In September the Batchelor Foundation officially announced a $5 million challenge gift to the Department of Pediatrics, with funds to be distributed in annual $1.25 million installments. In order to receive the full $5 million, the Miller School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics must match $1.25 million each year in endowment gifts toward any of the four priority divisions: Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Pediatric Clinical Research, and Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine.

Once the funds are matched, the entire $5 million gift will be divided as follows:

• $2 million to endow a chair for the director of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology;

• $2 million to endow a chair for the chairman of the Department of Pediatrics; and

• $1 million to initiate an endowment for the director of the Division of Pediatric Clinical Research.

“It’s critical that we raise these funds,” says Steven E. Lipshultz, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics. “By matching the generous gift of the Batchelor Foundation, the Department of Pediatrics can realize Mr. Batchelor’s quest to enhance the world-class Batchelor Children’s Research Institute by recruiting and retaining faculty whose work improves the health and welfare of children.”

This gift is the latest in a series from the Batchelor Foundation. The relationship between the Batchelor Foundation and the Department of Pediatrics began when George E. Batchelor brought his 14-year-old son, Falcon, to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine seeking care for cystic fibrosis. Under the care of Robert McKey Jr., M.D., founder and then-director of the University’s Cystic Fibrosis Center, Falcon lived 20 more years.

Batchelor always had a deep and abiding love for children. His life mission was to help sick children in South Florida and around the world. He found the perfect partnership in the Department of Pediatrics and made a leadership gift of $10 million to create the Batchelor Children’s Research Institute at the Miller School of Medicine.

Later, Batchelor established a $5 million endowment that yields $300,000 a year for the Micah Batchelor Award for Excellence in Children’s Health Research. This prestigious award is the largest of its kind and supports medical research to improve the health and lives of children in perpetuity.

With Batchelor’s support, the UM Department of Pediatrics has grown into one of the larger academic pediatrics departments in the country, with impressive teaching and educational programs, extensive clinical care activities, and major research efforts.