New Scripps Foundation President
Cary W. Colwell, president of the Scripps Foundation
for Medicine and Science, the fundraising organization for
both The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and Scripps Health,
has now been on the job for almost three months. News &Views
spoke with him about the new position and his vision for the
News &Views (N&V): How has the transition into
this new position been and how has your background helped
prepare you for this job?
Colwell: Well, I think the transition has,
at least from my perspective, gone very well. I have 12 years
experience in higher education, working for both a Big 10
University and a Pac 10 University, and about nine years in
health care. So, I have both the academic exposure as well
as the health care side. I think that will probably serve
me well as I work to support both the health carethe
patient careside of Scripps as well as the academic
and the scientific side with The Scripps Research Institute.
N&V: What were those universities?
Colwell: The University of Illinois Foundation
and Arizona State University Foundation. I was at both the
U of I and at ASU for six years each. I also worked at the
Henry Ford Health System, experience which has helped me recognize
that Scripps has multiple constituenciesnot only geographic
locations, but also from the socioeconomic side of the equation.
N&V: So now you're here, what's on the agenda? What
are your goals?
Colwell: Well, the first issue at hand is
assessing where the greatest potential is for philanthropic
private support throughout all of Scripps. And when I say
Scripps, I mean TSRI as well as Scripps Health and its various
entities. You know, we have an excellent staff in the foundation
and outstanding resources. We need to make sure that they
are aligned with where our greatest potentials lie. So, we're
in the process of looking at the deployment of our resources
and making sure that those alignments are going to allow us
to be as effective as we possibly can be.
Also, we will be looking across all of the lines of Scripps
and assessing what our immediate needs are in the next 18
months or so. For example, in the case of TSRI, we have a
window of opportunity to acquire the Immunology Building,
and that will be something of a high priority for the foundation.
But we will also be determining the programs, the initiatives,
the capital that are really going to establish Scripps as
the preeminent multifaceted health care research institution
in the country over the long term, the next two to seven years.
My goal is that the foundation make significant contributions
to all of Scripps, so that we really become the preeminent
institution of its kind in the country.
N&V: What is your initial assessment of the philanthropic
landscape right here?
Colwell: I think we've done a reasonably good
job of talking about Scripps to this community. We have a
history of significant private support from individuals. But
while we have a few individuals who support us in an extraordinary
way, overall we don't have a lot of people investing in Scripps
as a percentage of the population. So, one area we're going
to be focusing on is broadening our base of support. We want
to engage as many people in this community with Scripps as
we possibly can. So annual funds will be a focus, building
our donor base over the next couple of years.
With the exception of TSRI, we have not really initiated
a comprehensive corporate foundation and government relations
program. The Scripps name, our legacy, allows us to open every
door to every corporation, and every foundation, and every
government agency in this country. We haven't been opening
those doors, so we need to expand our presence in that arena,
nationally. And we want to have a stronger presence in Washington
D.C., particularly with health and human services. We have
an extraordinary array of services that we provide to this
community. In the case of TSRI, these efforts have not only
national but international significance. And we need to be
telling people about that.
You know, Scripps is a very special institution. In many
ways, Scripps is probably held in higher regard outside of
San Diego County than it is right here. I can tell you that
having coming out of the East and the Midwest, Scripps is
very well knownand held in very, very high esteem. And
sometimes I wonder whether here in San Diego County the community
recognizes what a truly special resource we are to the constituencies
N&V: Or at least understand that we're not in oceanography?
Colwell: That, too...
N&V: Do you anticipate a capital campaign?
Colwell: I don't believe that you will see
a grandiose kickoff of a Scripps-wide capital campaign. What
you'll see is a series of significant fundraising initiatives,
not only at TSRI, but at the hospitals within the Scripps
Health system, who will be conducting their own, focused fundraising
campaigns. So if you want to call it a campaign, fine. I'm
not really into that term, because a campaign represents a
defined start and stop date. What we really want to do is
to raise the overall level of giving throughout all of Scripps,
and sustain that over time. So, while TSRI, while Scripps
La Jolla, Mercy, Chula Vista, Encinitas, and Green Hospitals
as well as the Scripps Clinic, will all have individual campaigns,
if you will, we're not going to have a global, systemwide,
"campaign for Scripps."
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Cary W. Colwell assumed the position
of president of the Scripps Foundation for Medicine and Science,
the fundraising organization for both TSRI and Scripps Health,
in early November 2001.
have an extraordinary array of services that we provide to
this community. In the case of TSRI, these efforts have not
only national but international significance. And we need
to be telling people about that."