Atlanta’s Shepherd Center announced an $80 million grant from The Marcus Foundation that will be the cornerstone of the specialty rehabilitation hospital’s most significant, transformational expansion since its founding in 1975.
The $80 million grant will support additional capacity so more patients and families can receive Shepherd Center’s transformative care that centers as much on clinical excellence as it does on giving patients confidence and real-world tools to live as independently and pain-free as possible.
“With The Marcus Foundation’s generosity, we were able to grow from a singular focus on patients with spinal cord injury to now also providing life-restoring care for patients with brain injury, multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders,” said Alana Shepherd, Shepherd Center co-founder and chairman of the board.
Shepherd Center is a nationally-ranked neurorehabilitation hospital that helps restore the lives of patients with spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions stemming from a life-altering injury or diagnosis.
It is one of only a few neurorehabilitation specialty hospitals in the nation, having served more than 35,000 patients to date.
The Marcus Foundation has been a critical partner as Shepherd Center continued to expand both its capacity and programming to meet the needs of its patients and their families over the years, beginning with a grant in 1988 to fund construction of Shepherd Center’s Billi Marcus Building.
Bernie Marcus’ support of Shepherd Center started in the early 1980s at the outset of his long-tenured dedication to philanthropy. He and his wife, Billi, have since been generous supporters of the hospital through both The Marcus Foundation as well through personal donations.
“Billi and Bernie believed in us from the beginning as we dreamed to do the impossible, establishing a specialized rehabilitation program following the catastrophic accident our son, James, experienced,” Shepherd said.
Across The Marcus Foundation’s partnership with Shepherd, groundbreaking programs were also created like the Marcus Community Bridge Program that supported patients after their inpatient care ended and the SHARE Military Initiative for U.S. service members who experience traumatic brain injury.
“Watching Alana and her family nurture the organization from an idea into the premier destination for neurorehabilitation has inspired my family and foundation to continue driving Shepherd Center’s mission forward,” Marcus said. “Billi and I are excited to be a part of Shepherd Center’s next chapters, which will save and change even more patients’ lives from catastrophic injuries and neurological conditions.”
The Marcuses are also emeriti members of the Shepherd Center Board and have provided personal support to the hospital in various ways, including Billi’s service as the chair of Shepherd Center’s annual fundraising golf tournament for 17 consecutive years.
“Billi and Bernie have been a profound part of Shepherd Center’s legacy, proving that they will go to great lengths to help us impact, empower and transform the lives of thousands of patients following a catastrophic injury or disease,” said Sarah Morrison, president and CEO of Shepherd Center. “We are thrilled that their commitment will carry forward with us into this next era, which will only be further enriched by our ongoing partnership.”
Marcus added, “In this season of gratitude, I challenge businesses and individuals throughout the community to join me in supporting this critical institution that makes what seems impossible after a life-changing injury or illness a reality for so many thousands of patients and their families.”