Humana Foundation gifts target childhood cancers, McConnell Center

(July 1, 2013) LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Humana Foundation donates $2.5 million to the University of Louisville.
Humana Foundation gifts target childhood cancers, McConnell Center

The University of Louisville has received two gifts from the Humana Foundation totaling $2.5 million. The donations will help fund research on a vaccine for childhood cancers, provide scholarships for outstanding undergraduates interested in health-related fields and enhance health and wellness initiatives at UofL’s McConnell Center.

The Foundation is supporting the Dr. Salvatore and Kathy Bertolone Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cancer Research with a $500,000 gift.  Dr. Kenneth Lucas was recently named the first chair of the endowment and he is leading a team engaged in a Phase 1 clinical trial of a vaccine to prevent recurrence of neuroblastoma and sarcoma, among the most common and deadly of all childhood cancers.

“The Humana Foundation believes in the high quality research and academic work taking place at the University of Louisville,” said Mike McCallister, chairman of the Humana Foundation.  “We hope our gift will further UofL’s mission and spur others to make similar commitments.”

The Humana Foundation also is donating $2 million for initiatives at the McConnell Center that will:

  • Establish the Humana Foundation Scholarship in Health Leadership for McConnell Scholars
  • Create public education programs focused on health and wellness
  • Support student research and internships in health policy
  • Expand health and fitness offerings for student leaders

    Beginning in 2015, the McConnell Center will award its first Scholarship in Health Leadership to an incoming McConnell Scholar who has demonstrated strong interest in medicine, healthcare economics or health policy. From 2016–2018 the Center will add one additional Scholarship in Health Leadership each year.  Thus, by 2019, the Humana Foundation grant will support four McConnell Scholars.

    The new McConnell Center initiatives will facilitate education and inspire young leaders to improve the health and well-being of their communities. An annual forum will bring experts in health-related fields to campus to engage with students and the public. By supporting internships, the gift will encourage scholars to use their careers to improve health. Expanded health and fitness offerings for McConnell Scholars and other scholarship students, including the Jones Scholars and Brown Fellows, will keep health at the forefront of their thinking as they become future leaders of Kentucky and the nation.

    “UofL students, community members and children across the globe will now feel the influence of the Humana Foundation’s commitment to cancer research, health policy and wellness issues,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “We’re proud of these gifts from an organization that believes in the great work being done at its hometown research university.”

    The latest gift brings the total raised by UofL’s “Charting Our Course” fundraising campaign to more than $820 million. The goal is $1 billion by June 30, 2014.

    As the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc., the Humana Foundation’s mission is to promote healthy lives and healthy communities through support of initiatives that address childhood health, intergenerational health, and active lifestyles.