SA Business Journal: UT Health in the hunt for more philanthropic funding

Philanthropy. Graduation mortar board cap on one hundred dollar bills concept for the cost of a college and university education

The current threat of Texas lawmakers potentially cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for higher education could take a toll on medical schools in the Lone Star State, and such institutions may need to double down on private-sector support to help fill a potential funding gap.

UT Health San Antonio has already made it a priority to secure more philanthropic funding.

UT Health San Antonio President Dr. William Henrich said such support will be “extremely important” because it will help preserve and enhance, for perpetuity, the institution’s core missions, which include education, research and patient care.

Such funding could also give San Antonio an advantage over other markets.

“Philanthropy is critical because, in a competitive academic marketplace, endowments enable us to recruit and retain world-class faculty,” Henrich said. “It can make the difference in whether a rising faculty member relocates to San Antonio.”

UT Health is finding some of that private-sector support outside of the Alamo City. On Feb. 1, I reported that Austin residents Joe and Teresa Lozano Long pledged $25 million to help change the trajectory of medical and scientific education in San Antonio. The bulk of that gift, $20 million, will support a President’s Endowment for Excellence in Medicine and faculty recruitment for UT Health’s School of Medicine.

Henrich is convinced this is a good time to seek philanthropic support in San Antonio, too.

“I believe there are more leaders in our community than ever before who see the generous giving of the Longs and other philanthropists and are inspired to give as well,” he said.

To date, community leaders have contributed more than $40 million to support the development of UT Health’s Biggs Institute for Alzheimer and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Some of the more recent contributors include the Greehey Family Foundation, Valero Energy Foundation, Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio and the J.M.R. Barker Foundation.

“We also seek to foster partnerships with the region’s biotechnology companies,” Henrich said.

Those efforts are also paying off. Last month, Soluble Bioscience, which is moving its operations to San Antonio from Alabama, contributed a $250,000 instrument to the Center for Innovative Drug Discovery — a joint venture of UT Health and the University of Texas at San Antonio — that will expedite local scientists’ efforts to move research findings from the laboratory to discovery to patient treatments.

Scott Bailey covers health care, tourism, sports business, economic development; he also plans and edits some special reports.


Share This Article!