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Yawkey Foundation contributes $30 million to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute toward construction of proposed state-of-the-art cancer care center


Gift highlights Tom and Jean Yawkey's longstanding ties to the Jimmy Fund

ted-williams-and-jean-yawkey.jpgJean Yawkey presents Ted Williams with a plaque listing many of the friends and dignitaries who contributed to the special Jimmy Fund drive following Williams' Hall of Fame induction in June 1966. 

In the spirit of the late Tom and Jean Yawkey's nearly half-century of dedication to the fight against cancer, the Yawkey Foundation has awarded $30 million, the largest gift in its history, to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The gift will help underwrite construction of the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care, a state-of-the-art outpatient facility that is proposed to be developed on Brookline Avenue, at the heart of Dana-Farber's campus.

The Yawkey contribution is the second largest single gift made to Dana-Farber's fundraising campaign, Mission Possible: The Dana-Farber Campaign to Conquer Cancer, which seeks to raise $1 billion to accelerate the pace of cancer research, promote the translation of scientific advances into new life-saving therapies, and expand Dana-Farber's ability to provide its signature patient- and family-centered care.

"We're immensely grateful for the Yawkey Foundation's generous support for this project, and for Dana-Farber and our mission," said Edward J. Benz Jr., MD, president of Dana-Farber. "More than 50 years ago, Tom and Jean Yawkey and our founder Dr. Sidney Farber shared a vision of one day conquering cancer. The Yawkeys' longstanding support of Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund has enabled us to move much, much closer to this goal and has helped save countless lives along the way."

The Yawkey Foundation's gift extends the Yawkeys' unwavering commitment to the Jimmy Fund, which supports adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber. "Tom and Jean Yawkey were deeply committed to supporting the lifesaving work of Dr. Sidney Farber and the Institute. They gave generously of their resources and personal time in the hope of one day realizing a world without cancer. The Trustees of the Yawkey Foundation take great pleasure in commemorating this longstanding relationship between the Yawkeys and Dana-Farber," said James Healey, president and trustee of the Yawkey Foundation.

williams-yawkey-and-farber.jpgTed Williams, Tom Yawkey and Dr. Sidney Farber (August 1960) 

The histories of Dana-Farber and the Yawkey family are inextricably linked. In 1953, the Yawkeys adopted the Jimmy Fund as the official charity of the Boston Red Sox, which they owned from 1933-2002. The Red Sox-Jimmy Fund partnership, which remains strong and fruitful to this day, has generated millions of dollars in support for cancer care and research at Dana-Farber and has made contributing to the Jimmy Fund a New England tradition.

The Yawkeys also were extensively involved in the governance of Dana-Farber. Tom Yawkey served as a trustee from 1954-76, during which time he was president of the institution from 1960-69 and chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1969 until his death in 1976. Jean Yawkey was a Dana-Farber trustee from 1976 until her 1992 death, and she served as chair of the Board of Trustees from 1976-79.

The need for the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care, which will be the first new clinical building at Dana-Farber since 1976, is driven by the rapidly accelerating pace of cancer research, both in the clinics and the laboratories, and a dramatic increase in the number of patients cared for by the Institute. Between 2001 and 2005, outpatient visits and chemotherapy infusions at Dana-Farber grew by more than 43 percent, from nearly 128,000 to more than 184,000. The number of clinical trials available to Dana-Farber patients increased 60 percent, from 409 trials to 658. Dana-Farber officials expect this growth to continue, due in part to the aging of the U.S. population — cancer disproportionately strikes people over 60 — and increased survival rates.

As proposed, the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care will house many of Dana-Farber's adult clinical services, as well as translational research space and patient and family services. The 275,000 square foot building, to be constructed near the intersection of Brookline Avenue and Jimmy Fund Way, will include 100 exam rooms, 150 infusion beds, and a new, patient-friendly front entrance for Dana-Farber. It also will consolidate many of Dana-Farber's clinical services into a more open, accessible space and provide a new, modern entrance into the renowned institute. The building is expected to be ready for occupancy in early 2011.

The new building's location just down the street from Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, is fitting. The Yawkeys encouraged Red Sox players to visit young cancer patients at Dana-Farber starting with the great Ted Williams. For years, signage promoting the Jimmy Fund has been prominently displayed in the ballpark, and today a Jimmy Fund insignia adorns the park's "Green Monster" left-field wall. (For more on the Red Sox-Jimmy Fund relationship, go to www.jimmyfund.org/redsox/.)

"The Yawkey Center for Cancer Care, by bringing together clinical care and translational research under one roof, truly will embody the strengths of Dana-Farber and, more importantly, it will enable our clinicians to provide patients and their families with the finest care and treatment options available," said Josh Bekenstein, co-chair of the Mission Possible Campaign and a managing director of Bain Capital.

The Yawkey Foundation's gift comes at a critical time, said Larry Lucchino, who is also co-chair of the Mission Possible Campaign and president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox. "We're extremely fortunate that so many people and organizations already have demonstrated their support for Dana-Farber, but we have much more work to do. The Yawkey Foundation's gift is significant both for what it is funding and the momentum it generates for the overall campaign. And today's Red Sox are, of course, proud to carry on the Yawkey/Dana-Farber traditions."

"I am honored to have been part of this unprecedented partnership between the Yawkeys, their foundation and Dana-Farber," said Mike Andrews, chairman of the Jimmy Fund and a former Red Sox second baseman. "There is nothing like it anywhere else, and it has been uniquely productive and effective in the fight against cancer."

About the Yawkey Foundations

The Yawkey Foundations were established more than twenty years ago to further serve the family's many charitable goals. The mission of the Yawkey Foundations is to continue the charitable legacy of Tom and Jean Yawkey by making grants that provide immediate, significant and positive impact on the quality of life of youth, families and the underserved, primarily in the areas which the Yawkeys called home, New England and Georgetown County, South Carolina. For additional information about the Foundations, visit their website at www.yawkeyfoundations.org.

About Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Founded in 1947 by Sidney Farber, MD, the father of modern chemotherapy, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (www.dana-farber.org) is a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, and a federally designated Center for AIDS Research.

About the Mission Possible Campaign

Mission Possible: The Dana-Farber Campaign to Conquer Cancer seeks to provide Dana-Farber scientists with the tools to further uncover the genetic and molecular roots of cancer, and to turn that knowledge into ever better therapies for people battling the disease. The $1 billion campaign will support four critical areas: research and care; technology; the proposed Yawkey Center for Cancer Care; and the Jimmy Fund and unrestricted funds, which will support the most pressing needs and promising developments at Dana-Farber.

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