The Frog Wasn't Enough: Now There's a Cancer Fellowship Named for This Funder

We've written about Andrew Sabin before, a Republican donor and owner of a precious metals refiner. Last year, we reported on his $3.5 million gift to support legal strategies to fight climate changewhich is not the kind of gift you see every day from a guy who also writes checks to the GOP. The money went to Columbia Law School to expand the school’s Center for Climate Change Law, which will develop legal techniques to fight developers over environmental issues and otherwise combat climate change. 

Related: The Republican Metals Magnate Fighting Climate Change Through the Courts

Sabin is also known for his commitment to conservation and biodiversity, giving generously in recent years to protect nature and the creatures that swim, climb and hop around in it. There are even two frog species named after him, as well as a variety of lemur and a chameleon. You know you've made it when you have your own amphibian.

But recently, Sabin gave tens of millions of dollars to protect another threatened species: people. The Andrew Sabin Family Foundation has made a $30 million gift to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, to support a broad range of research. Sabin and his family have given before to health research, among several other causes, but this new grant is the foundation's largest ever.

MD Anderson is one of the country's and the world's top centers for cancer research and care. The gift establishes the Andrew Sabin Family Fellowship Program, as well as an endowment that in its first year will fund up to eight two-year research fellowships at $100,000 each. The program will support cancer researchers generating fundamental science, as well as investigators conducting translational and population research.

"I wanted to provide a vehicle so that highly qualified researchers at the world's premier cancer center don't have to spend 50 percent of their time fundraising in order to sustain innovative projects," said Sabin, in a press release. He has served on the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors since 2005.

Response from Aphantophryne sabini, the New Guinea frog species with close ties to Sabin, was muted.

Applications for the inaugural round of fellowships through the Sabin program, to be announced in early 2016, are currently being accepted.

The Andrew Sabin Family Foundation doesn't appear to have a website, but in a recent year, it had about $14.3 million in assets, and during that year gave almost $2.9 million in 245 grants. Areas of interest have included cancer, children and youth services, the environment, health organizations, higher education and Jewish agencies.