Largest-Ever Gift to UCSF Honors Philanthropist Helen Diller

$500M for Faculty, Students and Chancellor’s Priorities Creates Legacy Totaling $650M

By Jane Feledy Goodman and Claire Conway | UCSF.edu | January 12, 2017

Largest-Ever Gift to UCSF Honors Philanthropist Helen Diller

To honor and build on a lifetime of giving and charitable service by the late Helen Diller, the Helen Diller Foundation has granted $500 million to UC San Francisco, a university to which Helen was both generous and devoted. The gift will be the largest single donation in UCSF’s history and one of the largest ever to a U.S. university.

Helen’s renowned compassion and lifelong commitment to improving the world for future generations as a philanthropist, advocate and mentor has had a singular impact on UCSF and other higher education and charitable institutions.

The new gift is especially noteworthy for the unprecedented level of ongoing funding it will provide for the University’s world-class faculty and talented students. This investment in public education underscores Helen’s formative student experience, as she attended UC Berkeley and generously supported her alma mater and UCSF, along with Jewish communal needs, throughout her life.

Longtime Supporter of UCSF

My mother was dedicated to UCSF, and to many other programs aimed at improving the lives and well-being of others through education, science and the arts. I know this latest gift would be enormously gratifying to her.

Jackie Safier

President of the Helen Diller Foundation

This is the second time a grant in honor of Helen has made UCSF history. In 2003, the Helen Diller Foundation made a generous $35 million donation, a foundational investment in the University’s burgeoning presence at Mission Bay, to support what is now the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building and prostate cancer research. Though the gift resulted in a building bearing her name, for Helen, this recognition served only to inspire others to give.

Upon the gift’s announcement, Helen said, “Our family is extremely enthused about cancer research at UCSF. By supporting the new Mission Bay campus we are not only aiding the scientists researching a cure for this devastating disease, but we have been presented with the joy of participating in the development of an entirely new section of this very beautiful city.”

Since 2003, the Helen Diller Foundation has made significant annual gifts and provided for a permanent endowment for the Cancer Center in Helen’s honor. Those gifts have totaled more than $150 million.

“My mother was dedicated to UCSF, and to many other programs aimed at improving the lives and well-being of others through education, science and the arts. I know this latest gift would be enormously gratifying to her,” said Helen’s daughter, Jackie Safier, president of the Helen Diller Foundation and a member of the UCSF Foundation Board of Overseers.

‘Vision and Trust’ in UCSF’s Research Innovation

Helen enthusiastically supported the research of Urology chair Peter Carroll, MD, MPH, who through the years became a close family friend.

“Helen would have been astounded by the progress in cancer research and care that we have made in her name,” says Carroll, a member of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. “She was an inspiring partner, and as a faculty member, I am deeply grateful to the Foundation for this magnificent new gift that will allow faculty and students to spend their time pursuing groundbreaking discovery to transform the care of our patients at UCSF and around the world.”

“The forward-thinking commitment of the Diller Foundation to support great science and brilliant people is exactly what drew me to UCSF from London,” says Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS, president of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Gifts like this come from a place of vision and trust. Vision that we can and will change the state of things through research, and trust that we will gather the right people to do it,” Ashworth says. “We are thankful for the Foundation’s generosity and are committed to exceeding all it imagined we could achieve.”

 

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