How the Kahlert Foundation is Making a Difference on Campus

The Kahlert Foundation’s recent gifts to support student scholarships and to help fund new facilities in the health sciences reflect their generosity of spirit, respect for education, and growing support of the University of Utah.

In 2015 the foundation created an endowed scholarship for students participating in the Lassonde Institute at the David Eccles School of Business. “The foundation’s support is incredibly generous and helps our Lassonde students gain invaluable, real world experience when they are able to launch businesses while getting a business education,” says Katie Amundson, director of development for the business school. Heather Kahlert, vice president of the foundation—and a U alum—recently agreed to serve on the school’s Eccles Advisory Board.

The foundation also provided generous support for the new Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute. Thanks to the Kahlert Foundation and other donors, the new 225,000 square-foot expansion allows HCI’s scientists and researchers to study the leading disease that kills children, to trace familial cancers, to accelerate the development of new treatments and cancer prevention strategies, and to enhance training programs for the next generation of cancer researchers. “From the very beginning, our goal has been to build an unrivaled cancer treatment and research campus that is at the forefront of scientific discovery,” says Jon M. Huntsman, Sr. “With this expansion, we’re one step closer to realizing our vision to eradicate cancer from the face of the earth.”

Additionally, the Kahlert Foundation is supporting construction of the new Medical Education and Discovery Building (shown below). “This facility will act as the hub that brings together people and ideas,” says Christopher Nelson, former executive director of the University Hospital Foundation. “Reimagined learning and work spaces will bring the energy and innovation of students, faculty, and the community to improve the health of our population through health systems innovations, precision medicine, and global partnerships.”

Established in 1991 by Bill Kahlert, the foundation originally supported programs located in the Mid-Atlantic area. In 2015, with the third generation of Kahlerts reaching adulthood, Heather, who lives in Utah, expressed an interest in becoming more involved and suggested the foundation consider expanding its philanthropy to include The Beehive State. The board agreed and voted her in as vice president.

“When I realized the scope of the foundation’s work and its capacity to do good in the community, I also realized how much need there is and how much more we could do,” she says. And of her grandfather, who established the foundation and whose thoughtfulness and generosity in the community has inspired her in her philanthropic work, she says, “Everything he did in his life was an example of a good person and a good man— someone with honor. I always try to be like him.”

A gift from the Kahlert Foundation will go toward construction of the new Medical Education and Discovery Building (pictured in center) on the Health Sciences Campus.