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Kraft Foundation Gives Business School $20 Million Gift

The Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation has pledged to donate $20 million to Harvard Business School to endow a fund to support research and the advancement of precision medicine.

Harvard Business School
Harvard Business School.

The donation, announced Wednesday at a precision medicine conference at Harvard Medical School, comes as part of the University’s ongoing $6.5 billion capital campaign, which has raised more than $6 billion two years into its public phase.

Precision medicine centers on providing customized care based on individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle. The Kraft donation will specifically target increased use of the human genome in tailoring individuals’ prevention of and treatment for disease. The fund will be known as the Kraft Endowment for Advancing Precision Medicine.

“The Kraft family has long been a standard bearer in Boston’s business and philanthropic communities,” University President Drew G. Faust said in a statement. “Beyond that, I am very proud that this gift gives new impetus to the role of greater Boston as an academic and commercial hub for this all-important work.”

The Business School will collaborate with the Broad Institute and other Boston institutions. The Business School is also well on its way to meeting its $1 billion fundraising goal for the capital campaign, having passed the 86 percent mark as of June.

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Two pilot research projects will start in the next few months as part of the gift: a “precision trials challenge” that will attempt to use precision medicine techniques to address the significant time and cost incurred during clinical trials, and a pilot which will use crowdsourcing contests to “solve and scale precision medicine solutions for clinical and commercial use.”

“At heart, many of the challenges facing the advancement of precision today are business challenges,” Business School Dean Nitin Nohria said in a statement. “We are honored that the Krafts, who epitomize Harvard Business School's mission of educating leaders who make a difference in the world, see the potential for HBS to work with world-class organizations like the Broad.”

At 15 percent of the University-wide $6.5 billion fundraising drive, the Business School’s goal is the second largest of Harvard's schools, behind the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ $2.5 billion campaign. Robert K. Kraft owns the New England Patriots football team, ranks among the “Forbes 400” richest Americans, and graduated from the Business School in 1965.

—Staff writer Ivan B. K. Levingston can be reached at Ivan.Levingston@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @IvanLevingston.

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