Bill and Carolyn Franke Give $21 Million to Establish New Center at Barrow Neurological Institute

Photo: (From left) Bill Franke; Volker K. H. Sonntag, MD, Emeritus Professor of Neurosurgery at Barrow Neurological Institute; Robert F. Spetzler, MD, Emeritus Chair of Neurosurgery at Barrow Neurological Institute; Katie Cobb, President of Barrow Neurological Foundation

Barrow Neurological Foundation announced that Bill and Carolyn Franke have created a $21 million endowment to fund educational programs at Barrow.

This groundbreaking educational endowment includes $18.9 million for international programs and $2.5 million for undergraduate research programs. In recognition of the Frankes’ generosity, Barrow will establish the Franke Global Neuroscience Education Center for its international and national education outreach programs.

“Carolyn and I believe education is vital to the advancement of life-saving care for patients with devastating neurological conditions. The Franke Global Neuroscience Education Center will allow Barrow to expand its international and undergraduate educational programs and to develop a legacy of learning that will have a global impact. We are pleased to be the catalyst of this effort,” said Bill Franke.

Mr. Franke, who has served as CEO of several organizations and currently is managing partner at  Indigo Partners LLC, has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanford University and holds an honorary PhD from Northern Arizona University and the University of Montana. He and his family are major financial supporters of education, including Northern Arizona University, the University of Montana, the University of Arizona, the Mayo Clinic Medical School of Arizona, Stanford University and Law School and, now, Barrow Neurological Institute.

The Franke Global Neuroscience Education Center will comprise two main sectors: Barrow International Programs and Barrow Undergraduate Research Programs. “A vital part of the mission of Barrow Neurological Institute is teaching and training the next generation of the world’s leading neurosurgeons, neurologists and neuroscientists. The transformational gift from the Frankes will enable us to fulfill this mission and has the potential to impact patients and providers from around the world for years to come,” said Michael T. Lawton, MD, president and CEO of Barrow Neurological Institute.

The International Programs endowment will allow Barrow to formalize its international education program to recruit doctors from developing countries to train with Barrow’s renowned neurosurgeons and neuroclinicians. These doctors will then take what they learned back to their home countries to treat patients from significantly underserved populations.

Barrow International Programs will be led by F. David Barranco, MD, chief medical officer at Barrow Neurological Institute, and Dilantha Ellegala, MD. “The Frankes gift to establish Barrow International Programs allows us to extend the unsurpassed care found at Barrow to patients across the globe, while educating the best and brightest,” Dr. Barranco said.

The Undergraduate Research endowment will allow Barrow to introduce brilliant young minds to career opportunities in neuroscience and provide them access to world-renowned physicians, scientists and surgeons, regardless of their socioeconomic background. The program will focus on underrepresented groups in health-related science and serve individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“The Frankes’ groundbreaking investment in global education will undoubtedly transform the training of the next generation of neurosurgeons,” said Katie Cobb, president of Barrow Neurological Foundation. “Because of the Franke family, Barrow will have the opportunity to expand its global reach, address underserved populations and, through education, save countless lives. Their generosity, vision and leadership are truly unprecedented and inspire all of us at Barrow to continue to advance our mission.”

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