Record gift fuels drive for cancer cure

At Hopkins: Sidney Kimmel's generosity gives Baltimore new eminence on cancer front.

November 17, 2001

WITH MORE than $30 million a year from the national tobacco settlement and the talent of top researchers -- at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland Medical Center -- this city's reputation as a leader in the search for a cancer cure will grow.

Aside from the prestige, of course, Maryland in particular might wish to be on the leading edge of research: Few parts of the nation have a higher incidence of cancer.

Marylanders therefore will be deeply grateful to New York entrepreneur Sidney Kimmel for his $150 million gift to Hopkins. No one -- not even the university's founder -- has given more.

News of the gift surely was welcome. It comes at a time when Hopkins' administration of its research programs has fallen under critical scrutiny. Mr. Kimmel, known as a careful researcher himself, sends not only money but a vote of confidence.

And what a challenge!

Hopkins' medical dean, Dr. Edward D. Miller, has been frank to say his team wants nothing short of a cure. Mr. Kimmel has removed money as an obstacle. His gift will allow the school to obtain much, if not all, the necessary scientists and equipment.

A man of many enterprises, Mr. Kimmel, the son of a Philadelphia cab driver and now a billionaire, owns restaurants, a hotel, a movie production company and part of a professional basketball team.

His philanthropic foundation previously gave substantial grants to cancer centers in Philadelphia, San Diego and New York. Each of them now bears the name Kimmel -- as will the overall complex of cancer research and treatment centers at Hopkins.

A man who clearly knows how to invest his money, Mr. Kimmel was reportedly impressed with the productive relationship he found between the hospital and the state of Maryland as both attempt to make the most of the tobacco settlement, which will send about $33 million a year into Hopkins and the University of Maryland. This stream of cash from the tobacco settlement will help Maryland qualify as one of the National Cancer Institute's comprehensive cancer centers. Hopkins already has that designation.

This dramatic synergy will be enhanced by Mr. Kimmel's generosity.

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