Jerold B. Katz Foundation

Houston Methodist has received an extraordinary $21 million gift, a commitment that is primed to advance the pursuit of life-changing discoveries in the laboratory and could lead to innovative treatments for some of the world’s most critical health issues.

The gift from the Jerold B. Katz Foundation is the largest non-estate gift awarded in the institution’s nearly 100-year history. It focuses on medical research and its unlimited potential by providing the sustained resources needed to accelerate effective medical discoveries to the marketplace. In addition, it is an endorsement of Houston Methodist, which has been a leading provider of health care to generations of Houstonians as well as a center of research with a distinguished history of world-renowned medical breakthroughs.

 “We are honored by this unprecedented gift and are grateful for the generous, longtime support from the Katz family,” said Marc Boom, M.D., president and CEO of Houston Methodist. “The gift will provide significant resources to propel the rapid translation of medical discovery to transform patient care.”

The majority of the $21 million will establish the “Jerold B. Katz Academy of Translational Research,” which will initially endow eight Katz Investigators. While most philanthropic support is directed to research in a specific field, this gift is unique in that researchers from any medical specialty are eligible to apply to become Katz Investigators and receive funding for their translational research projects.

This extraordinary gift from the Katzes is primarily focused on helping to move along promising translational research projects and new technologies with commercial potential. The gift was designed as a lasting resource for Houston Methodist to continuously seed research and find better medications and treatments for patients.

“Our family believes in Houston Methodist – and in the promise of medical research,” said Evan H. Katz, a Trustee of the Jerold B. Katz Foundation. “There is no better way to encourage successful innovation and discovery than to bring together the best of the best, from different fields, to think outside of the box and then together bring never-before considered solutions to bear on the most vexing diseases facing humankind.”

The Katz gift provides funds to three new separate but collaborative areas of research, building upon the Houston Methodist Research Institute’s history of discovery and investment in research and facilities. The Jerold B. Katz Academy of Translational Research, featuring the Katz Investigators, will be created with a gift of $12 million. An additional $4 million will be endowed and utilized to ensure that laboratories remain state of the art with highly specialized research equipment. Also, the gift establishes a second Translational Research Initiative with $5 million, which is a matching fund that will support collaborative projects between researchers and clinicians already at Houston Methodist. The hospital will raise $5 million to match these funds, bringing the philanthropic impact of this contribution up to $26 million. 

“New medical therapies or drugs typically take two decades and billions of dollars to go from the research lab to the patient’s bedside,” said Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Houston Methodist Research Institute. “Our No. 1 focus is to get the most promising ideas to the clinic. This generous donation from the Katz Foundation can help speed the process and bring viable treatment options to patients across the spectrum of human health. Because of the way the Katz Foundation gift is structured, it also will stimulate a cross-pollination of ideas among clinicians and scientists to treat the world’s worst diseases and conditions.”

The Jerold B. Katz Foundation has provided millions in funding for medical research, particularly in brain injury, metabolic disorders, nursing and health care quality and outcomes research. 

“This contribution marks a pinnacle for our family,” Katz said. “It will provide a lasting resource to find better treatments, improve quality of life, and, ultimately, give hope to patients who previously had none.”