NY Robertson Foundation backs cancer center

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 14, 2012

A foundation established by Salisbury native Julian H. Robertson has committed $50 million to New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in honor of Robertson’s late wife, Josie.
Josie Robertson, who died in 2010, had been a board member of the cancer center.
The Robertson Foundation commitment — Julian Robertson established a separate Salisbury foundation in honor of his parents in 1997 — will help to undertake two initiatives: the Josie Robertson Surgery Center and the Josie Robertson Investigators Program.
A press release, issued in December, says the initiatives will have a significant impact on the quality of care provided at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and on its research enterprise.
The Robertson Foundation in New York was established in 1996 by Josie and Julian Robertson, along with their family.
The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Josie Robertson Surgery Center will be a 16-story building, to be constructed on York Avenue between East 61st and East 62nd streets.
Designed by the architectural firm Perkins Eastman, it will feature 12 operating rooms equipped to provide today’s most technologically sophisticated surgical care on an outpatient basis.
The new 179,000-square-foot outpatient surgical facility is scheduled for completion in 2015.
The Josie Robertson Investigators Program at Memorial-Sloan Kettering will support the recruitment of exceptional young physicians and scientists who, early in their careers, have attained significant insights into cancer and devised innovative approaches to prevention and treatment.
These entrepreneurial researchers will pursue important emerging concepts, with the ultimate goal of translating them into reality. There will be 10 Josie Robertson Investigators appointed during the first five years of the program, and each appointment will last for five years.
“We are deeply grateful to the Robertson Foundation and the entire Robertson family,” said Craig B. Thompson, president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
“By supporting initiatives that focus on high-quality cancer treatment as well as today’s most creative research, the foundation has provided the means to honor Josie Robertson in a way that goes to the heart of this institution’s mission.”
A native of San Antonio, Josie Robertson was elected to Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Board of Overseers in 2004. Her involvement with Memorial Sloan-Kettering was just one of her many civic and philanthropic activities, which included service as chairman of The Classroom Inc. Council for Learning and as a director and member of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
She worked with her husband, a legendary hedge fund investor, to support a range of causes in education, medical research and other areas. The couple were married for 38 years and raised three sons.
“Josie was a very special person who excelled in all that she undertook, as a wise colleague on the board, a kind, and gracious friend, and so much more,” said Douglas A. Warner III, chairman of the Boards of Overseers and Managers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
“All of us at Memorial Sloan-Kettering thank the Robertson Foundation for helping us to honor Josie in a way that is worthy of the brave and wonderful person she was and all that she accomplished.”
In Salisbury, the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation was chartered in the fall of 1997 with an initial gift of $15 million from Julian Robertson Jr., who lives in New York.
His parents, Blanche S. and Julian H. Robertson Sr., were longtime residents and civic leaders of Salisbury.
Since its creation, Robertson has increased his gifts to the local foundation by an additional $21 million. The foundation has a current operating investment base of $18.4 million.
Over the years, it has given close to $25 million to schools and community organizations.