Sealy & Smith Foundation Pledges $200 Million to University of Texas Medical Branch

The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston has received a $200 million commitment from the Sealy & Smith Foundation to help the center recover from Hurricane Ike and avoid relocation, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.

Last year, Ike caused about $1 billion in damage to UTMB, closing most of the hospital system for months. In light of that damage and the high costs of caring for a large number of uninsured patients on Galveston Island, a consulting firm recommended in February that the medical branch be relocated inland. Since then, UTMB has received a total of $1.4 billion from the foundation, the UT system, and state and federal matching funds.

The money from Sealy & Smith, which will be paid over fifteen years, will support improvements to the John Sealy Hospital and construction of a new Jennie Sealy Hospital. The Sealy & Smith Foundation was created in the 1920s to support UTMB.

"We had never worked directly with the legislature on anything like this," said Sealy & Smith Foundation executive director Mike Doherty, "but we got together and said, 'How can we form a partnership to get this back to being strong again and keep it on the Gulf Coast?' "

Caroline Preston. "Medical Center Damaged by Hurricane Ike Wins $200-Million Grant." Chronicle of Philanthropy 09/10/2009.