People new to the Michelson Found Animals Foundation might be surprised to learn that our benefactor, Dr. Gary Michelson, is a major player in sectors other than animal welfare. As a retired orthopedic spinal surgeon, he naturally has a passion for bioscience. Dr. Michelson’s dedication to medicine inspired the November 1st opening of Michelson Hall at the University of Southern California’s University Park Campus. The building is a result of a generous $50 million gift from Dr. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson.
Michelson Hall will be home to the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience. The Center is intended to bring together, or “converge,” exceptional minds across multiple disciplines. Physicians, scientists and engineers will collaborate with the ultimate goal of fast-tracking solutions to serious health issues. The Michelson Center is the latest major philanthropic effort from Dr. Michelson, and reflects his passion for improving lives through interdisciplinary innovation.
A Career in Innovation
During Dr. Michelson’s medical career, he made revolutionary breakthroughs with an interdisciplinary approach. Instead of merely improving surgery with new instruments, medical devices or procedures, he reinvented all three. In fact, over the course of 25 years of practice, he produced a staggering 100 research papers and other publications. He has more than 340 U.S. patents in his name, and at least 950 issued or pending patents.
Innovation Through Philanthropy
Today, Dr. Michelson oversees three non-profit organizations: the Michelson Medical Research Foundation, 20 Million Minds and Michelson Found Animals. All three groups embody that same passion for holistic problem-solving and apply it to medicine, education and animal welfare respectively.
Found Animals’ mission is “Saving Pets. Enriching Lives.” To achieve this goal, we operate multiple programs that help put pets in good homes and keep them there. After Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Michelson realized pets needed an easy and low-cost way to reunite with their owners. This led to the creation of our microchip pet registry, the first free microchip registry in the nation.
We didn’t stop there. Our Adopt & Shop locations execute a unique social enterprise model. Not only do we adopt out shelter pets, but all profits from retail sales and services go back to helping save more animals. Additional philanthropic efforts include grants for low- and no-cost spay and neuter programs for low-income families to reduce the homeless pet population. Furthermore, the Michelson Prize & Grants focuses on funding research into a non-surgical pet sterilization alternative.
Innovation for Years to Come
We are happy to celebrate the opening of Michelson Hall. We congratulate Dr. and Alya Michelson, USC and the many researchers at the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience. We look forward to the world-changing discoveries and breakthroughs that will surely come from this cutting-edge institution.