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Catalyst Gift From Australian Philanthropist Barry Lambert to Support Innovation at Jefferson

Gift Signing

The $2 million donation will create a new fund for innovation and sustainability utilizing hemp.

Australian philanthropists Joy and Barry Lambert have made a $2 million gift to Thomas Jefferson University to advance innovative, sustainable medical solutions utilizing industrial hemp and its derivatives. In support of Reimagine: The Campaign for Jefferson, the contribution will create the Lambert Innovation Fund within Jefferson’s Innovation Pillar.

“Barry Lambert likes to say that solving big problems requires courage and big ideas—that’s what this catalyst gift is all about,” said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, President, Thomas Jefferson University and CEO, Jefferson Health. “The Lambert Innovation Fund will enable us to link ideas to impact.”

“Research into hemp is important to me and Joy, because we’ve seen it work,” says Barry Lambert. “Medicine derived from hemp gave relief to our granddaughter’s seizures, and our hope is that this new fund will provide resources and inspiration for innovations and products that help others.”

The Jefferson Innovation Pillar encourages and fosters ideas with the goal of converting them into products and services. It consolidates institutional resources to test new business models and nurture entrepreneurialism among employees, students, and the Jefferson community at large. To date, Jefferson has licensed more than 100 inventions and started more than 25 new ventures that have gone on to raise upwards of $200 million.

“We believe that smart partnerships and innovation can become the core of our strategic vision. They’re the differentiator and driver,” says Larry Merlis, Executive Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Ventures and Innovations at Jefferson. “The Lamberts’ generosity opens up new avenues for solutions that utilize hemp to address health and resource sustainability issues.”

Barry Lambert, 73, is renowned in the Australian banking industry for founding Count Financial, Australia’s largest network of accounting-based advisory firms. This is the Lambert family’s second major gift to Jefferson in recent years. In 2016, the couple made a $3 million gift to establish the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp.

Media Contact:
Angela Showell
Director, News and Media Relations