Leading autism researchers connected by new Ingram fund

January 11, 2011

As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports staggering increases in cases of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), top researchers in Columbus, Ohio, have an unprecedented opportunity to unlock and address this growing public health crisis thanks to the generosity of Bill Ingram, CEO of White Castle System, Inc., and director of The Ohio State University Foundation, and his wife, Marci Ingram, a member of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Board of Directors.

The Ingrams have committed to donating $10 million to The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital to support collaborative ASD research at the two highly regarded institutions by creating one of the nation’s largest individually created funding resources for this important work: The Marci and Bill Ingram Research Fund for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Managed jointly by Ohio State and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the fund will be used for grants to researchers from both organizations, with new funding made immediately available for use as it is contributed. The Ingrams intend to have $1 million available for granting by the time the first awards are made in 2011.

“We know personally the challenges that parents and children with autism face,” said Marci Ingram, “and we are inspired to learn all we can about autism. It’s a quest for knowledge that deserves the focused attention of our best and brightest. We want to support research advancements and create a resource for families working through an autism diagnosis and the challenges it brings.”

It is estimated that 1 in 110 children have an autism spectrum disorder, with the lifetime cost of caring for a child with an ASD estimated to reach $3 million.

Through their generosity, the Ingrams will help bridge the work in the field of autism being done at the two leading research institutions and allow scientists and faculty to attack a comprehensive range of issues, from initial diagnosis through adulthood. The findings and the tools developed as a result of grants from the Ingram Fund will be made available to research scientists, physicians, educators, and social workers throughout the world.

“We are honored by the Ingrams’ confidence in Ohio State and Nationwide Children’s Hospital,” said Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee. “We are fortunate beyond measure to have here in Columbus precisely the right combination of gifted physicians, medical researchers, social scientists, legal scholars, and educators to work together to solve the puzzle of autism. The Ingrams’ strategic vision and remarkable generosity will help to unlock the talents and capacities of countless people for generations to come.  I can think of nothing more selfless.”

“Marci and Bill are incredibly committed community leaders,” said Steve Allen, MD, CEO of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “Their passion for community service and for advancing our knowledge and treatment of this complex disorder is inspiring, and the resulting work will have broad impact. This generous support builds on the strong collaboration between Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Ohio State to further our knowledge and gain new insights into these disorders.”

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