional gifts that exclusively support construction of the Medical College's new Research Building. This state-of-the-art facility will more than double the institution's existing laboratory space, and it is scheduled to break ground later this year in New York City on East 69th Street between York and First Avenues.
Dr. David Skorton, president of Cornell University, said, "On behalf of Cornell University, the chairman of our Board of Trustees, Peter C. Meinig, and I approached Joan and Sandy Weill and asked them to consider giving a cash gift now. The Weills are fully aware that philanthropy -- now, more than ever -- is critical to the advancement of Weill Cornell and its research enterprise. As such, they enthusiastically agreed. Today, they once again demonstrate both their unwavering commitment to Cornell and their particular skill at inspiring others to action."
"The world has changed in the past six months," said Mr. Weill, who serves as chairman of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College and graduated from Cornell University in 1955. "In order to ensure that the Research Building project moves forward, we decided to make our gift available to other donors who may be holding back. It is our hope that this decision will encourage everyone to join us in support of superior medical education, first-class research and superb clinical care."
As part of the Weill Challenge, for every $1.50 given to the Research Building, the Weill family will allocate $1.00 from their gift, so that new donors can have naming opportunities in the building at a meaningful discount. When successfully completed, the challenge is expected to raise an additional $200 million, on top of the Weills' gift.
Mr. Meinig added, "I believe that the Challenge offered by Joan and Sandy has the potential to attract significant new gifts for the Medical Research building -- the Medical College's top campaign priority."
"We are enormously grateful to Joan and Sandy Weill for everything they have done for Weill Cornell Medical College, helping put this institution on the map for innovation and biomedical discovery, and fulfilling our mission to promote healing here in New York and around the globe," said Dr. Antonio M. Gotto Jr., the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College.
Of the Weills' $170 million cash gift, which was paid in December 2008 and January 2009, $15 million will be applied to research collaborations between the campuses in Ithaca and New York City, and to the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology at Cornell University.
"Through their unequaled vision and leadership, the Weills have solidified the global reputation of Weill Cornell Medical College," said Robert J. Appel, chairman of Weill Cornell's "Discoveries That Make a Difference" capital campaign.
The new Research Building is a key part of this campaign and is central to advancing the Medical College's tripartite mission of education, research and clinical care. By greatly expanding laboratory space, the $650 million, 16-floor facility will enable Weill Cornell to recruit and retain the best faculty and attract the brightest students -- all dedicated to pioneering investigations in cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's, pediatrics and diabetes, among other areas. Designed with an open floor plan to facilitate communication and collaboration, the building will encourage interdisciplinary research, including with Cornell University in Ithaca. And its proximity to the Weill Greenberg Center, the Medical College's new award-winning ambulatory care facility, will foster translational research aimed at advancing patient care.