A foundation created by the founder and chairman of Best Buy Co. has donated nearly $49 million to the Mayo Clinic for cancer care and research.
The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation gave the clinic $48.98 million to establish a center to develop new therapies to fighting cancer in Mayo’s headquarters in Rochester, Minn.
The donation also will compliment Mayo’s Arizona operations, said Laurence Miller, deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Scottsdale.
"This funding will provide enormous support for clinicians and researchers working together across the Mayo system to improve and develop new therapies for our cancer patients," he said.
Mayo’s Arizona operations focus largely on studying the biology of cancer to discover ways to predict, prevent, diagnose and treat cancer with new drugs.
The donation also will be used to recruit additional scientists to the Mayo system and to finance an annual symposium that will rotate between Scottsdale, Rochester and Jacksonville, Fla., Miller said.
Furthermore, the donation also will fund research to improve pain management treatments, develop better patient care techniques, and more.
"It’s a huge gift," Miller said. "It clearly makes a huge difference."
Using conservative figures, Mayo dedicated $84 million toward cancer research systemwide in 2003, he said.
Schulze, a Minnesota native, founded the Sound of Music, a chain of stereo component retail stores, in 1966. It served as the forerunner to Best Buy, a network of 1,900 electronics stores throughout North America.
Best Buy ranks as the nation’s largest retailer of consumer electronics, personal computers and entertainment software. It’s the third-largest retailer of appliances. The company’s annual revenue approaches $20 billion.
"It is our sincere belief that the prospect of improved treatment and potential eradication of some cancers is closer than some would believe," Schulze said in a statement released by Mayo.