AbbVie Continues Charitable Giving, Donates $50 Million to St. Jude

AbbVie sign outside office building

Christmas came a little early for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the form of a $50 million contribution from pharma giant AbbVie – the largest single contribution made to the famed hospital.

The multi-million donation will be used to support the construction of a new Family Commons on the Memphis, Tenn. campus. This will be the first facility of its kind at St. Jude. AbbVie said it is designed to be an “entirely treatment-free floor that will offer spaces for families to relax, recover and connect” in a centralized location on the campus. Also, the $50 million gift will allow St. Jude to transform is physical space by adding walking paths, gardens and a playground designed for the children undergoing treatment for a variety of serious diseases, as well as their siblings.

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AbbVie’s $50 million will cover construction costs for the Family Commons and outdoor space, as well as five year's worth of operational costs for both. The Family Commons area is scheduled to open in 2020.

“Families need to be able to take a break during one of the most difficult times of their lives, and that's why we're committing to create spaces—both indoor and outdoor—for families to be together,” Laura Schumacher, executive vice president, external affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary at AbbVie, said in a statement.

Richard Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, praised AbbVie for its donation. He said this was the largest single donation in this history of St. Jude.

“AbbVie is a great example of what it means to be a true 'socially responsible organization' choosing to use its resources, time, and talent to better communities and improve health care outcomes across the globe,” Shadyac said.

Schumacher said the company is committed to helping families thrive and stands behind St. Jude, a hospital that has taken a leadership role in battling childhood cancer.

The $50 million donation is part of AbbVie’s commitment to being a good corporate citizen and provide assistance to families of children with life-altering illnesses. AbbVie has pledged $350 million in charitable contributions in 2018 to U.S. nonprofit organizations that align with the company's philanthropic focus areas.

In November, AbbVie also donated $55 million to three nonprofits working to address the achievement gap for children in underserved areas across the United States, including AbbVie’s home base of Chicago. AbbVie gave $30 million to Communities in Schools, $10 million to City Year and $10 million to the University of Chicago Education Lab.

In August, the company donated $100 million to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). That donation provides housing and other services for pediatric patients and their families during extended hospital treatments across the United States. The $100 million donation will be used in 26 states and will help to build “build family-centered spaces and more than 600 new guest sleeping rooms” at 32 Ronald McDonald Houses.

In May, AbbVie gave $100 million, $50 million each, to two organizations, Direct Relief and Habitat for Humanity International, to strengthen access to healthcare and housing in Puerto Rico. The donations were made to support rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico following the devastation from Hurricane Maria in 2017.

AbbVie isn’t the only company to use its pocketbook to support charitable causes. Last year, Amgen provided $5 million to support Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Puerto Rico. More recently though, Amgen made donations to support California relief programs. The Amgen Foundation provided $500,000 to support victims of the wildfires that scorched a significant part of the state and caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage. Amgen also pledged $250,000 to the Conejo Valley Victims Fund that was established to support the families of victims of a mass shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., the home of Amgen.

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