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Preventing the Next Pandemic

The Flanagan Foundation’s recent philanthropy focuses on critical infectious disease research.

Global health clinic hero
Northwestern’s global health outreach programs aid underserved populations.

Spring 2021
“We Will” Update

For more than 40 years, the late John R. Flanagan ’58 MBA generously supported Northwestern through major gifts for medical research at the University.  A recent gift from the John R. Flanagan Charitable Foundation seeks to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, like COVID-19, around the world.

Robert Murphy

In 2020 the Flanagan Foundation made a commitment to establish the Dr. Robert L. Murphy Professorship in Emerging Infectious Disease, in honor of the current executive director of the Institute for Global Health at Feinberg School of Medicine — a longtime friend of Flanagan’s. This position will fund the research priorities of a faculty member in the institute’s Center for Global Communicable and Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“The John R. Flanagan Charitable Foundation is privileged to make this gift in celebration of John’s life, his commitment to Northwestern Medicine and his personal relationship with Dr. Murphy,” says John Boyle ’11 MD, a member of the foundation’s board.

Prior to the creation of the foundation following his death, Flanagan himself made a gift in 2018 to establish the Neil J. Stone, MD, Professorship — named in honor of Neil J. Stone ’66, ’68 MD, ’74 GME, ’75 GME and currently held by Sanjiv J. Shah — in the cardiology division at Feinberg. The professorship was supported in part by the Ryan Family Chair Challenge.

The Flanagan Foundation also supports future generations of Northwestern-educated leaders in medicine. The recently established John R. Flanagan Charitable Foundation Medical Scholarship will go to a fourth-year medical student who has matched to a residency program. The Flanagan Fellowship Fund in the department of physiology at Feinberg helps advance educational programs for trainees focused on Parkinson’s disease research.

The foundation expanded its support of Northwestern earlier this year when it committed to providing need-based scholarships for underrepresented students or those pursuing a degree in finance at the Kellogg School of Management.

A 1958 Kellogg graduate, Flanagan was a partner at Stein Roe & Farnham before becoming founder and president of Fundamental Equities International. Prior to his passing in 2019, he said, “When I think about philanthropy, I always remember where I started.  My family had limited means. I worked four jobs at once in college. Now that I have some modest wealth, and I know I can’t take it with me, I want to do something good with it.”

“One of the Institute for Global Health’s core missions is to prevent the next pandemic. That’s why we are very fortunate and so grateful to receive funding from the Flanagan Foundation for a full-time position in molecular epidemiology. The person ultimately filling this role will help us study how viruses like COVID-19 transmit and how to stop them.” — Robert L. Murphy

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