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Philanthropist connects strategic plan to research
Date:5/17/2011

Phoenix, Arizona May 16, 2011 -- When Phoenix entrepreneur Ray Thurston decided to make a $3-million gift to the new Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center (BBTRC) at Barrow Neurological Institute, writing a check was only part of the equation. Just as important to the fledgling center was the business expertise that Thurston brought to the table.

As part of his gift, Thurstonfounder of SonicAir, a logistics company he sold to UPS in 1995sat down with Nader Sanai, MD, director of the BBTRC, to take a close look at the research project his donation is supporting. Thurston's goal was to help Dr. Sanai enhance efficiency, cut costs and focus the project's short- and long-term objectives. Out of these meetings came a Gantt chart that details each step in the research project over the next three years and that serves as a roadmap for Dr. Sanai and as an evaluation tool for Thurston.

"This is certainly the most detailed and thoughtful planning process I have ever been a part of. It increases our chances of success exponentially," said Dr. Sanai. "Ray pored over our timeline and said, 'Let's run all these processes in parallel. Cost is not an issue.' As a result, we have compressed an ambitious project from five to three years and reduced the expense of the project, too."

In addition to improving the research process, Thurston built financial incentives into his gift agreement to Barrow, which is part of St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix.

"My donation requires that Dr. Sanai achieve certain goals on a quarterly basis, and if he achieves those goals, I write a check," Thurston said. "I think that today's benefactor is more interested in outcomes. Those organizations that can provide outcomes are going to attract more investments."

Kathy Kramer, vice president of the Barrow Neurological Foundation, concurs that today's benefactors are demanding more accountability. "They want to be involved in the projects they support, and the
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Contact: Lynne Reaves
lynne.reaves@chw.edu
602-406-4734
St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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