Behind a Big Gift to a Top Philadelphia Hospital

It’s some mighty lean times for big research hospitals these days. Time was, most anyone doing medical research could count on at least some measure of support from the federal government. But that's changing, thanks to budget cuts and sequestration, and hospitals are forced to rely more and more on the deep pockets of wealthy donors.

So it’s a good thing that folks like Raymond G. Perelman exist. He’s the father of prominent Revlon tycoon Ronald Perelman, and an accomplished philanthropist in his own right. While Ronald has conducted much of his giving through the NYC-based Perelman Family Foundation, dear old dad prefers to make his gives independently, as in 2007, when he donated $25 million to his alma mater the University of Pennsylvania for the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, or when he gave Penn another $225 million, and had Penn’s medical school named after him.

Last month, Perelman gave $50 million to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, or CHOP, which will name an eight-acre portion of its University City campus in his honor. The gift is among the biggest the hospital has ever received, bringing Perelman’s total announced donations in the Philadelphia region to $339 million. Children's said it would use Perelman's $50 million to establish the Raymond G. Perelman Research Fund to support a Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics, Perelman Scholars, a Fund for Research Innovation, the Perelman Endowed Chair in Pediatric Ophthalmology, and general research.

"Anyone who has spent any length of time in the city of Philadelphia, as I and my family members have, knows that CHOP is the best in the world," said Perelman, 97. "I consider myself fortunate to be able to enhance one of our greatest resources even further."

One place where CHOP is a leader is in research related to pediatrics, including work that "facilitates rapid translation of pre-clinical discoveries into clinical application." It's among the few programs of this kind in the country. Now it's likely to be an even bigger program.