Ted Buchanan


 Tulane Empowers

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Honored donors fuel community involvement efforts at Tulane

From health care to public education and beyond, a distinguishing feature of the 2012 Paul Tulane Society inductees is that many of them have given to support Tulane’s efforts to be more actively engaged in the social and economic welfare of New Orleans. 

President Scott Cowen addresses the crowd at the Paul Tulane Society induction ceremony on March 15, 2012.


March 21, 2012

Michael Joe

After Hurricane Katrina, Sherry and Alan Leventhal knew that Tulane University’s recovery would be important to the survival of New Orleans. For many years, the Leventhals supported Tulane Law School, where Sherry graduated in 1977.   

But in December 2005, they gave their largest gift ever in support of the university’s rebuilding fund. Four years later, they made another significant contribution in support of Tulane Community Health Centers, which were established after Katrina in neighborhoods across the city to provide comprehensive primary care and mental-health services to underserved patients near their homes.   

“We realized that if Tulane went down, so would New Orleans,” said Sherry Leventhal, who was honored Thursday (March 15) along with her husband at the Paul Tulane Society induction ceremony at Freeman Auditorium. The Leventhals were among 31 individuals and organizations inducted into the society for having made gifts totaling at least $1 million to the university.   

From health care to public education and beyond, a distinguishing feature of the 2012 inductees into the Paul Tulane Society is that many of them have given to support Tulane’s efforts since Katrina to be more actively engaged in the social and economic welfare of New Orleans.   

After the storm, the ExxonMobil Foundation partnered with the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives to create the AdvanceNOLA program, which is training more than 300 students in five high schools for advanced placement courses. More recently, in 2010, the Gibson Foundation joined with Tulane to develop a music curriculum for university and K-12 students studying the Gulf South region’s musical heritage and traditions. That same year, the Libby-Dufour Fund made its largest gift to date to support the new Ruth U. Fertel/Tulane Community Health Center and Brinton Family Health & Healing Center, which will open in April.   

Cleland Powell, the treasurer of the Libby-Dufour Fund and a 1970 graduate of Tulane, said the neighborhood health clinic model in New Orleans has transformed primary care in the city. He added that donors are not the only ones excited about what Tulane is doing in New Orleans. “Students want to come here because they believe in community service,” he said.   

Each inductee receives a Paul Tulane Society medallion.

The Brinton Family Health & Healing Center is the perfect capstone to the late Mary Jane Brinton’s lifelong philanthropy, said her son, Bill Brinton, who accepted the medallion on behalf of the Brinton Family Fund. By offering comprehensive medical and psychiatric care in one setting to low-income patients, the center will fulfill Mrs. Brinton's vision of empowering New Orleans communities to prosper through holistic treatment of their health and well-being. Meanwhile, the center will be educating students from Tulane, local community colleges and high schools; strengthening the workforce; and creating a pipeline for future health professionals when it opens in April.

The Children’s Health Fund has also played a major role in Tulane’s ability to meet the primary health care needs of underserved children and families. Its partnership with the university began in the chaotic days after Katrina, when it supplied mobile health clinics that Tulane medical personnel staffed. Since then, the fund has established the New Orleans Children’s Health Project and given more than $2.5 million to the university in support of state-of-the-art mobile health clinics.  

Dr. Delaney Gracy, the fund’s chief medical officer, said the Children’s Health Fund works in communities across the nation and, in each case, seeks a strong local partner who shares its “mission for community health and for the care of underserved children.”   

“We’ve established this extremely strong relationship with Tulane because what also makes it work – beyond the matching missions of the institutions – are the players that we work with in the institution,” Gracy said. Those players include Tulane assistant professor of pediatrics, Dr. John Carlson, whose specialty in allergy and immunology has allowed mobile clinics to conduct allergy testing and special tests for people who are asthmatic.     

“There are so many kids in this region with uncontrolled asthma. Dr. Carlson has expanded the New Orleans program even beyond what most of our programs in the network do,” Gracy said.   

Tulane is setting a new standard for supporting projects with local meaning and broader application, Alan Leventhal said. “Tulane is doing things that can have great impact beyond this community here. I think that is what is so exciting about what is taking place.”    

The 2012 Paul Tulane Society inductees:   

Gayle and Tom Benson 
The Booth-Bricker Fund
The Brinton Family Fund
James M. Brock, Sr., M.D.
Estate of Logan Wickliffe Cary
The Children’s Health Fund
Dana and Stanley Day
The Libby-Dufour Fund
ExxonMobil Foundation
Donna and Paul Flower
Irwin Frankel, D.Ch.E.
Jill and Avie Glazer
Barbara and Jerry Greenbaum
The Irving Harris Foundation
Joseph M. Humphries, M.D.
Johnson Controls, Inc.
Alden J. Laborde
Sherry and Alan Leventhal Foundation
Bob Marshall
The McKnight Foundation
Jean and Saul A. Mintz
Penny C. Morrill
Music Rising
The Stanley W. Ray, Jr. Philanthropic and Civic Trust
Sara Lockhart Simmonds
Phyllis M. Taylor
M. Dreux Van Horn II
Josephine Wander Westlake
Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation
The Jacques L. Wiener, Jr. and Sandra M. Feingerts Family Fund
The Edward Wisner Donation   

Michael Joe is a writer in the Office of Development.



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