by Steven Ertelt
May 23, 2005
New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — A private foundation based in New York will give grants totaling $50 million to research centers and universities to advance embryonic stem cell research. The donations come at a time when Congress is considering whether or not to use public funds for the unproven research.
The Starr Foundation will donate the money over three years to Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Rockefeller University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The three Manhattan medical institutions will work together on joint projects.
Foundation chairman Maurice Greenberg told the New York Times that the gifts were intention to make the state a leader in the controversial field, which requires the destruction of human life to obtain stem cells.
There was no formula given for how the three institutions will divide the funds.
Cornelius Vander Starr, founder of what eventually became known as American International Group, created the Starr Foundation.
The foundation and Greenberg have previously come under investigation from the state attorney general’s office for allegedly falsifying financial information.
In the state legislature, lawmakers have introduced a measure that would have the state of New York spending $100 million per year on embryonic stem cell research.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver introduced the bill to create a state institute for stem cell research. It would receive $100 million from the state this year and $200 million next year.
Sen. Nicholas Spano plans to introduce a similar bill in the state Senate.
Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, called the bill a "positive thing," according to a Newsday report, but said he doesn’t know how the state will come up with the necessary funds.
But, Kathleen Gallagher of the New York State Catholic Conference says embryonic stem cell research is "human experimentation" and something that should not be financed with money from pro-life people who strongly oppose it.
The state Assembly has twice passed a bill that states embryonic stem cell research is permitted in the state, but the Senate has never voted on it.