FUNDING AREAS: Health care, hospitals, medical in-patient care, medical school/education
CONTACT: (310) 836-6400
IP TAKE: Soon-Shiong is a master surgeon, inventor, and businessman. Due to the enormous amount of wealth he has gained for his medicine and scientific contributions, he's begun to give back to hospitals and research facilities in Los Angeles. The Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation grants typically go to big-name institutions that need a significant boost to cure humanity's worst diseases.
PROFILE: Not only has Patrick Soon-Shiong been coined a revolutionary for diabetes and cancer treatment, he's also one of the richest men in Los Angeles. In the medical world, he's best known for developing the first encapsulated islet cell transplantation treatment for diabetes and the first nanoparticle albumin-bound oncology drug approved by the FDA. He's been the mastermind behind dozens of inventive patents and written over a hundred scientific papers. In addition to running his own philanthropic foundation, Soon-Shiong leads the Chang Soon-Shiong Institute for Advanced Health, National LambdaRail, the Healthcare Transformation Institute, and NantWorks, LLC.
After graduating high school at age 16 and earning a medical degree at 23, Soon-Shiong earned a Masters in science from the University of British Columbia and emigrated to America in 1980 to become a board-certified surgeon. He acquired much of his wealth by inventing drugs to fight diabetes and cancer and then selling the companies that produced them, for nearly $9 billion. He and his wife, Michele Chan, were some of the first America to take the Giving Pledge alongside Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.
Most of Soon-Shiong's philanthropy has revolved around hospitals and research support in the Los Angeles area. He has recently given $135 million to Saint John's Health Center to build a biotech research center and sports medicine clinic and $100,000 million to help reopen the Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital. "When Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital closed, it left an already underserved community without access to adequate health care," said Soon-Shiong in a press release.
After giving $2.5 million to the City of Hope's Diabetes Research Center, he commented, “We don’t look at this merely as a donation, but as a partnership. This is an investment not merely in what City of Hope has done, but what they WILL do in the years ahead to address the causes and cures of this dreadful disease.” “The prospect of catalyzing the reopening of MLK is wonderfully exciting and consistent with the mission my wife and I set out for our foundation." General Wesley Clark, who has served with him on non-profit boards, told the Huffington Post, "There are few Patrick Soon-Shiongs in this world. A brilliant doctor, a great businessman and someone who is very patriotic. He understands what it means to give back to his country."
Although Soon-Shiong was born in South Africa to Chinese immigrant parents, he's been putting Los Angeles and the rest of the United States first when awarding grants. “I want to do transformational work to actually fix the world. But [I want] to fix things in our own country first,” he told Los Angeles Magazine. “America has been a land of opportunity for us, as it has for so many immigrants. We are proud to be Americans and we want to see our country strong and healthy,” he has said as well.
In his personal life, Soon-Shiong has been described as a diehard basketball fan. He owns about 5% of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, and Kobe Bryant even commented that, “He's not one of those owners who wants to be seen everywhere. He's just one of the fans.” Soon-Shiong announced in 2012 that he planned to buy AEG to build a $1.2 billion football stadium so that he could use National Football League team ownership as a platform to promote player wellness, youth mentoring, and sports medicine techniques.
Soon-Shiong is a little all over the board these days, but his passion for medicine, sports, philanthropy, and the city of Los Angeles are evident. He keeps his tightly-knit and strictly-focused foundation in the family with his wife, a former film and television actress, by his side. In the years ahead, Soon-Shiong's grantmaking will be focused on a national health information highway, hospital access for underserved Los Angeles populations, and medical research for the world's most devastating diseases. And while he has insisted that one day he will resume his career as a physician, we'll sure be watching to see how his philanthropy and his business ventures develop in the future.