Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) has received the largest single donation in its history, a remarkable $400 million, from billionaires Ken Griffin and David Geffen. The announcement, made on December 12, 2023, marks a historic moment for the New York-based cancer treatment and research institution.

Griffin, the founder and CEO of Citadel, and Geffen, founder of The David Geffen Foundation, revealed this generous contribution to Good Morning America. Expressing their commitment, Griffin stated, “David and I are honored to support MSK’s incredible physicians and scientists advancing breakthroughs in research and treatment and the outstanding nurses and staff who dedicate their lives to providing compassionate care to those impacted by this disease.”

MSK spokesperson Annik Allen explains that this substantial donation will be allocated to three critical areas: bolstering the center’s staff of 20,000, incorporating new technologies such as robotics, and constructing state-of-the-art facilities to provide premier care.

The Chair of MSK’s Board of Trustees, Scott M. Stuart, emphasized the transformative nature of this gift. “This extraordinary gift will support MSK’s physicians and scientists as they make life-changing discoveries that will lead to new cancer therapies and improved treatments, not only for our own patients but for people across the globe,” he stated.

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President and CEO of MSK Selwyn M. Vickers, MD, FACS, echoed these sentiments, expressing profound gratitude for the donation. “For more than a century, our commitment to exceptional patient care has put the MSK community in the unique position to lead the world toward better access to care, treatment options, and outcomes,” Vickers remarked. “We are very grateful for their support of our mission to end cancer for life.”

Both Griffin and Geffen’s philanthropic histories are notable. Griffin has previously donated a total of $1.6 billion to various causes, including significant contributions to Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the University of Chicago’s economics department, and the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Geffen’s past donations include a $150 million pledge to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and substantial gifts to the University of California Los Angeles’s medical school and the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, institutions that now bear his name.

The donation arrives at a pivotal moment in cancer care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of Americans with cancer is expected to rise by 50% between 2015 and 2050, primarily due to demographic shifts. The funding from Griffin and Geffen ensures that MSK can expand its clinical services, bolster prevention and surveillance programs, and advance the development of cutting-edge technologies for the early detection and ongoing treatment of cancer.

Highlighting the broader impact, Geffen stated, “It’s our sincere hope that this combined gift will inspire others and enable MSK to continue to build on its reputation as one of the top cancer care providers and research centers in the world.”

The historical impact of philanthropy on MSK’s advancements in cancer treatment is significant. The center has pioneered many cancer treatments, including the first chemotherapy drugs and immune-based treatments, largely supported by philanthropic funds.

This generous donation is not just a testament to the philanthropic spirit of Griffin and Geffen but also a beacon of hope for millions affected by cancer globally. It promises to catalyze advancements in cancer research and treatment, thereby changing the course of cancer care for future generations.