Masonic Cancer Center

A comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute

April 2008 News Release

Masons give U of M $65 million for cancer research

AHCMCC2 - Image -220x140 - Masons April 2008 Press Release Event

During a press conference April 10, University President Robert Bruininks, Minnesota Medical Foundation President and CEO Becky Malkerson, and Minnesota Masonic Charities President and CEO Eric J. Neetenbeek signed the historic agreement. Back row, left to right: Frank Cerra, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences, Academic Health Center; Honorable Clyde Allen, vice chair of U of M Board of Regents; Grand Master Raymond G. Christensen, M.D., Grand Lodge of Minnesota; Chairman Mark Campbell, Minnesota Masonic Charities; Worthy Grand Matron Helen Johnson, Order of the Eastern Star; Director Douglas Yee, M.D., and Deputy Director Philip McGlave, M.D., Masonic Cancer Center; and Bruce Johnson, president, Masonic Cancer Center Fund Inc. (Photo by Mike Habermann)

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (April 10, 2008)—The University of Minnesota has received its largest gift ever—$65 million from Minnesota Masonic Charities—to the University of Minnesota Cancer Center. With this pledge, Masonic support of cancer research and care at the University of Minnesota over the past 53 years totals $100 million. In recognition of this record-breaking gift, the University of Minnesota Cancer Center will now be called the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.

"The Masonic Fraternity is proud to expand its partnership with the Masonic Cancer Center for a cure. The gift is new, but the giving is not," said Raymond G. Christensen, M.D., Grand Master of the state's nearly 17,000 Masons. (Read Raymond G. Christensen's full statement from the press conference.)

The new name of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota was unveiled at the press conference by Director Douglas Yee, M.D., (left) and Deputy Director Philip McGlave, M.D. (Photo by Mike Habermann)

"The Masons' legacy of giving to cancer research at the University of Minnesota has transformed our ability to find cures and better ways of preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer," said Robert Bruininks, president of the University of Minnesota.

The $65 million over 15 years will allow the Masonic Cancer Center to expand its work in a number of areas, including translating research to clinical applications for cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and expanding studies in cancer survivorship to better understand and address care for people living with cancer.

"Our continued partnership with Minnesota Masonic Charities and this extremely generous gift will allow us to take the Masonic Cancer Center to the next level," said Douglas Yee, M.D., director. "We will be able to significantly expand our capabilities in cancer research and treatment. We thank the Masons for their confidence in us."

Highlights of the Masons' legacy of support include $1 million to build the Masonic Memorial Hospital, which admitted its first patient in 1958. The building still stands today as a cancer clinic and general research building. Since then, Minnesota Masons and members of the Order of the Eastern Star have generously provided $35 million to support cancer research and patient care, including a $10 million pledge to build a new state-of-the-art cancer clinic. That four-story building, completed in 1996, is home to the newly renamed Masonic Cancer Center, one of just 39 comprehensive cancer centers recognized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI)—and the only one in the Twin Cities area. This highest level designation is awarded to institutions that make ongoing, significant advances in cancer research, treatment, and education.

The Masonic Cancer Center was founded in 1991 to provide a collaborative environment for researchers to work on the causes, prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer. Its several hundred members are some of the world's leaders in research on bone marrow transplantation, childhood cancers, cancers of the breast and bone, cancer genetics, tobacco research, immunology, new treatment development, and epidemiology.

Masons belong to the world's oldest and largest fraternal society. Minnesota Masonic Charities makes charitable contributions averaging nearly $5.6 million a year, as part of annual services totaling nearly $70 million. They made the current $65 million gift to the University through the Minnesota Medical Foundation, which raises funds for the University's Cancer Center, Medical School, School of Public Health and related areas in the Academic Health Center. 

About Minnesota Masonic Charities

Among the largest grant-making organizations in the state, Minnesota Masonic Charities (MMC) is the nonprofit charitable organizatio. of Minnesota Masonry. It promotes greater levels of Masonic charity by uniting and combining contributions to charitable causes, as well as directly aiding Masons, their families, and society, through its grants and services supporting social services health care, medical research and education. MMC's total charitable grants average nearly $5.6 million a year, as part of yearly services totaling nearly $70 million. These services include housing and health care for seniors, support for cancer research and treatment, preservation of the history of Freemasonry in Minnesota, scholarships for college students, and community support of youth, family and school programs throughout the state.

About the Masonic Cancer Center

The Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota is part of the University's Academic Health Center and is designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute for cancer research, treatment, and education. For more information about the Masonic Cancer Center, visit or call 612-624-2620.  

About the Minnesota Medical Foundation

Founded in 1939, the Minnesota Medical Foundation raises millions of dollars annually for health-related research, education and service at the University if Minnesota, with gifts supporting academic programs, research, faculty positions, scholarships, facilities and equipment purchases. Gifts directed to research fund studies related to public health, cancer, heart and lung disease, diabetes, neurological disorders, infectious diseases and other critical illnesses. For more information about the foundation, please call 612-625-1440 or visit  

Media Contacts:

Molly Portz, Academic Health Center, 612-625-2640
Joel Swanson, Risdall McKinney, representing the Minnesota Masonic Charities, 651-286-6774
Meredith McNab, Minnesota Medical Foundation, 612-625-0657

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