A $25 million gift from a Los Angeles foundation will create the UCLA Laurie and Steven Gordon Commitment to Cure Parkinson’s Disease at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The initiative will accelerate research into the disorder, which affects more than 10 million people around the world.
The gift, from the Steven Gordon Family Foundation, will fund research, establish five endowed faculty chairs in fields related to Parkinson’s, and support a new lab with positron emission tomography, or PET scan, and MRI technology, where scientists can closely examine the mechanisms of the disease.
Steven Gordon, the foundation’s president, is a member of the executive committee for the Centennial Campaign for UCLA, and on boards for the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the UCLA Health System and the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate. He and his wife, Laurie, chair of the board of advisors of the Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA, have been steadfast advocates for funding neuroscience training and research, including in depression and Parkinson’s disease, at UCLA.
“The Gordons are generous funders of neuroscience investigations as well as influential advocates for families affected by Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. John Mazziotta, vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences and CEO of UCLA Health. “The foundation’s gift is a testament to Laurie’s and Steve’s dedication to improving the lives and the health of people suffering from Parkinson’s. I cannot thank them enough for their generosity and their vision.”
The gift complements previous giving by the Gordons to support Parkinson’s research at UCLA, including their endowment of the Steven C. Gordon Family Chair in Parkinson’s Disease Research, which is held by Dr. Carlos Portera-Cailliau, and support for a research collaboration with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.
“Laurie and Steve met with many UCLA investigators over the past two years, each studying Parkinson’s from a unique angle,” said Dr. Kelsey Martin, dean of the medical school. “The Gordons’ gift is a vote of confidence in the promise of team science to elucidate the causes and possible treatments for this debilitating disease. Laurie and Steve are fabulous partners because they understand the power of collaboration and focus within an academic medical center.”
In recognition of the gift, UCLA’s Neuroscience Research Building will be renamed the Laurie and Steven Gordon Neurosciences Research Building, and the new imaging laboratory will be named for the couple.
The Gordons hope other philanthropists will join them in their quest to improve the understanding of Parkinson’s and develop new treatments. “One of the most fulfilling aspects of our philanthropy is its ability to inspire hope in families who have been affected by diseases of the brain,” Laurie Gordon said.
Steven Gordon added, “I have seen Parkinson’s disease strike people I love and many more. I believe our gift will help advance our knowledge for the benefit of patients everywhere.”
Steven Gordon is chairman and a principal owner of Domino Realty, a real estate holding company and venture firm. Laurie Gordon is a former attorney for United Artists Communications and former vice president of Warner Bros. International Theatres.
The gift is part of the Centennial Campaign for UCLA, which is scheduled to conclude in December 2019 during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year.