UCSF Receives $500 Million From Helen Diller Foundation

UCSF Receives $500 Million From Helen Diller Foundation

The University of California, San Francisco has announced a $500 million gift from the Helen Diller Foundation.

Made in recognition of Helen Diller's lifetime of philanthropy and support for the university, the largest single gift in UCSF history — and one of the largest ever made to an American university — will establish three endowments in Diller's name, including $100 million to create an endowment for Helen Diller Distinguished Professorships, which will be awarded to established UCSF faculty rising into leadership positions and/or stellar senior faculty recruited from other institutions. An additional $100 million will provide start-up funding for the Helen Diller Faculty Scholars program, which will support early- and mid-career scientists with at least $150,000 annually. And $200 million will be used to provide Helen Diller Scholarships to students in UCSF's schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy, enabling many of them to graduate with a minimal amount of debt.

The remaining $100 million will be used to create an unrestricted Innovation Fund that can be drawn on, over time, at the discretion of UCSF's current and future chancellors. "Unrestricted funds give me the flexibility and agility to respond to the rapid changes in the health sciences," said UCSF chancellor Sam Hawgood. "These funds will seed areas that will redefine the future of health care and could support priorities ranging from genomic surgery to cell engineering, from immunotherapy to microbiome research, and from neuro-technology to next-generation diagnostics for infectious and inflammatory diseases."

Born and raised in San Francisco, Diller was active in philanthropic and educational causes and institutions throughout her life, and this new gift is the second time a gift in her honor has been made to the university, following a $35 million donation in 2003. For her tireless and visionary work, Diller received the Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Golden Gate Chapter in 2002, and the UCSF Medal posthumously several months after she died in 2015.

"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," said Helen Diller Foundation president Jackie Safier. "I know this latest gift would be enormously gratifying to her."

"Largest-Ever Gift to UCSF Honors Philanthropist Helen Diller." University of California, San Francisco Press Release 01/11/2017.