Red and Charline McCombs contribute $30 million to M. D. Anderson research effort


Gift sets stage for research initiative that will touch generations

HOUSTON - Texas philanthropists Red and Charline McCombs have given The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center $30 million, the largest gift ever made to support cancer research at the institution.

The University of Texas System Board of Regents today (July 8) formally accepted and thanked the San Antonio-based McCombs Foundation for the gift, which will help launch a long-term research initiative at M. D. Anderson.

Details of the research initiative will be announced Sept. 13 on the site of the new Red and Charline McCombs Institute for the Early Detection and Treatment of Cancer about 1.5 miles from the main M. D. Anderson campus. The McCombs family will be honored at the event.

When completed, the McCombs Institute will be a $500 million enterprise devoted to exploring some of the most important new areas of cancer research and bringing many new jobs to Houston.

"Red, Charline, their daughter Marsha who oversees the family foundation, and their other daughters, Connie and Lynda, are extraordinary and successful people who have a tremendous commitment to giving back, and we are fortunate that they are so devoted to M. D. Anderson and its mission," said President John Mendelsohn, M.D. "Red, Charline and their family foundation are giving us the opportunity to take our outstanding research programs to a new level that will enable us to bring the next era of cancer treatment, screening and early detection to our patients even sooner."

Mr. McCombs has been involved with M. D. Anderson since 1986 when he became a member of the institution's Board of Visitors. He was chairman of the board from 1995 to 1997 and has remained an active senior member of the board since his chairmanship. Since 1980, the McCombses have contributed to the George and Cynthia Mitchell Basic Sciences Research Building, the George and Barbara Bush Endowment for Innovative Cancer Research and M. D. Anderson's "Fulfill the Promise" capital campaign. Mrs. McCombs has been an active supporter of the Children's Art Project and other patient care programs.

"We want to see M.D. Anderson's slogan of 'Making Cancer History(r)' become a reality with the new cancer treatments, diagnostic tests and screenings that will be discovered in the coming decades," said Mr. McCombs. "Cancer is the greatest thief to cross our borders, robbing Texas of its precious assets. Charline and I are proud that M. D. Anderson will be at the forefront of this new era in cancer care, early detection and treatment. This is a terrific place to stake our flag and impact future generations of patients."

The McCombs Foundation was chartered in 1981 and has since donated to a variety of charitable, philanthropic, educational and humanitarian organizations. Several major beneficiaries in recent years include The University of Texas at Austin, which named the Red McCombs School of Business for its graduate; Southwestern University in Georgetown; and the Charline McCombs Empire Theater in San Antonio.

The owner of Red McCombs Automotive in San Antonio, Mr. McCombs is co-founder of Clear Channel Communications and of McCombs Energy in Houston. He is the former owner of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings and the NBA's San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets.

In addition to his volunteer leadership at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Mr. McCombs has led many national, state and local organizations including the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and Development Board, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County and The University of Texas Longhorn Club. He formerly served as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Southwestern University.

Mr. McCombs has been honored with many awards including the Distinguished Alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin, Longhorn of the Year and the Southwestern University Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has been inducted into the San Antonio Business Hall of Fame, the National Automobile Association Dealers Hall of Fame, the Texas Business Hall of Fame and the National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame.

The McCombses have three daughters and eight grandchildren, who reside in San Antonio.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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