The Kuni Foundation is creating a $50 million fund for cancer and other medical research and to enhance the lives of developmentally disabled adults.
The Wayne D. Kuni and Joan E. Kuni Foundation worked with the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington to establish the new fund, which was announced Tuesday. The planned gift has made the Kuni Foundation one of the largest private charitable foundations in Washington, according to a news release announcing the partnership.
The goal of the fund is to support cancer research and improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities, said Carolyn Miller, Kuni Foundation board chair.
“One thing we’d like to do is give grants to talented, promising clinical researchers who are making strides in the cure for cancer,” Miller said.
In the past, the foundation has awarded grants for programs focused on breast, lung, prostate and ovarian cancers, as well as pediatric leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia and for early detection efforts, Miller said.
In addition to cancer research, the foundation hopes to fund nutrition, exercise and general wellness programs that will improve the lives of developmentally disabled people, Miller said.
Ties to auto dealership
The Kuni Foundation was created in 2005 by Wayne Kuni, who founded Vancouver-based Kuni Automotive in 1970.
Before Wayne Kuni died more than a decade ago, he planned to gift his ownership of the dealership group to a private foundation. Wayne and Joan Kuni’s wish was to help as many people as possible, Miller said.
Recently, the Kuni Foundation has provided funding for the construction and operation of Stephen’s Place, a residential community for adults with developmental disabilities, and donated $5 million to Oregon Health & Science University to support the Knight Cancer Challenge.