Southwest Transplant Alliance’s Recovery Center Gets $1.3M in its First ‘Backyard Support’

Donations from three Dallas-based foundations focused on health and science made the first public contributions to the "first-of-its-kind" Southern transplant center. The gifts, along with another major donation, will provide technology and outfit two "highly specialized labs not found in hospitals."

We take a look at what's being funded that makes the center unique.

Thanks to four major gifts totaling $1.3 million, the Southwest Transplant Alliance is in the home stretch of its capital campaign with just under $9 million left to raise. The new donations mark the first public contributions to the Dallas-based nonprofit’s campaign for its stand-alone organ and tissue recovery center that’s slated to open in Dallas this fall.

The Southwest Transplant Alliance (STA) called it the “first backyard support” for the center. Dallas foundations, the Harry S. Moss Heart Trust, Hillcrest Foundation, and Hoblitzelle Foundation, along with Houston-based American Jet will secure tech equipment and labs for the first-of-its-kind center in the Southern U.S., the nonprofit told Dallas Innovates in an email. 

So far, the organization has raised $26 million of a $35 million goal.

Now STA, already an organ procurement organization leader, plans to set the pace for the industry.


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“What we do every day helps save lives,” said Patti Niles, the organization’s president and CEO, who said the new center “will put Dallas and the STA on the map for years to come.”

Since 1974, STA has facilitated over 35,000 organs for recovery and helped thousands of people through tissue recovery. STA is one of the largest federally designated, nonprofit organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the U.S.

But “compared to some of our nonprofit friends in the community, STA is very much a ‘best-kept secret,’” she said.

The new center and its life-saving mission could change that. 

The new facility “will help STA save more lives and provide even better care for our donors and donor families. The space will also help decrease the complexity, time, and logistics associated with the organ recovery and transplantation process,” Niles said in an email. “We can also focus on innovation and research to advance transplant science and further lead the organ procurement industry in this lifesaving work.”

Niles, who was a nurse before she was a CEO, said the advancements she’s seen in transplant science have been remarkable. STA hopes the center can spur “medical technology and equipment manufacturers to turn some of their most innovative blueprints into reality and elevate the medical reputation of Dallas.”

Other impacts could include attracting more medical students and specialized medical staff to the Dallas region, STA said. Beyond the economic impact, the center could also serve as inspiration for other regions of Texas and the Southern U.S. to build a similar model.

Patti Niles [Image: Courtesy Southwest Transplant Alliance]

What’s inside

The center’s Hoblitzelle Perfusion Lab will be an organ perfusion lab that’s able to keep donated organs healthier and more viable for transplant than just putting them on ice through its special equipment and technology, according to a statement. The lab plans to act as a best practice model for the organ and tissue care donation process.

Organ transplants are a major issue with 112,000 people currently on the national organ transplant waiting list. According to a Mid-America Transplant study, an organ center’s benefits include cutting costs associated with transplants by 50 percent and reducing the transplant process by five hours.

The organ perfusion lab is being funded through a $500,000 gift from the Hoblitzelle Foundation. 

“We know STA’s recovery center will make a huge impact in Dallas and surrounding communities, as STA supports more than 10 transplant centers and 280 hospitals in its catchment,” Katie Robbins, president and CEO of Hoblitzelle Foundation, said in a statement.

Rendering courtesy of Corgan.

The Hillcrest Simulation and Learning Lab, which gets its name from major donor Hillcrest Foundation, will be available on-site for medical staff to improve their skills and practice real-life, complicated procedures.

“We proudly support Southwest Transplant Alliance’s simulation and learning lab knowing how many lives it can save and enhance—many of them in our very own city,” Kelly Garlock, philanthropic client manager for Bank of America Private Bank, on behalf of the Trustees of the  Hillcrest Foundation, said in a statement.

Rendering courtesy of Corgan.

Through Harry S. Moss Heart Trust’s $100,000 gift, state-of-the-art cardiac equipment will be available in the center to help research and doctoral staff study heart diseases and research how to lower the necessity of heart transplants in America.

“We anticipate innovative research that Southwest Transplant Alliance’s recovery center will allow and are thrilled to partner with an organization that aligns with our purpose of the prevention and cure of diseases of the heart, ” Garlock, who is also a Trustee for the Harry S. Moss Heart Trust, said.

Rendering courtesy of Corgan.

The center will feature an American Jet Board Room through American Jet, a long-standing STA partner that hopes it will be used “as a focal point for the corporate operation and a reminder to STA of our commitment to their mission,” according to Roger Woolsey, CEO of American Jet.

A memorial garden and comfortable places will also be available on-site for donor families to meet with transplant recipients.

STA’s Center of Innovation and Excellence will focus on encouraging thought leadership in the transplantation field by hosting experts and speakers, while it’s also meant to be a place to conduct research and act as a training center.

The project will be managed by Cushman & Wakefield, with Corgan serving as the architect/designer and Adolphson & Peterson managing the construction.

Rendering courtesy of Corgan.

Quincy Preston contributed to this report. Updated on Sept. 22, 2020, to change attributions.

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