The Forum welcomes women (over the age of 21) who are interested in promoting the life-saving work of Texas Biomed. On August 4, 1971, Dottie Dreeben Block, the Forum's first president, said, “The original concept came from Mrs. S. S. Kalter, Mr. Lewis T. Johnson, Mr. L. Richard Smith Jr. and Dr. Harold Vagtborg to establish a women's group in support of Southwest Foundation for Research and Education, now known as the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. Soon, Mrs. James W. Gorman Jr., Mrs. Daniel J. Sullivan IV and I agreed to act as co-chairmen to organize the initial Board of Trustees, try to interest other women in joining us and begin the legal process including a charter from the state and nonprofit, tax-exempt status.”
Since that time, Forum membership has grown to more than 400 women who act as ambassadors to educate the San Antonio community about the vital research conducted at Texas Biomed. Fund raising efforts initiated by the founding Board, and continued today, include a spectacular gala, which has become the premier spring event eagerly anticipated by the San Antonio community. Throughout the years, the Forum has also organized fashionable style shows in cooperation with various department stores and boutiques.
To increase community awareness of the outstanding research for which Texas Biomed is internationally known, the Forum hosts tours of the 80-acre campus for outstanding area high school science students, as well as an annual tour for Forum members. In addition, the Forum annually awards monetary grants to area high schools with the most innovative and progressive science education programs.
The Forum's commitment to educating its membership and the community about Texas Biomed's research is also evidenced by the fall and spring lecture luncheons featuring Texas Biomed scientists. Held at The Argyle, the lectures inform members and guests about the cutting-edge research taking place at the institute and its positive impact on human health.
At the end of the summer, the Forum provides Texas Biomed with a sizable check, which is then distributed to select scientists in support of their research needs. The Forum sponsors a one-year pilot project that leads to subsequent and often significant federal funding of research in that area. In the last thirteen years alone, the results of funded studies have led to additional grants amounting to an estimated $30 million. Clearly, the impact of the Forum's fundraising efforts through the Gala is a valuable component in furthering Texas Biomed's life-saving research.
The Forum is a very active organization that offers members a wide variety of opportunities in which to get involved. Whether donating time, talents or treasures, members derive a high sense of accomplishment in knowing their efforts are furthering a world-class organization, Texas Biomed, that is making a positive difference in the lives of people everywhere.