Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s family is donating $15 million to Seattle Children’s Hospital to support its work in neurosciences medicine and mental health care.
Satya Nadella and his wife Anu shared a statement in announcing the gift on Wednesday: “When our son Zain was born with cerebral palsy, our family formed a deep connection to Seattle Children’s, relying on their expertise, care and resources as we navigated the challenges of raising a child with complex medical needs. It is our hope that in honoring Zain’s journey, we can support Seattle Children’s in advancing precision medicine neurosciences, mental and behavioral healthcare, and providing equitable access to care for every family and community.”
The donation will help in four specific areas in neuro medicine: recruiting leaders in precision medicine, building a clinical trial program, expanding the organization’s mental health initiatives, and creating the Zain Nadella Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neurosciences.
Zain, who is now 24 years old, was taken to Seattle Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) immediately after birth to receive life-saving care. As an adult, he needs continual, specialized care and communicates nonverbally. Nadella detailed the impact that Zain’s life has had on him in his book, “Hit Refresh,” and spoke about it at the 2017 GeekWire Summit. Since Nadella took the top spot at Microsoft, the company has increased its commitment to developing technology to help people who are disabled and has initiatives to increase access to employment for disabled workers.
“As parents, our lives have been shaped by the needs of our children, and it is our hope that in honoring Zain’s journey, we can improve and innovate care for future generations in every community,” said Anu Nadella, who currently serves as chair of Seattle Children’s Foundation Board of Trustees and co-chair of the Neuroscience Campaign Initiative Committee.
The hospital is running a fundraising effort called It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s. The initiative hopes to raise $1.35 billion that will fund wide-ranging needs in pediatric health research and care.
“We’re incredibly grateful for Anu and Satya’s tremendous generosity and commitment to improving the lives of children and teens with neurological conditions and brain injuries,” said Dr. Jeff Sperring, CEO of Seattle Children’s, in a statement.
U.S. News & World Report last year named Seattle Children’s among the nation’s best children’s hospitals. Founded in 1907, the organization reported more than 377,000 annual patient visits at its main campus and affiliated clinics in its report for 2020. Seattle Children’s ranked fifth in National Institutes of Health for research funding among pediatric institutions.
At the same time, Seattle Children’s has faced significant internal challenges in recent years. That includes news of airborne mold in its facilities that infected and reportedly killed seven patients, leading to a class-action lawsuit. And in November, a Black doctor who was the medical director of a Seattle Children’s affiliated clinic for 20 years resigned from his post due to actions by hospital leadership that he felt were racist.