| For Immediate Release
October 4, 2004
$1 Million Challenge Gift Seeks to Generate $5 Million for Campaign in Stem Cell Research Support
Philanthropists Jim and Virginia Stowers Offer Support for Campaign
(Los Angeles, CA) — Organizers of Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, today announced a $1 million campaign challenge gift by benefactors Jim and Virginia Stowers. The gift will be realized if the campaign raises an additional $4 million by Friday, October 15, 2004. The initiative, which will appear on the November 2 statewide ballot, would authorize the issuance of $3 billion in tax-free, state general obligation bonds to provide funding for stem cell research.
Prop 71 will support stem cell researh at California hospitals, medical schools and universities, to develop life-saving therapies and cures for diseases that could save the lives of millions of California children and adults. Scientists believe that stem cell research holds the promise to treat a multitude of diseases that include cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, ALS and spinal cord injuries. These diseases affect 128 million Americans, including a child or adult in nearly half of all California families.
In making the announcement, Jim and Virginia Stowers, founders of the Kansas City-based Stowers Institute for Medical Research, said that Prop. 71 provided them with an unusual opportunity. “Virginia and Ibelieve stem cell research is incredibly important. The chance to make a $1 million contribution in support of stem cell research that will hopefully generate an additional $4 million, toward creating a $3 billion fund for this research, presented us with a rare opportunity,” Jim Stowers said of his and his wife’s gift.
“Virginia and I have been privileged to establish an initial $1.6 billion endowment in Kansas City in support of biomedical research, with a commitment to doubling our current 600,000 square foot facility every decade, in perpetuity,” Stowers said. “With an investment of this magnitude, it’s rather easy to understand why the opportunity to give $1 million toward an effort that would generate $3 billion in stem cell research in another part of this country would carry such import for us. Our goal is simple: To make the United States a leading center of stem cell research. And we will applaud any effort, anywhere, that seeks to bring us closer to this vision.”
Jim and Virginia Stowers also took the opportunity to reinforce their unsurpassed commitment to the future growth of biomedical research at the Stowers Institute in Kansas City. “The Greater Kansas City area is home for us, and we are very optimistic that both Missouri and Kansas will encourage biomedical research institutions in their jurisdictions to be international leaders in stem cell research toward the great hope and great promise it offers for humankind.”
“We are very pleased to have received this challenge from the Stowers family, who have selflessly dedicated their lives to the advancement of critical medical research,” said Robert Klein, state chairman for Proposition 71. “Proposition 71 supporters are united in the conviction that stem cell research will unlock the mysteries to providing cures for some of our society’s most debilitating diseases.”
The Stowers Institute for Medical Research was founded in 1994 by Jim and Virginia Stowers, two cancer survivors, who are dedicated to supporting the basic research that will provide long-term solutions to gene-based diseases. Jim Stowers is also Founder and Chairman of American Century Investments. Jim and Virginia Stowers reside in Kansas City, Missouri and maintain a second home in La Jolla, California.
Prop 71 has also drawn a broad and diverse coalition of grassroots supporters that also include Nobel Prize-winning scientists and medical experts, more than 100 state and local elected officials, faith-based organizations, families involved in patient advocacy and efforts to cure diseases, and organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association California Council, California Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, California Medical Association, American Nurses Association of California, American Diabetes Association, Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California, ALS Therapy Development Foundation, Parkinson’s Action Network, California Congress of Seniors, and the National Coalition for Cancer Research (NCCR). A complete list of endorsing organizations can be found on the campaign’s website, www.YesOn71.com.
Prop 71 was developed by a coalition of California families and medical experts determined to close the stem cell research funding gap. Currently, our state has no effective mechanism to fund stem cell research and political roadblocks have severely limited federal funding for some of the most promising types of stem cell research.
More information on Prop can be obtained at www.YesOn71.com.