Wanda Jankelson Foundation for Health Care and Research Makes $500,000 Challenge Gift to the Marsha Rivkin Center
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE • March 3, 2010
In a landmark contribution to the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research, the Wanda Jankelson Foundation for Health Care and Research has made a $500,000 "challenge" gift to help advance innovative research in ovarian cancer. The challenge gift, intended to encourage $500,000 in matching gifts from other donors during the 2010 calendar year, will be used to increase the overall volume of Pilot Study and Scholar Award grants made available through the Rivkin Center to leading research investigators both nation-wide and internationally.
"The Jankelson family's gift will greatly transform our organization's ability to tackle the scientific issues that will lead to more rapid advances in ovarian cancer treatment and detection," said Saul Rivkin, M.D., founder and chairman of the Rivkin Center. "This is a remarkable moment for us. This is one of the largest gifts the Center has received, and it will undoubtedly inspire many in the community to invest in our effort."
In memory of his wife's eleven-year battle with ovarian cancer, Roland Jankelson, along with his son Michael Jankelson and daughter Kimberly Woods, established the Wanda Jankelson Foundation for Health Care and Research. "We have tremendous confidence in the Rivkin Center. The growing list of national and international research talent involved in their program is truly impressive and inspiring," said Mr. Jankelson. "I truly believe that we are on the brink of making significant discoveries toward the treatment of a disease that for too long has seen little progress. But it will take an increased commitment from the scientific and philanthropic communities to get there. It is our greatest hope that our gift proves a catalyst for others to join us in supporting a fight that so greatly needs attention."
The Jankelson Foundation's gift is timely because the Marsha Rivkin Center has recently enacted a five-year strategic plan, a key element of which calls for incrementally increasing the monetary size of individual research grant awards to encourage more investigators to participate. "The focus of our program is translational. In other words, we strive to jump start novel ideas that in the near term will have the likelihood of impacting the lives of ovarian cancer patients," said Clint Burwell, executive director of the Rivkin Center. "The more promising ideas and directions that we can help to foster, the greater the potential for a breakthrough."
Both young and established investigators struggle to find funding for innovative approaches to address scientific questions because their new ideas may not yet be in the scientific mainstream. With few options available for national pilot study funding in ovarian cancer, the Rivkin Center's research grants provide a unique and vital source of support. Many Rivkin Center-funded studies have led to larger, federally funded research initiatives and have added seminal contributions to the growing body of knowledge about ovarian cancer.
"The Marsha Rivkin Center gives researchers the ability to jump-start novel research ideas focused on understanding ovarian cancer by providing funding to generate critical preliminary research data. Including high quality preliminary data in research grant proposals significantly increases that chance of further support. Marsha Rivkin Center provides that crucial bridge from idea to major grant funding," says Nora Disis, M.D., Associate Dean for Translational Health Sciences in the University of Washington School of Medicine.
"The Jankelson family's commitment will be pivotal to our efforts to get the best and brightest researchers to pay even greater attention to the problem of ovarian cancer," continues Mr. Burwell. "This challenge gift will also provide a powerful incentive for greater public participation. We are all so grateful and fortunate to have this remarkable family within our community."
Contact: Ed Boyle, 206-386-2748; .
About the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research
Since its inception in 1996, the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research has been a major catalyst for national and international research efforts aimed at finding solutions to ovarian cancer. A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the Marsha Rivkin Center looks beyond institutional boundaries and works collaboratively to find a cure for ovarian cancer. Founded by renowned Swedish Cancer Institute medical oncologist Saul Rivkin, M.D., in memory of his wife who succumbed to ovarian cancer, the Marsha Rivkin Center is a joint partnership between Swedish Medical Center and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The Center is dedicated to saving lives and reducing suffering through improved treatment, early detection and prevention of ovarian cancer. For more information visit www.marsharivkin.org or call (206) 215-6200.