1989 Leading a Charge Against Psychiatric Disorders
Ted Stanley has one of the longest histories in mental-health philanthropy. Back in the late-1980s the billionaire retailer founded the Stanley Medical Research Institute, which quickly became the biggest private backer in the U.S. of investigations into bipolar disorder and schizophrenia—diseases the director described as “massively underresearched” by government health agencies. Stanley ended up funding between a quarter and half of all research on those two maladies, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in total.
Among other scientific contributions, this organization collected several hundred brains from persons suffering from various mental illnesses, which became the source for hundreds of thousands of tissue samples shipped to researchers making requests from all around the world. The Stanley Institute also supported scores of drug trials, seeking effective treatments via off-label uses of older medicines.
More recently, Stanley has underwritten mental-illness research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. His initial $100 million grant established a separate Center for Psychiatric Research. In 2014 he announced a huge $650 million gift to the Broad Institute, bringing his total giving to that group to $825 million. These funds will continue the work he launched there on uncovering the genetic roots of various psychiatric disorders.
- Philanthropy magazine on launch of Stanley Medical Research Initiative, philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/philanthropists_creating_cures
- Boston Globe article on $650 million gift, bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2014/07/21/broad-institute-receives-million-commitment-for-psychiatric-research/EkpKRskBV9tuTd09mLT39H/story.html