Bill Gates is a tough act to follow, but one Los Angeles philanthropist is ready to fill those shoes - at least when it comes to healthcare. Thanks to a $4 million planning grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2008, the University of California launched its UC Global Health Institute. In 2011, the institute received an “anonymous” donation from another generous donor. We've since uncovered that this anonymous donor was Patrick Soon-Shiong. But Patrick didn't stop there. (Read Patrick Soon-Shiong's IP Profile)
The UC Global Health Institute just received yet another $4 million grant from the Chan Soon-Shiong Family. And this time, Patrick didn't even try to keep his name out of the papers. While the Gates Foundation has moved on to other projects, Soon-Shiong is still carrying the torch for global health in America.
UC's program might have “global health” in the title, but its programs have as much of a local focus as a global one. Soon-Shiong's money will be going toward campus and interdisciplinary research and education programs that improve the well-being of vulnerable people in California and overseas. (See Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation: Los Angeles Grants).
"We look at this gift not merely as a donation for today, but as a partnership for tomorrow," said Soon-Shiong. "The UC Global Health Institute has a distinguished legacy of working to cure the ill and enhance the well being of those in need the world over. Supporting the talented and dedicated individuals who enable the institute to do so — from the classroom to the lab — is a true honor."
Soon-Shiong's Twitter handle is @solvehealthcare, and despite the current state of healthcare in America, that's what he's still trying to do. Out of the $7 million available to UC faculty and students to pursue health research and service, more than half of that is coming from Soon-Shiong's pocket between now and 2017.
From Chinese descent, Soon-Shiong was born in South Africa and received surgical training from the University of British Columbia and UCLA. Besides pioneering groundbreaking treatments in cancer and diabetes, he's best known around town as the richest person in Los Angeles and part-owner of the L.A. Lakers.
So although the Gates got the ball rolling, Soon-Shiong is moving it forward. And while Gates has shifted his focus across the ocean, Soon-Shiong is applying global health solutions right here at home. The two men have very different strategies and priorities when it comes to grantmaking. For now, it seems that Soon-Shiong has ditched the anonymous cloak and stepped into the limelight. But will he follow Gates' lead once again?