Big Medical Gift

Houston Methodist receives $21 million gift aimed at getting medical discoveries to patients faster

Family gives Houston Methodist $21 millon to spur innovative research

Nicole Katz, Evan Katz at Methodist Hospital
Evan Katz, president of the Jerold B. Katz Foundation, and wife Nicole. Photo by Richard Carson

Houston Methodist has received the largest non-estate donation in its history — a $21 million gift from the Houston-based Jerold B. Katz Foundation. It will be used to accelerate medical discoveries and innovative treatments to the marketplace.

“Our family believes in Houston Methodist – and in the promise of medical research,” Evan Katz, president of the Jerold B. Katz Foundation, said in a statement. “There is no better way to encourage successful innovation and discovery than to bring together the best of the best, from different fields, to think outside of the box and then together bring never-before considered solutions to bear on the most vexing diseases facing humankind.”

Around $12 million of the donation will establish the Jerold B. Katz Academy of Translational Research, which will initially fund eight investigators focused on shortening the time it takes to get medical discoveries from the laboratory to the patient. Researchers from any medical specialty are eligible to apply for funding.

An additional $4 million endowment will go towards state-of-the-art laboratories with highly specialized research equipment. Around $5 million will be used to support collaborative projects between researchers and clinicians already at Houston Methodist. 

The hospital will raise an additional $5 million, bringing the philanthropic impact of the contribution to $26 million.

The Jerold B. Katz Foundation has provided millions in funding for medical research, particularly in brain injury, metabolic disorders, nursing and health care quality and outcomes research. The Houston-based foundation has a long history of contributing to such medical projects, spurred on after Jerold Katz's son, Lenny Katz, suffered severe head trauma in a car accident in 1989.

It has previously donated funds for research projects at Houston Methodist Hospital and The University of Texas Health Science Center School of Nursing. It also gave $5 million to the Kinkaid School in 2012, the largest donation in the private school's history, and funded the renovation of outdoor play spaces at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center.

Jerold Katz, 85, is chairman of the Board of GC Services Limited Partnership, the largest privately-held outsourcing provider of call center management and collection agency services in North America.

He was unable to attend a luncheon on Wednesday where Methodist officials announced the gift, but was represented by his wife, Judith Katz, his son Evan Katz, who is also a member of the Houston Methodist Research Institute board of directors, Evan's wife Nicole Katz, and her parents, Zora and Bradley Spevak. Representing Houston Methodist were president and CEO Dr. Marc Boom, and Dr. Mauro Ferrari, president and CEO of the Houston Methodist Research Institute.