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Peter and Linda Levine

Investing to Stop the Crippling Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease

Peter and Linda Levine are an active La Jolla couple involved in a myriad of community activities. They recently made a major gift to support the work of Scripps Research’s Dr. Jeff Kelly, who is developing novel therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The gift will be used to support the establishment of biomarkers and early detection methods.

Peter and Linda met in Los Angeles in 1978 and married a year later. Peter spent 32 years in the commercial insurance industry and retired ten years ago. He is currently a broker and consultant in the same industry, but is now semi-retired. Peter has several degrees in business and finance, including a Doctorate in Business Administration. He has taught college level courses in those areas. Linda, a native of Pittsburgh with a Master’s degree in gifted education, is a former elementary school teacher and GATE coordinator.

Peter and Linda have jumped into the charitable area in a big way with their recent gifts to Scripps Research, the Salk Institute of Biological Studies and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, utilizing both funds from Peter’s retirement account as well as outright gifts.

“I’ve become very interested in the growing concerns associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS,” said Peter. “I’ve researched the medical field quite a bit and have found that there is not a lot of funding for early detection and for finding biomarkers. The big money from both pharma and government tends to drive the development of new drugs and it’s a long, tough process - typically taking seven to ten years from the beginning of the process to new drug approval.”

“When we decided to make gifts in this area, I talked to several medical research groups and found that Scripps Research is one of the top medical research organizations in many areas, including neurodegenerative diseases,” said Peter. “We also wanted to make sure our gift went totally to research and some research centers required that a management fee be deducted from the gift monies.”

“Currently it is too late to stop the onslaught of these diseases, after initial diagnosis. What is needed is a simple test, such as a blood test, to mark the beginning of these diseases. Once the marker is found early, it is our hope that a drug can be discovered to stop the disease in its tracks. We are all living longer and it is said that after 65 years of age, the chances of developing a neurodegenerative disease by age 80 is 50 percent. Our goal in making these gifts is to avoid both the crippling costs and the psychological effects on families caring for family members who contract the disease.”

In addition to their interest in these devastating neurodegenerative diseases, Peter and Linda are very active in the community. They are involved in the OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute at UCSD, which is an educational and cultural organization for retirees, with approximately 600 members. OSHER provides a variety of classes in such areas as art, history, science, and medicine. Peter is currently serving on the OSHER Council.

Peter and Linda are both also very active in the San Diego Jewish Film Festival, one of the largest film festivals highlighting features, documentaries and shorts that have Jewish content. Both are Underwriters and serve as Committee Chairs. Linda heads Outreach and gives presentations to various groups highlighting films to be shown. Peter is a member of the Film Selection Committee and also is Chair of the Audience Choice Awards. Linda is also active in the San Diego Jewish Book Fair.

Both Peter and Linda volunteer for Jewish Family Service of San Diego. Peter serves as a substitute driver for the foodmobile program and Linda participates in Project SARAH (Stop Abusive Relationships at Home), which offers a safe, confidential setting for individuals and teens who experience abuse and for children growing up in abusive homes.

Peter and Linda’s daughter Melissa lives locally. Their grandchildren Jacob and Sophie keep Peter and Linda very busy and are giving them much joy. Their son Eric is single and is an attorney in the Philadelphia area.

After all their community and family activities, Peter and Linda still find time to travel. Peter found his love of travel while in the U.S. Navy overseas. He has now visited over 100 counties. Linda has also caught the travel bug, with over 60 countries visited. Peter has been active in sports all his life and still dreams of being a professional golfer!

Peter and Linda are an unassuming couple, quietly giving of themselves and making a significant difference in the lives of others.

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“I talked to several medical research groups and found that Scripps Research is one of the top medical research organizations in many areas, including neurodegenerative diseases,” said donor Peter Levine, here with his wife, Linda Levine.