A landmark gift of $126 million to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center will accelerate breakthrough advances in finding cures for cancer and expand innovative treatment options for cancer patients. The groundbreaking donation – the single largest in the University of Miami’s 95-year history – will further propel Sylvester’s standing as one of the nation’s preeminent cancer centers.
The unrestricted donation was made in honor of Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., director of Sylvester and the Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. “I am truly humbled by the magnitude of this gift,” said Dr. Nimer. “I never expected to experience such immense generosity for simply answering the call to serve those in need.”
The gift is an anonymous bequest from a member of a family Dr. Nimer has known for decades. When facing several health challenges, including cancer, the family and those in their immediate network turned to Dr. Nimer for guidance and support.
“I’ve dedicated my life to excellence and serving the well-being of others,” said Dr. Nimer. “I now want to honor this donor. With a gift of this size, it’s our goal to maximize its impact, ensuring that we invest in programs and people who can change outcomes for as many patients as possible. That will mean a legacy that lasts for generations to come.”
To maximize the impact, the donation will serve as a matching gift to leverage additional contributions of $1 million or more to Sylvester. To date, philanthropists — including The Pap Corps Champions for Cancer Research, Paul J. DiMare and the DiMare family, Steven Dwoskin (Dwoskin Charitable Trust Foundation), Eric and Elizabeth Feder, and Annette de la Renta — have met the challenge, donating $21 million in total, to accelerate innovative cancer research and bolster endowment funds for faculty chairs.
This matching program will also establish a strong pool of resources for necessary infrastructure investments, including a new research facility to foster leading-edge scientific discovery and interdisciplinary collaboration.
Jayne S. Malfitano, president of the Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation board, and vice chair of Sylvester Board of Overseers, noted, “The donor saw in our institution, and in Dr. Nimer, in particular, the conviction and talent required to alleviate the suffering of so many battling cancer. I am grateful for the trust they had in our work.”
Ms. Malfitano’s involvement with Sylvester dates back more than 35 years when her father, Harcourt Sylvester, Jr., first pledged a multimillion-dollar naming gift to the University of Miami to build a cancer center in honor of his parents.
Based on the donor’s previous interest in Dr. Nimer’s research priorities in leukemia and stem cell transplantation, part of the gift will be dedicated to advancing research in cancer epigenetics at Sylvester’s newly formed experimental therapeutics program, led by world-renowned multiple myeloma expert, C. Ola Landgren, M.D., Ph.D.
The gift allowed Sylvester to recruit Dr. Landgren, who joined the Division of Hematology in November and has started building on the program’s breakthrough impact on cancer care. In addition, funds from the donation will support Sylvester’s continued efforts to attract and retain top-tier scientists and clinicians.
“Sylvester’s preeminent national reputation is due in part to the single-minded dedication our physician-scientists have to those they serve,” added Ms. Malfitano. “It is this compassion and excellence for care that makes Sylvester so special.”