The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has received a bequest of 1,552,655 €, which, to honour the wishes of the donors, will support research into cancer and metastasis. This is the first legacy donation that the centre has received, made by a private couple from Barcelona.
“The donors firmly believed in biomedical research and health,” says Jaume Solé i Janer, the family lawyer and executor of the will, “and had made donations to hospitals and other organisations to support research and healthcare. They held IRB Barcelona in high regard”.
The couple contacted IRB Barcelona back in 2009 after learning about the centre's research through Joan Massagué, the then adjunct director. “We kept in constant touch over more than seven years, and would meet up on numerous occasions and they came to visit the labs. They understood the need for research into metastasis and the opportunity to further knowledge and improve public health, and that made them very happy,” explains a grateful Joan J. Guinovart, director of IRB Barcelona.
For IRB Barcelona, the donation will be crucial to speed up cutting-edge studies into metastasis that are being conducted by several of its research groups. This is precisely one of the research fields in which IRB Barcelona excels and has made discoveries of international impact.
“It is a very generous donation and it is important for research centres to receive these gestures of support from the public. We are starting to see a growing awareness about the importance of biomedical research on the part of society,” says Guinovart. Joan Massagué, current chair of IRB Barcelona’s External Advisory Board and director of the Sloan Kettering Institute (New York, USA), stresses the importance of “philanthropy to strengthen not only clinical research but also basic research so as to achieve advances that benefit patients and their families.”
In addition to this bequest, in recent years other people have expressed their wish to include IRB Barcelona in their wills.
Charitable bequests, less than 1%
According to figure published by the Colegio Notarial de Cataluña in 2015, charitable bequests in Spain amounted to 115 M € (33 M € in Catalonia), and 0.9% of the wills made in that year included a charitable donation (0.7% in Catalonia).
To inform the public about donations, this year IRB Barcelona, together with 22 other non-profit organisations, has joined the campaign LegadoSolidario.org. Through this platform, IRB Barcelona informs potential donors about its work, answers questions, and explains the options available to leave a charitable bequest to the Institute, and other ways to support it.
Since 2014, the Institute has been actively promoting donations to biomedical research. Awareness campaigns include the viral video, "IRB Barcelona scientists dance for cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes research", which has had more than one million visits on YouTube, and the “IRB Barcelona Future” fellowship campaign, which funds a young scientist through donations made by the public.