Matthew C. and Jennifer Harris (Courtesy of the Harrises)

A pair of donations to local institutions will help fund new research into kindness at UCLA and pay for a variety of medical research/treatment programs at Saint John’s hospital.

The anonymous gift to Saint John’s was announced as the start of a $150 million effort to raise funds for clinical and research programs, faculty, nursing and fellowship support and capital equipment needs. The gift will support the Providence Saint John’s Health Center, John Wayne Cancer Institute and Pacific Neuroscience Institute.

“The generous gift, one of the largest ever made to Saint John’s, will enable physicians and scientists to provide the personal and compassionate care Saint John’s is known for while funding innovation in clinical care. It will allow our many researchers to pursue promising research paths,” said Foundation President and chief executive officer Bob Klein. “The return on this in-vestment will impact generations to come.”

UCLA college also received a significant donation recently with a $20 million gift to establish the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute.

The gift is from The Bedari Foundation, established by philanthropists Jennifer and Matthew C. Harris. It will support research on kindness, create opportunities to translate that research into real-world practices, and serve as a global platform to educate and communicate its findings. UCLA officials said that among its principal goals are to empower citizens and inspire leaders to build more humane societies.

“Universities should always be places where we teach students to reach across lines of difference and treat one another with empathy and respect — even when we deeply disagree,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “The UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute will bring the best thinking to this vital issue and, I think, will allow us to have a real social impact on future generations.”

Several UCLA researchers are already working on questions relevant to the new institute.

“Our vision is that we will all live in a world where humanity discovers and practices the kindness that exists in all of us,” said Matthew Harris, the foundation’s co-founder and a 1984 UCLA graduate. “Much research is needed to understand why kindness can be so scarce in the modern world. As we seek at Bedari to bridge the divide between science and spirituality, through the establishment of the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute we hope to educate and empower more and more people in the practice of kindness.”

The Institute will also provide training to students, faculty, staff and residents of some local communities. It will host an annual conference.

“In the midst of current world politics, violence and strife, the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute seeks to be an antidote,” said Darnell Hunt, dean of the UCLA division of social sciences. “Rooted in serious academic work, the institute will partner and share its research on kindness broadly in accessible formats. The Bedari Foundation’s extraordinary gift is truly visionary and we are grateful for its support and leadership.”

The gift is part of the Centennial Campaign for UCLA, which is scheduled to conclude in December. For more information on the two fundraising efforts, visit https://www.providence.org/locations/saint-johns-health-center/foundation or https://lettherebe.ucla.edu.

editor@smdp.com

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