The Oklahoma Masonic Charity Foundation announced this week it will donate $1 million to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation to help build and equip an Alzheimer’s Disease Laboratory on the medical foundation’s property in Oklahoma City. Ken House, President of the Masonic Foundation, remarked that “there’s hardly a person in our state who has not had a family member, or someone they know, who has been devastated by this tragic and crippling illness. Our own fraternity has its share of members whose productive lives have been shortened because of this awful disease. We are proud to assist the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in their cutting edge efforts to find workable treatments for this terrible malady.”
The gift comes at a landmark time for the OMRF, which is currently embarking on the largest expansion of research space in the foundation’s 62-year history. It recently acquired the Keys Speech and Hearing building from the University of Oklahoma. That property was situated in the middle of the medical foundation’s research campus. The acquisition will enable the foundation to build an 8-story research tower which is scheduled to be ready for occupancy by 2011. The new facility will provide over 200,000 square feet of new laboratory space and facilities. Funding for the construction of the tower has already been secured.
The Masonic Foundation’s grant will construct and equip one of the 8 floors of the new tower to be dedicated to Alzheimer’s research. The floor will be named the “Masonic Charity Foundation Alzheimer’s Disease Laboratory.” The Masons’ funding will not only provide scientific equipment necessary for scientists to focus their efforts on understanding the cellular processes which lead to the development of Alzheimer’s, it will offer recruitment packages for attracting new scientists, salaries for technical assistants, and laboratory supplies essential to Alzheimer’s research.
This is a public/private partnership of magnificent proportion. With the building of the new research tower, the Masons will be partnering with the state of Oklahoma through the state’s Opportunity Fund, along with many of the largest corporate and family foundations in Oklahoma. Our collective dream is to be able to add to the already remarkable achievements being made by the Medical Research Foundation in the field of Alzheimer’s research. Together, we will be aiding and attracting some of the best scientists in the country to explore new techniques for treating a disease that steals the memories—and ultimately the lives–of more than 4 million people in the United States every year.
That’s a dream worth owning.