Andy Sabin is concerned about the lack of federal funding to drive lifesaving cancer research. So the New York-based philanthropist and businessman recently did his part to bridge the growing gap, committing $30 million to MD Anderson. His motivation is straightforward: "I want to find a cure."
Beginning this year, the Andrew Sabin Family Fellowship Program will fund up to eight two-year research fellowships at $100,000 each. The program encourages creative, independent thinking and high-risk, high-impact research. Fellowships will be awarded annually, giving deserving early-career researchers at MD Anderson the means to strive toward their collective goal to end cancer.
"I wanted to provide a vehicle so that the best and brightest minds at the world's premier cancer center don't have to spend 50% of their time fundraising to sustain innovative projects," says Sabin, who has served on the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors since 2005 and is president of Sabin Metal Corporation, the largest privately owned precious metal refiner and recycler in the country. "Through this program, they have the opportunity to focus instead on important work that can truly help people who suffer from cancer."
The Andrew Sabin Family Foundation made more than 250 grants in 2015, and the MD Anderson contribution is its largest to date. An avid environmentalist and wildlife advocate, Sabin says he set up the family foundation to teach his four sons the importance of philanthropy, conservation and "giving back."
"Andy Sabin is my hero - a great philanthropist with a heart of gold. His vision will have a positive, far-reaching impact for generations to come."
Sabin's legacy includes not only the MD Anderson fellowship, but also four wildlife species bearing his name: two frogs in Peru and New Guinea, a lemur in Madagascar, and a chameleon in Tanzania.
"Having a species named after you ensures your name will live in perpetuity," says Sabin, who lost a loved one to cancer six years ago and is now "so aware" of the pain caused by the disease. "This fellowship program at MD Anderson will be there in perpetuity too. I hope one of the fellows comes up with a cure. It would make me very proud to know that this gift made a difference."