Robert Arnold's vision
An extraordinary gift of $15 million to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center by a retired Seattle banker is a revealing tale of philanthropy...
An extraordinary gift of $15 million to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center by a retired Seattle banker is a revealing tale of philanthropy.
Robert Arnold's generosity of spirit is certainly obvious. The former executive with Seattle-First National Bank presented the center with its largest private donation ever. The Hutch's good fortune was part of a much longer story between Arnold and the respected research institution. Each had nurtured a relationship built over years of fruitful association and deep ties that intertwined the two as an extended family.
Arnold is a 76-year-old cancer survivor who knows firsthand the toll the disease can take. His mother, father and brother succumbed to the disease. As explained by Times medical reporter Warren King, Arnold's mother was a founder of Pacific Northwest Research Foundation, a precursor of the Hutchinson Center. Arnold followed his father onto the center board.
Arnold, who came from a family of bankers, had professional and community ties not only deep but schooled by family example.
Beyond the size of the donation, the marvel of Arnold's contribution is its unrestricted nature. Fund-raisers find it harder to raise money not connected to a specific project or use, and preferably something with room for a plaque.
Arnold's intimate knowledge of how research builds on itself, and the patience behind the success of the Hutch, gave him the confidence to make an open-ended gift. He knew the first dollars for the most speculative phase of a new, hopeful medical pursuit are the hardest to find. His gift will be pooled with a $10 million contribution of last year from a California donor to fuel new research.
The Hutch is part of a dynamic that draws patients from around the world for treatment, and attracts world-class professionals to learn, teach and heal. Their success and the sense of unfettered opportunity inspire others to investigate what Seattle has to offer. Part of the environment is a rich tradition of philanthropy.
"All our hopes," Arnold said, "are to cure cancer and I think it's going to happen." The cure will come sooner than later because of Arnold's generosity and vision.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.
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