Sunday, November 23, 2014

GRU receives $6 million to establish cancer research building, children’s camp

Georgia Regents University will receive $6 million from the Masters Tournament to help fund a new cancer research building and a camp for children with disabilities and life-threatening illnesses. The gift was announced Feb. 18 at a press conference held by the Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area, which promotes and manages philanthropic efforts throughout the 13 counties that define the CSRA.

This multi-year pledge is the latest in a long history of significant financial contributions from the Masters Tournament through The Community Foundation, including a similar pledge for the construction of the Salvation Army Kroc Center in 2009. Each year, the organization distributes charitable dollars derived from the Masters to deserving local non-profit organizations.

“Through the Masters Tournament, we remain committed to the tradition established by our founders to give back, and that includes sharing our resources with the community that supports us so graciously,” said Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament. “Like the Kroc Center, we see this research center and children’s camp as a way to help transform lives and serve the entire city, state and region for many years to come.”

“The Masters Tournament continues to benefit the community that surrounds them,” said Braye Boardman, Chairman of the Board for The Community Foundation. “Their long-term willingness to financially invest in our area’s stability and growth acts as a beacon to others with similar motivations to give back. Because of the Masters Tournament’s leadership, today marks a new beginning to how cancer will be studied and treated throughout the CSRA and beyond.”

“Since 1997, our organization has supported the many charities that serve our community through 6,500 grants totaling $52 million, thanks in large part to the Masters Tournament. We continue to be overwhelmed by their generosity and are privileged to use our association to benefit those who are in need in the CSRA,” said Lee Smith, President and CEO of The Community Foundation.

Dr. Samir N. Khleif, Director of the GRU Augusta Cancer Center, has helped develop the vision behind the cancer research center. When finished, the facility would expand current infrastructure to more than 155,000 square feet of clinical research space for more than 500 faculty, staff and researchers dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

“As a city and as a state, despite our existing resources in Augusta, we are still in need of more facilities to research and treat cancer,” he said. “We believe the leadership shown by the Masters Tournament from this initial donation through The Community Foundation will be the financial catalyst we need to make our campus in Augusta a leading resource throughout this region.”

The expanded research facility will assist the university to reach its goal of becoming a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, the second in the state along with Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University.

Next steps include fundraising. Provided the community can raise the remaining $8.5 million, the State of Georgia will appropriate an additional $45 million needed to complete the project.

The donation will also help fund the creation of Camp Lakeside, a collaboration among GRU Augusta Cancer Center, Children’s Hospital of Georgia and The Family Y. This facility, when complete, will accommodate more than 500 of CHOG’s most critical patients as well as hundreds of children from around the CSRA through The Family Y outreach program. To be located in Lincoln County, Ga., Camp Lakeside will be a place where children of all ages with disabilities and illnesses could take advantage of recreational activities in a medically safe environment.

For more information or to get involved, please contact Michelle Knox at The Community Foundation by phone at (706) 724-1314 or via e-mail at michelle@cfcsra.org.