In a show of support for the innovative partnership between Henry Ford Health and Michigan State University, Detroit philanthropists Ron and Heather Boji have made a foundational donation of $5 million. The philanthropic support is intended to help fund the new Health Sciences Center for joint research work.
The donation was announced this week during a reception at the Bojis’ home in Orchard Lake. Officials from each institution came together to celebrate the donation and discuss future plans for the partnership.
“Henry Ford Health and Michigan State University entered into our historic partnership to be a catalyst for change,” said Wright Lassiter, President and CEO of Henry Ford Health. “Together our organizations have the collective knowledge, skills and drive to usher in a new era of medical education and research excellence which will transform how people receive and experience care. We take one step closer to achieving our ambitious goals thanks to the profound generosity of Henry Ford Foundation Board member and MSU alumnus, Ron Boji.”
The partners have accelerated the planning and design for the new joint research building that tightly aligns basic and translational research, fueling innovation and discovery through an academically and clinically integrated network of health care providers, scientists, academics, and public health practitioners.
“This is an exciting next step in the partnership between Michigan State University and Henry Ford Health,” said President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “We cannot thank Ron and Heather enough for their leadership and setting an example of how best to help improve healthcare access and support a transformational research program that will work to serve everyone in our state. The advancement and discovery that comes from our two organizations joining will impact academic and clinical opportunities and serve as a model for the entire nation. Our new joint facility will be the epicenter of this work, and the Boji’s gift is the first step in making it a reality. Their dedication to our effort is greatly appreciated.”
A shared building will allow consolidation of Henry Ford Health and MSU research activities and provide critical space for recruitment. Architectural planning is underway with a hopeful completion date of 2025. Plans for the exact location of the building are still being finalized but it will be constructed on Henry Ford Health’s Detroit campus footprint, south of W. Grand Blvd.
“Both institutions hold a special place in our family’s heart,” expressed Ron Boji, President and CEO of Boji Group. “The incredible care and compassion of Henry Ford Health helped aid my father’s recovery from a stroke, and MSU gave me the foundation that helped build Boji Group alongside my father. Heather and I are so excited that two of our daughters have decided to attend college there as well, one as a student in the same construction management program I graduated from.”
Another major partnership component includes a fully integrated cancer program, which will combine research and clinical applications to create a national and international destination for access to the most advanced cancer therapies and research, including a joint effort to achieve National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation.
“This remarkable gift is a true cause for celebration,” said Mary Jane Vogt, Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer at Henry Ford Health. “We are profoundly grateful to Heather and Ron Boji for making the first major philanthropic commitment towards our incredible partnership with MSU. The generosity of the Boji family and their passion for both organizations sets an inspiring example of how our generous donors are accelerating innovation.”
Additionally, with both institutions sharing a long history of and commitment to healthcare education and training, MSU and Henry Ford will expand education opportunities for physicians, nurses and other health care professionals, focused on diversity, recruitment and retention, and revolutionized training models.