In September 2015, a large gift from a prominent Rhode Island family established an institute to tackle the urgent health needs of the state’s smallest residents.
The Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute was launched thanks to a $12.5 million gift from the family of retired Hasbro Chairman and CEO, Alan Hassenfeld. Brown University will raise $12.5 million to match the founding gift, supporting an integrated approach to research, clinical practice, public health efforts, and educational programs. The institute, sited at Brown and created in collaboration with Hasbro Children’s Hospital and Women & Infants Hospital, will target autism, asthma, obesity, and other urgent problems affecting the health of children.
The Hassenfeld family has a long history of supporting children’s health. In addition to the Hasbro company’s leadership in the opening of Rhode Island’s Hasbro Children’s Hospital in 1994, the family established the Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at New York University’s Langone Medical Center in 2011, has funded the new Hassenfeld Pediatric Center to be completed at NYU in 2017, and at Brown established the Alan G. Hassenfeld Professorship of Pediatrics and the Sylvia Kay Hassenfeld Professorship of Pediatrics.
“All of our incredible success is because of children the world over,” Hassenfeld said, referring to the prominence of his family’s toy and game company, Hasbro. “We always have been a family that has tried to give back to our community, and to women and children around the globe.”
Alan Hassenfeld emphasized that the gift reflects the commitment of his entire family, including his wife, Vivien, and sister Ellen Hassenfeld Block. “What it comes down to is two things: We have tremendous confidence in the success of this institute that aligns with strong work being done at Brown,” Hassenfeld said. “And the other is that I really do believe our greatest national resource is our children. My job where I sit today is to do whatever I can to maybe bring a smile where there has been a tear. With this institute, we feel we can truly make a difference.”