Nationwide Foundation Pediatric Innovation Fund Makes Sixth Annual Gift for Significant Impact at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Nationwide Foundation donates additional $10 million, bringing total support of transformational gifts to $110 million with an expanded focus on Behavioral Health

May 23, 2019

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Nationwide Foundation announced today a new $10 million gift for the Nationwide Foundation Pediatric Innovation Fund at Nationwide Children’s Hospital to help accelerate the most promising research and clinical discoveries at Nationwide Children’s. The Nationwide Foundation established the Pediatric Innovation Fund in 2014 and has so far contributed $60 million to it, including the gift announced today. With Nationwide Foundation’s initial $50 million to the hospital in 2006, its gifts to the hospital have now reached $110 million.

The fund will continue to benefit the hospital’s Institute for Genomic Medicine (IGM) in the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s. Established in 2016, with significant start-up funding from the Innovation Fund, the IGM remains one of the few programs in pediatric personalized genomic medicine in the U.S. and focuses on genomics as the root cause of many childhood diseases.  The addition of the Institute for Genomic Medicine has directly benefitted families and patients in many areas of care, including children diagnosed with specific cancers, rare diseases, epilepsy or other seizure disorders, and babies born extremely premature.

The Nationwide Foundation Innovation Fund will support expansion of the IGM’s work into behavioral health to better understand underlying genetic connections to complex mental health issues such as autism. In addition to this effort with the IGM, the Innovation Fund will actively seek opportunities to accelerate Nationwide Children’s expansive commitment to Behavioral Health across multiple domains.

The expansion of the Nationwide Foundation Innovation Fund’s support into behavioral health comes at an optimal time when Nationwide Children’s Hospital has launched On Our Sleeves, a national movement helping to improve outcomes for children and families living with mental illness. One in five children lives with a mental illness and 50% of all lifetime mental illnesses start by age 14. Funding to support behavioral and mental health strives to change the course.

During the past six years, the Innovation Fund has also helped sustain several key clinical and research efforts, including: 

  • Re-engineering a child’s heart vessels from their own cells. The newly created Center for Regenerative Medicine at Nationwide Children’s is home to the first FDA-approved U.S. human trial to investigate the safety and effectiveness of using tissue engineering to repair congenital heart defects.
  • The creation of the Make Safe Happen mobile app in 2015. The goal of the app is to make homes safer for children. Backed by the experts in the Center for Injury Research and Policy in the Research Institute, the app allows parents and caregivers to access room-by-room safety checklists and links to recommended safety products for the home. The groundbreaking, award-winning Make Safe Happen app has been downloaded nearly 70,000 times. Make Safe Happen has been scientifically proven to be effective.

“Our longstanding partnership has been able to support meaningful research,” said Nationwide CEO and Nationwide Foundation chairman Steve Rasmussen. “The Nationwide Foundation is dedicated to helping the hospital provide top-ranked clinical care for children in our communities and around the world. Our work together supports efforts to attract world-renowned doctors and researchers who are making significant strides toward innovative medical treatment for children. It is heartwarming to see the impact of these advances and we are excited to expand our support for the hospital’s behavioral health efforts.”

“The Nationwide Foundation has been an extraordinary champion of our mission for decades. Its continuing support is a key reason Nationwide Children’s has become a destination for children around the world and an international resource for researchers and scientists,” said Steve Allen, MD, CEO of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “Steve Rasmussen’s leadership has only deepened the bond between Nationwide and Nationwide Children’s. The Innovation Fund he helped inaugurate makes more of our pioneering work possible, and it challenges us to push the field of pediatric medicine forward.”

In 2006, the Nationwide Foundation committed $50 million to Nationwide Children’s to support clinical and research priorities. Through this funding, the hospital recruited distinguished talent, expanded its main campus and dedicated a third building to research that allows families to receive the highest caliber of care, information and support during their child’s stay at Nationwide Children’s.

Nationwide Children’s has also benefitted from Nationwide’s sports marketing sponsorships. Combined efforts through the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, Legend’s Luncheon, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and ½ Marathon and partnerships with Hendrick Motorsports and The Dale Jr. Foundation helped raise more than $33 million since 2011.

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About Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2018-19 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.4 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at NationwideChildrens.org.

About The Nationwide Foundation
The Nationwide Foundation is a nonprofit, private foundation to which Nationwide companies are the donors. Founded in 1959, the Nationwide Foundation has contributed more than $430.7 million since 2000 to help nonprofit organizations in communities where Nationwide associates and their families live and work. Just as Nationwide supports its customers in their moment of need, both Nationwide and the Nationwide Foundation’s involvement in its home communities is focused on supporting organizations that help people facing critical or immediate need.

About Nationwide
Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, commercial, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; banking and mortgages; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at NationwideChildrens.org.