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University Hospitals using $2 million gift from Feuer family to set up fund to fast-track innovative ideas

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

Michael Feuer learned the value of investing in good ideas during his 16 years as CEO of OfficeMax. That’s why he and his wife are giving $2 million to University Hospitals to spur similar innovations in health care.

UH announced Wednesday that the donation from Michael and Ellen Feuer is being used to establish the Feuer Innovation Accelerator fund. UH CEO Dr. Cliff Megerian will oversee the fund, which will be used to invest in a variety of ideas that could improve the way health care is delivered to patients.

Michael Feuer, who lives with his wife in Cleveland and Florida, said the idea behind the fund is to cut out some of the red tape that can be involved with getting a good idea off the ground. He saw the value in expediting those types of projects as co-founder and CEO of OfficeMax, which opened its first store in Cleveland back in 1988.

“There were so many things that I saw a little differently. Where I said, ‘You know, it’s worth a shot, but we don’t need to make a career out of deciding this thing,’” Feuer said. “That was the concept.”

The types of projects that UH could invest in will be varied. Feuer said he has only one objective for the fund – to invest in projects that will help patients.

“I’m not interested in improving the parking lot or things like that,” he said. “Anything that will help a patient either stay well or be well, or lessen any kind of suffering.”
Megerian will oversee the fund, but ideas will be solicited from UH health care workers. UH Ventures, the innovation and commercialization arm of the health system, will evaluate those ideas and recommend some of them to Megerian.
“We are deeply appreciative of this forward-thinking gift from Michael and Ellen,” Megerian said in a news release. “It will provide us with immediate access to funds that will further enhance our culture of innovation at UH while investing in caregiver-driven inspirations.”
Feuer said he’s particularly confident in how the fund will be used because he has a long-standing relationship with both UH and Megerian. He served on the UH board of directors for 12 years and sat on numerous committees. He was also one of Megarian’s instructors at the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management.

Feuer said he doesn’t expect every idea to be successful, but he wants Megerian and the UH team to feel comfortable taking chances on ideas with potential. He also said he plans to continue giving to the fund in the future, and he is hopeful he can encourage others to do the same.

Feuer noted that he heard many good ideas when he sat on the UH board of directors. He’s optimistic the new fund will help make more of them a reality.

“They weren’t the cure to COVID, but they were things that would lessen suffering and pain or improve wellness,” he said. “And that’s what it’s all about. It’s little steps that get things done.”

Source: University Hospitals using $2 million gift from Feuer family to set up fund to fast-track innovative ideas – cleveland.com

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