Transformative gift for research on brain health

The University of Minnesota has announced a $35 million gift from Minnesota Masonic Charities, the University’s largest single donor. This contribution will establish and name the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain, an interdisciplinary initiative focused on the early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders in early childhood and adolescence.

Led by the University’s Medical School and College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), the institute will bring together teams of researchers and clinicians who study how the brain grows and develops during early childhood and adolescence—formative years when the brain is most receptive to positive intervention.

Working together under one roof at the site of the former Shriners Healthcare for Children campus in Minneapolis, experts will tackle such disorders as autism, ADHD, cognitive delays, drug addiction, and severe depression, conditions that can often be identified early and have lifelong consequences.

“Our long-standing partnership with the University of Minnesota aligns with our mission to make meaningful contributions to society,” says Eric Neetenbeek, president and CEO of Minnesota Masonic Charities. “The Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain is another example of how we can unite the incredible expertise of the University with the capacity of Minnesota Masonry to benefit our entire state and, indeed, the world.”

University of Minnesota President Joan T. A. Gabel, who has made student mental health one of her top priorities, believes the support will improve lives when it matters most. “Early support of brain health sets the stage for everything to come in life,” she said. “Thanks to the Masons’ transformative gift, the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain will help ensure that children have the strongest start for a safe, happy and productive life.”

In addition to the lead gift from Minnesota Masonic Charities, the University has received generous philanthropic investments in the new institute from the Lynne & Andrew Redleaf Foundation, Otto Bremer Trust, Blythe Brenden-Mann Foundation, and Drs. Gail A. Bernstein and Thomas J. Davis Trust.

The institute is slated to open at its East River Parkway location in fall 2021.

Read more about the gift.

Learn about all the ways Minnesota Masonic Charities partners with the University of Minnesota to build a healthier future.

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