Celebrating 25 years of scientific philanthropy

From left to right: Fred Hartwig, Jim Stowers Jr.,
Bill Dunn Sr.

From left to right: Shawsie Branton, Virginia Stowers, Jeanette Nichols

From left to right: Anoja Perera, Dan Blegen
Jim Maliszewski, Samuel Goller

From left to right: Susan Creidenberg,
Jan Creidenberg, Tyler Benson, Stacy Benson, Ashley Fritz

More than two hundred guests gathered at the Stowers Institute on April 19 to celebrate Jim and Virginia Stowers’ extraordinary generosity and unwavering belief in the power of basic biomedical research to generate new therapies, prevent suffering and save lives.

A quarter century ago, when Jim Stowers was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he applied the same determination and tenacity that had helped him launch the world’s most successful mutual fund company to conquering his cancer. He pursued an aggressive treatment that left him cancer-free but also with concerns about those who might not find the right treatment or have the same access to early detection of the disease. Determined to find a way to help, Jim and Virginia established the Stowers Foundation to fund free prostate exams for early detection of cancer.

Only a few years later, Virginia’s own battle with breast cancer reinforced the couple’s decision to pursue an audacious vision: to build the world’s most innovative basic biomedical research institute, filled with brilliant minds from all over the globe and the most advanced scientific equipment, working to discover the secrets held by genes, and set the stage for the development of new treatments for a wide range of diseases.

“Barely two decades later, Jim and Virginia’s vision has become a remarkable reality,” said Scientific Director Robb Krumlauf, PhD, who helped shape the institute’s scientific direction from day one. “The success of the Institute is a direct result of their generous philanthropy.”

The magnitude of the Stowers’ giving was perhaps most obvious to the celebrants who were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the institute led by the scientists engaged in the cutting-edge science that has made the Stowers Institute a worldwide powerhouse for biomedical research. The visitors looked in amazement through a microscope at a cellular protein that may provide answers to why cancer migrates and spreads, marveled at the fly-flipping robot that transfers thousands of flies from vial to fresh vial each week and listened in fascination as they learned that the latest generation of sequencing machines can read the entire human genome in one week’s time.

Throughout the evening’s festivities, guests offered their congratulations to Jim and Virginia on their milestone of achievement. All agreed, as one well-wisher shared, “There really is no more fitting tribute to this philanthropic couple than this amazing facility and the research that is being conducted here at Stowers.