$66 million gift announced for Cambridge Tower project at KU hospital

The Sunderland Foundation today announced that it is giving $66 million to the University of Kansas Health System for an inpatient care unit in Cambridge Tower A.

According to a KU Health System news release, it is the largest gift ever given to the health system. The Cambridge Tower is at 39th and State Line Road in Kansas City, Kansas.

Patients on these three currently unoccupied floors of the Cambridge Tower will receive care by the blood and marrow transplant program, division of hematologic malignancies and cellular therapy.

The gift will complete Cambridge Tower A, surpassing the fundraising goal of $100 million in 2014, according to the news release.

“Charlie Sunderland and his family didn’t just complete our capital campaign, they have transformed this health system forever,” Greg Graves, board chair, The University of Kansas Hospital Authority said in the news release. Graves and his wife Deanna chaired the $100 million campaign. “We love fundraising that really moves the needle forward, and the hospital always meets that priority for us,” Deanna added. “This gift from Charlie Sunderland and his family epitomizes the generosity and vision we so appreciate from them.”

The Sunderland Foundation helped seed the campaign when it began with a $2 million gift. “We primarily make contributions to nonprofit construction projects where people in distress can find hope and healing,” Charlie Sunderland said. “Construction is our vehicle, but we’re really investing in people.”

Charlie Sunderland has served on the Hospital Authority Board for many years and also chairs the Quality and Safety Committee.

“We feel very comfortable in making this grant which will be used well to help a lot of people and improve the quality of lives for years to come,” he said.

“It’s hard to find the words to say ‘thank you’,” Bob Page, president and chief executive officer of The University of Kansas Health System, said. “Our medical teams and support staff have built world-class BMT/HMCT programs to treat patients. This enormous gift by The Sunderland Foundation reflects the confidence and faith Charlie, Kent and their family hold for the health system. It’s a great honor.”

Page said the new space will further differentiate the health system by expanding inpatient treatment and care facilities along with a family center and patient education center, to create a holistic care experience particularly important in immunotherapy treatments like BMT and HMCT that can require significant inpatient time.

BMT treats patients with blood cancers and disorders, such as leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and sickle cell disease. In 2018, more than 60,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia in the United States. In the past 10 years, The University of Kansas Health System program has more than doubled the number of stem cell transplants performed annually, achieving national recognition as one of the largest and most successful BMT and Acute Leukemia programs in the country. HMCT is at the center of cancer care including the development of a robust Translational Science Research and CAR-T/Cellular Therapy Program.

“The Sunderland Foundation grant will help meet a critical need for our patients who currently receive care from multiple locations,” Dr. Joseph McGuirk, division director, HMCT said. “This new dedicated space will allow us to treat more than 2,500 patients over the next 10 years in an environment that ultimately will bring our full multi-disciplinary team onto the same campus improving the patient experience and outcomes.”

“It’s remarkable what the Sunderland Foundation has done for this community with their gift,” Tammy Peterman, president of Kansas City operations and executive vice president, chief operating officer, chief nursing officer for The University of Kansas Health System, said. “They are visionaries. This gift is transformative because it will impact the lives of the sickest of the sick for generations to come. We are forever grateful to Charlie Sunderland and his family for this gift, and to Greg and Deanna Graves for their leadership of our Cambridge campaign.”

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