Protecting health and quality of life is an important part of T. Boone Pickens’ legacy. The Foundation has contributed to a wide range of initiatives and organizations that improve medical treatment and overall health. From his days as an overachieving Texas high school basketball player to his lifelong commitment to fitness, Pickens espoused that good health does not just happen. “To achieve and maintain it requires individual effort. Such effort is particularly essential for individuals holding jobs that do not require physical labor. Anyone will deteriorate physically sitting at a desk with no regular physical exercise.” His philanthropic efforts supported prevention and treatment programs and organizations.
American Red Cross
Pickens, his Foundation, and his employees long supported the mission of the American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization that works in the U.S. and around the world to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. His $7 million contribution in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is the largest individual gift in the organization’s history. As recently as March, 2013, Pickens wowed Celebrity Apprentice when an emissary wearing his beloved Oklahoma State University colors delivered a $100,000 check earmarked for the American Red Cross to country star Trace Adkins on the show. The organization, founded on May 21, 1881, provides compassionate care to those in need. The Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross also helps military members, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with, and respond to the challenges of military service. Emergency communications, training, support to wounded service members and veterans, and community resources help an average of 150,000 military families and veterans annually.
Autism Treatment Center
The Pickens Foundation began ongoing support of Autism Treatment Centers, whose mission is to assist people with autism and related disorders throughout their lives as they learn, play, work and live in the community, in 2001. In 1992, ATC Dallas began providing services to individuals who are deaf-blind multi-handicapped whose Autism needs for support very closely parallels individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Foundation support has helped establish services for two Diagnostic and Therapeutic Medicaid-approved Rehabilitation Agency Clinics, in Dallas and San Antonio, serving children with autism. In addition to diagnostic, speech, physical, and occupation therapy, the clinics offer a sensory lab and observation rooms.
Baylor Scott & White Health
After the Foundation made a $10 million investment in Baylor Scott & White Health initiatives in 2012, the health care system acknowledged the gift by naming its new cancer hospital in Dallas the Baylor T. Boone Pickens Cancer Hospital. The 96-bed, 175,000-square-foot facility became the first dedicated cancer hospital in North Texas, and only the second in the state. BSWH’s mission is to serve all people by providing personalized health and wellness through exemplary care, education, and research as a Christian ministry of healing. The hospital offers quality care with staff trained in all aspects of cancer treatment. Dedicated facilities include a Blood & Marrow Transplant Unit, Apheresis Center, Oncology Pharmacy, Infusion Center and Processing Lab for stem cells and bone marrow products.
Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas
The Foundation has awarded more than $11 million to the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, a world-class brain research institute founded in 1999. The Center searches for ways to promote brain health fitness across the entire human lifespan, encompassing every age, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic group. One major area of focus at the center, home to some of the world’s most innovative neuroscientific thinkers, is aimed at maximizing the cognitive potential and high-performance of military service members returning to civilian life or active duty. BrainHealth scientists have developed and tested a cognitive training program called Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training (SMART) designed to enhance mental productivity, enhance efficiency, and enrich problem-solving skills. BrainHealth research has shown that complex mental activity enhances cognitive brain health, restores cognitive loss, and builds resilience against decline.
Foundation Fighting Blindness
The Foundation has supported Fighting Blindness, whose mission is to drive research that will provide preventions, treatments, and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases, since 2007. Since its founding in 1971, the Foundation Fighting Blindness has funded innovative research to find preventions, treatments, and cures for inherited retinal degenerative diseases that lead to blindness and affect more than 10 million people in the United States. One of the ways FFB raises awareness about vision problems and its mission is by hosting “Dining in the Dark” fundraisers in cities across the country. Attendees eat in darkness. All the servers are blind. The diners don’t know what they’re eating or drinking until it reaches their mouths. And they do it all in cocktail attire. Pickens has firsthand knowledge of its work. He was diagnosed with macular degeneration about 30 years ago, and his father had the same disease.
Hotchkiss Brain Institute
In June 2008, the Foundation pledged $27.25 million to the Calgary, Canada, institution, which supports and conducts research on the healthy and diseased brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves to assess, understand and disseminate knowledge about the diseases affecting the nervous system. At the time, Pickens awarded a $2.25 million gift and pledged an additional $25 million testamentary sum. The Boone Pickens Centre for Neurological Science and Advanced Technologies at the campus Health Research Innovation Centre and the Boone Pickens Centrebrain help deliver neurological and mental health care advances through research and education. Pickens met Harley Hotchkiss in Calgary, in 1957, when Pickens was just starting out as an independent. They would go on to do deals together and become fast friends. They made a lot of money together, and in turn, each gave lot to philanthropic causes, sometimes hitting each other up for a cause either of them was working. This was an import cause for them.
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston-based University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is a world-recognized center devoted exclusively to cancer patient care, research, education, and prevention. Pickens was a longtime supporter of the institution, through financial commitments and service as a life member of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors. About 30 years ago, he established the Boone Pickens Chair for Early Cancer Prevention at MD Anderson. In 2007, the Foundation challenged the institution to grow a gift of $50 million, its largest gift ever at the time, to $500 million over 25 years. MD Anderson reached that goal in 2010, 22 years ahead of schedule. The Texas Legislature created MD Anderson in 1941 as a component to The University of Texas System. The institution is one of the nation’s original three Comprehensive Cancer Centers designated by the National Cancer Act of 1971, and is one of 41 National Cancer Institute-designed comprehensive care centers today.
Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation
The Foundation donated a lead gift of $18.4 million for the construction of the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center, the first standalone patient and residential hospice center in the city. Recognizing there was a significant gap in Dallas’ continuum of healthcare, Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation built the state-of-the-art 100,000-plus-square-foot center, which complements the organization’s Faith Presbyterian Hospice, the largest not-for-profit hospice care provider in Dallas. It serves those with life-limiting illness who are in need of care, medical attention, comfort, and compassion through its five “centers of excellence” — focusing on Inpatient Care, Child and Family Bereavement, Education and Training Resources, Spiritual Care with Sanctuary and Chapel, and Outdoor Reflection. The Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation honored Pickens with its Each Moment Matters 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award to reflect his generous philanthropy to the organization and local community.
The Foundation awarded $1 million to the Virginia-based Health Opportunities for People Everywhere (Project Hope) in May 2008 to continue health professional training for the Basrah Children’s Hospital in Iraq. The Basrah Children’s Hospital is a modern, state-of-the art, 94-bed pediatric referral facility constructed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Opened in 2010, the Basrah Children’s Hospital it represented the first hospital constructed in Iraq since the 1980s. Project Hope got its start by sending medical volunteers onboard the world’s first peacetime Hospital Ship, the SS HOPE. Today, it remains committed to long-term sustainable health care. The organization’s work includes educating health professionals and community health workers, providing medicines and supplies, strengthening health facilities, and fighting diseases such as TB, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes. Project HOPE delivers essential medicines and supplies, volunteers and medical training to prevent disease, promote wellness, respond to disaster and save lives around the globe. By providing medicines, health expertise and training, Project HOPE builds capacity around the globe by supporting local health care workers to promote wellness and save lives every day in areas that need it most.
Retina Foundation of the Southwest
The Foundation awarded the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, an independent, nonprofit institution whose mission is to prevent and restore vision loss through innovative research and treatment, a $2.5 million grant in 2007 to fund age-related macular degeneration (AMD) research and establish a chair in the Pickens name. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in people over the age of 65. By 2020, the number of people who are legally blind in both eyes and is expected to rise 41 percent, presenting a significant national health problem and urgent need for continued research, advocacy. RFSW, founded in 1975 by a group of Dallas-area business leaders and ophthalmologists, is leading the way the world understands, prevents, and treats vision loss caused by age-related macular degeneration, pediatric eye conditions, and inherited eye diseases. It is participating in clinical research studies and providing more than 2,300 vision assessments each year for children and adults completely free of charge. Boone Pickens, whose father had macular degeneration and who himself was diagnosed with it in his 60s, was keenly interested in the Retina Foundation’s work.
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital
Boone Pickens advocated cross-pollination of his philanthropic efforts whenever possible. The Oklahoma State University alum, who contributed heavily to both academic and athletic programs at the institution, was also a long-time supporter of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, whose mission is to improve the care of children worldwide through innovative research and teaching programs. On at least two occasions, the collegiate bowl season has allowed the two entities to come together to cheer patients at TSRHC. Most recently, the OSU football team — in the Dallas area to play the Missouri Tigers in the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic —brought about 100 players and coaches to the hospital December 31, 2012, handing out T-shirts, hats, stickers and other souvenirs, and signing countless autographs. Pickens, a long-time supporter of TSRHC, donated $8 million to establish the T. Boone Pickens Training and Conference Center, which opened in 2009 in renovated space at the hospital. It allowed TSRHC to consolidate vital activities of medical training, community outreach initiatives and patient education. Established in 1921, all TSRHC services are provided without charge to patient families.
The Senior Source
The Senior Source is recognized throughout Texas and the Southwest for improving the quality of life and promoting the independence of older adults. The organization is one of the few nonprofits addressing a full spectrum of needs of older adults, from the most active senior to the very frail, incapacitated elderly. The agency’s staff supports nursing home residents, provides eldercare counseling, coordinates money management, serves as legal guardian, provides in-home companions, and matches older adults with employment and volunteer opportunities. A $1.25 million Foundation donation to the organization represented the largest contribution given to the Coming of Age Capital Campaign, which was launched in 2005 to make possible a new home for the organization at a crucial point in time. The year 2008 marked the beginning of an age explosion in this country that will culminate in 2030, when one in five individuals will be over the age of 65. The building — which was Dallas’ first LEED-certified “green” nonprofit facility — provided room for ample growth, and through its various community meeting rooms and central location, serves as a focal point for service and public awareness for the older adult population today and for many years to come. In 2012, Pickens received the organization’s Spirit of Generations Award, which is presented annually to an individual or group of individuals who have contributed in “thoughts, words, and deeds” to all generations in Dallas — past, present and future.
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas-based University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center is one of the world’s foremost clinical and research institutions. Boone Pickens long supported the academic medical center, world-renowned for its research, widely respected for its teaching and training, and highly regarded for the quality of clinical care its faculty provides to patients at UT Southwestern University Hospitals & Clinics and its affiliated hospitals. In the five years before establishing his Foundation in 2006, Pickens had given a $1 million endowment fund to support heart research, plus $2 million to establish the Boone Pickens Fund for Cancer Research and Treatment, honoring Dr. Eugene Frenkel at UT Southwestern. In May 2007, the Foundation announced an innovative $50 million grant to UT Southwestern’s Innovations in Medicine campaign to raise $500 million to help attract the world’s best scientists and clinicians and to support basic and clinical research as well as patient care and services. The gift created a special fund at the institution, requiring that it grow to $500 million within 25 years from earnings on the original principal and/or from new outside donations solicited by the institution. In recognition of the landmark gift, an 800,000-square-foot medical research and education facility on the UT Southwestern campus, finished in 2005, was named the T. Boone Pickens Biomedical Building. Biomedical research in the 14-story tower has yielded dramatic discoveries that hold great promise for understanding the nature of human disease.
Visiting Nurse Association Meals on Wheels
The Foundation made two separate gifts to the Visiting Nurse Association of Texas totaling $2 million in 2005 and 2008, the latter of which completed funding for a new Meals on Wheels kitchen and VNA community center where Meals on Wheels, Hospice, and Eldercare Friends volunteers are trained. Since 1934, VNA has provided care in the home, where familiar surroundings, independence and support from loved ones can speed recovery or ease the uncertainty of terminal illness. The VNA staff helps people recovering from illness or injury or who need ongoing supportive care for an acute or chronic health problem. More than 3,000 volunteers and VNA drivers deliver a nutritious, hot meal to those who are unable to provide or prepare their own meals. VNA is committed to providing specialized programs designed to meet the unique needs of the individuals and families in the communities served in North Texas. The Meals on wheels recipients are the hidden hungry – they are homebound and unable to access resources like food banks and grocery stores. And demand is high in the state, as Texas has the seventh-highest rate of hunger among seniors in the nation, Illness, disability and frailness can make meal preparation an ordeal. In years past, people would share their daily supper with needy neighbors. Today, many Americans work full-time and may not even know their neighbors.
Wilmer Eye Institute
The Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has been long recognized for its flexible approach for delivering state-of-the-art ophthalmic care. The Foundation pledged $20 million to The Johns Hopkins University to support daring but potentially vision-saving research at the university’s Wilmer Eye Institute. Boone Pickens was treated at Wilmer for cataracts and for macular degeneration. The gift, included in Pickens’ estate, creates an endowment to fund a T. Boone Pickens Scholars program, supporting clinician-scientists with promising and innovative ideas for new research avenues. When complete, the Pickens bequest will bring his support of Wilmer to more than $28 million. He established the Boone Pickens Professorship in Ophthalmology in 2005, and later contributed $6 million to construction of the institute’s Robert H. and Clarice Smith Building, which opened in 2009. In the past ten years, new injection treatments have enabled Wilmer doctors to prevent blindness in about 90 percent of macular degeneration cases. The Wilmer Eye Institute brings together ophthalmologists consistently ranked by their peers as among the finest internationally, with a specially trained and highly experienced team of nurses, technicians and staff cited by patients for their knowledge, responsiveness, and sensitivity. They treat ophthalmic disease at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital and at seven other locations in Maryland.
World Cranial Foundation
The mission of the Dallas-based World Craniofacial Foundation is to give help, hope, and healing to people with craniofacial abnormalities and their families. The Foundation contributed $100,000 to the group’s Help, Hope & Healing campaign, the objectives of which were designed to dramatically bolster WCF’s infrastructure, strengthen and grow the number of well-trained craniofacial teams around the world and, ultimately, increase the number of children served by WCF and the quality of care they receive. One in 500 births presents some form of craniofacial or clefting deformity. The World Craniofacial Foundation supports the treatment of nearly all birth-related and acquired deformities of the head and face, including trauma, degenerative diseases and tumors. Unfortunately, many families do not have insurance coverage, or the condition is considered “aesthetic” and not life-threatening so coverage is not available. The World Craniofacial Foundation provides access to surgical care, financial assistance with the secondary costs associated with medical treatment, such as food, transportation, lodging, and ancillary and educational information for families; teaches doctors around the globe; publishes quarterly educational newsletters; and helps with costs associated with training Fellows in craniofacial surgery.
In the late 1970s, Boone Pickens was a pioneer in the corporate fitness arena. In 1979, Pickens built a $2.5 million, 30,000-square-foot fitness center at Mesa Petroleum in Amarillo and instituted a corporate wellness program available to all employees. Pickens not only espoused that physical fitness created a better, more economically sound workforce and workplace, he walked the talk. Wearing the standard program participant’s blue sweats and gray T-shirt, Pickens became a daily fixture on the stationery bike and on the racquetball court, where he regularly trounced his younger partners. Fast forward to 2009, as the Downtown YMCA was transformed through a generous $5 million gift from the Foundation, the largest the Dallas YMCA has ever received. Renamed the T. Boone Pickens YMCA, the center provides a modern place for downtown business employees to work out, as well as a health organizational center for the individuals and families who are part of the expanded residential population moving into condos and apartments in the revitalized downtown residential community. Today, corporate wellness programs are essential to business objectives. In the competitive business world, health must become a core business value. Healthier employees are more productive which leads to better customer service, better profits, and a better organization. As a business partner, the YMCA helps companies by providing active membership programs with both on site and off-site classes.
American Heart Association
The Foundation has supported the American Heart Association, founded in 1924 by six cardiologists as a professional society for doctors, the organization of more than 33 million volunteers and supporters is dedicated to improving heart health and reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Camp John Marc
The Foundation has supported Camp John Marc, which aims to inspire confidence for life through high-quality camping programs for children, teens, and families. The camp, located on 170 acres in Bosque County, Texas, offers year-round programs and specialized camp facilities that are uniquely designed to serve campers living with chronic medical and physical challenges.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
The Foundation has supported the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, whose mission is to cure cystic fibrosis and to provide all people with the disease the opportunity to lead full, productive lives by funding research and drug development, promoting individualized treatment, and ensuring access to high-quality, specialized care.
The Foundation awarded the Gilda’s Club of North Texas $250,000 to support its mission of providing a nonresidential, home-like meeting place, where people with cancer and their families and friends could join with others to build social and emotional support as a supplement to medical care — free of charge. Children and teens diagnosed with cancer, those who have a family member living with cancer, and those who have had a loss in their family could receive support in the T. Boone Pickens’ Little Dude Ranch room at the organization’s site.
Great Investor Best Idea Foundation
The Foundation has served as an underwriter for GIBI Investment Symposiums that are tailored to enlighten, inspire, and inform attendees while raising funds for two exceptional charities, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and the Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Its mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. The Foundation has supported the Dallas chapter’s fundraising events, including one year when Pickens joined local real estate icon Ebby Halliday and football legend Roger Staubach as a “Legends Dinner” auction prize.
Mercy Ships, the leader in using hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services to the poor, was founded in 1978. During the past 40 years, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing professional services by surgeons, dentists, nurses, community developers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists who donate their time and skills to the effort. Upon hearing of another local philanthropist’s plans to donate $2 million in 2008, the Pickens Foundation offered to match that amount.
Rainbow Senior Center at Kronkosky Place
Since 1983, the Rainbow Senior Center has offered programs and services that encourage adults in the community of Boerne, Texas, to take an active role in maintaining their physical and mental health as they age. A $1.5 million Foundation gift allowed construction of the T. Boone Pickens Activity Center, a long-anticipated facilities replacement.