NYU Langone Health celebrated over $2 billion in donor support since 2019 at its first Violet Ball in that same time period, returning for the event to New York City’s iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art on Wednesday, November 1. This extraordinary giving—which includes 20 separate contributions of $10 million or more—helped NYU Langone meaningfully advance medicine in the face of a pandemic and gain widespread recognition as the nation’s leading health system for quality and safety.
Five new gifts were announced at the marquee event, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.
“What matters most is what these funds will allow us to do,” said Kenneth G. Langone, chair of the Board of Trustees. “And that’s continue to blaze the brightest trail to eradicate disease, develop new technologies, and get the leaders here who will save lives and uplift communities.”
Nearly $1 billion of the health system’s support in the past four years is unrestricted, with the donor relying entirely on NYU Langone to designate how it should best be spent. Flexible funding at this level is rare and a clear sign of a giving community’s trust in NYU Langone’s leadership and ability to put philanthropic dollars to best use.
Honoring the Bezos Family’s Impact on Healthcare in Brooklyn
The night’s honorees were Jackie and Mike Bezos and the Bezos family, who are longtime supporters of NYU Langone and its ever-growing commitment to improve health where the needs are greatest.
“What first brought Jackie and Mike to our doors was a powerful alignment with our central promise: to deliver one standard of outstanding care for everyone,” said Robert I. Grossman, MD, CEO of NYU Langone and dean of NYU Grossman School of Medicine. “Their partnership has grown tremendously over time, and at the height of COVID and a very low point for our city and especially its poorest neighborhoods, they linked arms with us to effect lasting change.”
The Bezos family’s most recent transformative $166 million gift—made with little fanfare in 2021—has allowed NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn and the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone to launch the Beyond Bridges initiative, enabling deep integration of community-based and clinical efforts to galvanize the health and wellbeing of diverse populations across the Sunset Park community. This dynamic model for community-wide health improvement in Sunset Park addresses social determinants of health and key drivers of health inequities.
“Jackie and Mike care only about their impact,” said Langone. “I have never met two people who want less of the spotlight on them. They are far too focused on shining light on others.”
The Beyond Bridges initiative has already united leaders from across the institution, the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone network, and some of Brooklyn’s most influential and embedded community-based organizations. This powerful network of individuals is reimagining NYU Langone’s research and clinical trials infrastructure and approach to medical education, training community members for healthcare careers, and removing barriers to effective care.
Among those in attendance to celebrate the family’s contributions were Jackie and Mike Bezos’s son, Mark, who spoke on his family’s behalf, and Lisa Bezos.
“If my parents see potential in your vision, your ethics, your leadership, and most importantly, your commitment to those you serve, they are in it for the long haul. They’re not just making a bet; they’re building a legacy,” said Mark.
“We set out to establish a new healthcare model that we hope will be replicated in communities across the country,” said Mike. “There is an enormous amount of work to be done, and NYU Langone Health is all in and paving the way.”
NYU Langone consistently receives top quality and safety accolades from independent arbiters of patient care, who base their ratings on performance measures from across the entire health system. NYU Langone is recognized by Vizient Inc. as the No. 1 comprehensive academic medical center and the No. 1 ambulatory system for quality and safety in the United States. The health system has 10 clinical specialties ranked in the top 10 nationally by U.S. News & World Report, including the No. 1 ranking for neurology and neurosurgery. NYU Langone also consistently receives “A” ratings on the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade and five-star ratings for safety, quality, and patient experience from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
“NYU Langone’s culture of excellence is pervasive and visible in every part of its mission,” said Fiona Druckenmiller, co-chair of the Board of Trustees and the Violet Ball, who has made transformative unrestricted gifts with her husband, Stanley, in the past two years to further NYU Langone’s national leadership as an integrated academic medical center.
“NYU Langone Health stands out as a resource for the highest-quality medical care and as a destination of hope,” said Laurence D. Fink, co-chair of the Board of Trustees and the Violet Ball. Along with his wife, Lori, Larry made a recent foundational gift to create the Lori Fink Breast Cancer Innovation Fund at Perlmutter Cancer Center and add to the institution’s overall research endowment.
Funds raised at the Violet Ball itself will also increase NYU Langone’s research endowment.