Cardiovascular Innovation Institute celebrates fifth anniversary with $1 million gift
Birthday parties for 5-year-olds usually involve gifts – and as the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute turned five Sept. 21, it was no exception.
Sy Auerbach, Mansbach Foundation member; Stuart Williams, CII executive and scientific director; John Woods III, Mansbach Foundation vice president; Laman Gray, CII founder and medical director; and James Ramsey, UofL president.
The Mansbach Foundation of Ashland, Ky., provided $1 million to establish the Mansbach Research Endowment to support the hiring of a new researcher in regenerative medicine at the CII, a joint collaboration between the University of Louisville and Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services.
John Woods III, vice president of the foundation’s board of directors, formally presented the gift at the CII’s reception celebrating its five years of “advancements, inventions and innovations.” Stuart Williams, CII executive and scientific director, and Laman Gray, CII medical director, accepted it.
“After touring the CII, seeing the physical plant, meeting the people and understanding the goal of the Institute, I could think of no other more worthy cause of our funds,” said foundation Chairman Gerald Mansbach. “Had I not visited, I would not have given that size of a gift. The CII is something everyone needs to see and rally behind.”
Williams and Gray noted that the gift will help CII further the science of regenerative medicine with the hiring of a scientist that specializes in the field.
“We anticipate that within the next decade we will be well on our way to developing the world’s first ‘bioficial’ heart, or a heart that can be grown in the laboratory entirely from a patient’s own cells,” Williams said.
“This support is critical to helping us find new medical breakthroughs that combat our nation’s number one killer, cardiovascular disease,” said Gray, who performed the first heart transplant in Kentucky in 1984 and whose surgical team implanted the first fully implantable replacement heart, the AbioCor™, in 2001.
UofL also intends to leverage the gift though matching gifts from other sources such as corporations, other foundations and individuals. The new endowment also will be eligible for a “Bucks for Brains” matching gift if the Kentucky legislature is able to resume funding of the Bucks for Brains program in the future.