The ASTS Foundation now recognizes giving based on annual giving as well as lifetime giving. The two lifetime giving levels are: The President’s Club ($10,000+) and the Starzl Club ($25,000+). There are currently eight members of the President’s Club, and Tom and Ruby Peters are our inaugural members of the Starzl Club!

Many of you know what the Society means to you, but what about the Foundation? Below are featured stories from our inaugural President's Club and Starzl Club members, so you can learn more about their perspectives and personal connection with the ASTS Foundation. We hope you will be inspired to join your colleagues and share your story too!

  • John P. Roberts, MD

    Dr. John RobertsI am truly honored to have been appointed as the ASTS Foundation’s new Board Chair. This is time for changes within the Foundation, and I am excited to help pave a new path.

    Over the past 18 months, the ASTS leadership has been working on a revised strategic direction for the ASTS Foundation. With an emphasis on growing our culture of philanthropy and the need for dedicated efforts in fundraising, the ASTS Foundation Board of Directors recently voted to approve a new, 12-person board responsible for and focused on the goal of raising money to fund the Society’s critical programs and initiatives. Seven members of the Board currently serve on the ASTS Council, and 5 of us have been selected as independent, at-large members. I am joined by my esteemed colleagues Dr. Ginny Bumgardner as the Vice-Chair and Drs. Ron Busuttil, Goran Klintmalm, and Tom Peters. The ex officio members from the ASTS Council are Drs. Dixon Kaufman, Lloyd Ratner, Will Chapman, Osama Gaber, Wendy Grant, Alan Reed, and Julie Heimbach.

    As the inaugural Chair, I want to identify the best way for the Foundation to support the efforts of the Society and put the money that is so generously donated from our members and colleagues to good use. In 2018, the ASTS Foundation committed to $350,000 in research grant funding, and with the support of our industry partners we awarded $575,000 in grants this year. These types of initiatives are critical to the ASTS mission, and we will continue to explore the best ways to deploy our resources.

    In October, the new Board will meet for the first time and we will embark on this new journey. Although the agenda has not been set, I hope that we will establish new goals for the Foundation and continue to identify programs and initiatives we should be supporting. I am encouraged by the success of our past, and I am enthusiastic about our future.

    If you haven’t already joined our culture of philanthropy, please consider joining me and many of your peers! All contributions received help fund activities within the ASTS. Visit ASTSfoundation.org to learn more.

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  • Peter G. Stock, MD, PhD

    Dr. Peter StockI remember the first meeting of the ASTS I attended when I was a surgery resident at the University of Minnesota. The meeting was still in the grand ballroom in the Drake Hotel in Chicago, and all the “greats” of transplant were in one room – discussing triple immunosuppression regimens that included the new agent Cyclosporine. The robust discussions/arguments between the Starzl and Najarian teams were so awesome – and I immediately knew that I wanted to join the fun and excitement of a field that was still evolving. There is no question that the ASTS has captured the spirit of this exciting era of transplantation – and remained the anchor for the relatively small community of transplant surgeons.

    Over the years, the ASTS has provided the rich environment necessary to keep current in a rapidly evolving field. But more importantly, it has fostered the development of great friends who enjoy giving each other a hard time! Seriously, the rich network of lifelong friends and colleagues that I have made through the ASTS has been a highlight of my career.

    So, why donate to the ASTS Foundation? The answer is simple: time to “pay it forward.” I have been so privileged to be given the opportunity to be part of this Society, and I have never forgotten the generous ASTS-Sandoz Fellowship grant that helped kickstart my academic career. I look at the statue of that chimera on the fellowship plaque with pride every day, and it reminds me that I need to help support the next generation of transplant surgeons.

    Besides, I have to catch up to the contributions by Tom Peters – you know how competitive transplant surgeons are! Kim and Maggie, the check for next year is in the mail!

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  • Kim M. Olthoff, MD

    What the ASTS Foundation Means to Me

    Dr. Kim OlthffWhy do I give to the ASTS Foundation? I guess because it is just what we do. Our profession is based on both giving and receiving. Each day in our lives we see donors and donor families give that cherished gift of life, either of themselves or their loved ones. We, as surgeons, also give and receive. We give of our skills, time, and talent. We may even give and share a bit of our heart and our passion. We also receive; throughout our career we receive teaching from our colleagues and mentors, the satisfaction of seeing patients do well, gratitude from families, and fulfillment from our work.
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    I see the ASTS Foundation as another important way to give and receive in our world of transplantation.  When we give to the Foundation, so many people receive the benefit: patients, students, residents, fellows, junior faculty, and other members of our transplant teams. By giving to the ASTS Foundation, we support the mission of our Society and the education of future transplant professionals. We support increasing donation, making more organs available to more people, and surviving longer. We support innovative research and advancing the science of transplantation.

    I started giving to the ASTS Foundation early in my career because I felt it was important to support the organization that helped give me support with training and grant support. I couldn’t give much, but it meant a lot to me. As I progressed in my career, I continued to give because I saw that small donations from many could provide so many rewards for even more members. This was particularly evident when I chaired the Awards Committee and saw the downstream results. And now, I give because I wish to continue to support the careers of those in our field who will be our future leaders.

    We are so fortunate to do what we do. I hope you will join me in giving back to the Society from which you have received so much. It is the season of giving, so that more can receive those gifts, passing it on to the next generation.

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  • Goran B. Klintmalm, MD, PhD

    Dr. Goran KlintmalmEver since its creation in 1974, ASTS has been the forum for transplant surgeons, not only from the U.S. but from around the world, to communicate with the purpose of developing the then experimental discipline of organ transplantation into a clinical science that could save lives. However, even now established therapy is not perfect. There are still innumerable questions that await answers. And ASTS is here providing the opportunity for creative communication between all involved. In addition, it is the only true voice of the transplant surgeons, representing us when working with Congress, HRSA, CMS, FDA, etc.

    In 2007 when I was treasurer for ASTS, I realized that the pharmaceutical industry which had enabled the transplant community to develop organ transplantation since the late 1970s would probably not be able to do so much longer. Thus I proposed for the ASTS Foundation to build up a fund of $20 million, which would be sufficient to support our annual meetings such as ATC and the Winter Symposium. In addition, it would give us the ability to support young promising investigators with research funding that would lead them to a career of academic investigation. This proposal was passed by the Council. Ten years later, we are actually very close to reaching this goal.

    For myself, it has always been my belief and desire to support activities that benefit the society we live within—and especially ASTS which has been central in my entire professional life ever since my first ASTS meeting at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, in May of 1980. There were fewer than 150 surgeons and investigators from around the world who met. The traditional friendly sparring between Starzl and Najarian was one of the fun highlights of the meeting. Tom Starzl presented our pioneering results from Denver using cyclosporin in livers and kidneys and of course so did Roy Calne from Cambridge. It was electrifying, as was the dinner at Fred Merkel’s lakeside home Friday evening for all the attendees. Having an informal, outdoor dinner with virtually all the famous investigators in the world was a dream for a young fellow.

    The contributions from the ASTS membership are absolutely essential to propagating our Society into the future. It gives us the ability to support and develop future transplant surgeons, and not less important, to be on the barricades flying the flag with the chimera logo, representing us in a rapidly changing world.

    I urge all of you to reach out to the ASTS Foundation with a contribution. Make it part of your legacy as a transplant surgeon.

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  • Ronald W. Busuttil, MD, PhD

    Ronald W. Busuttil, MD, PhDIt is truly an honor to have been asked by the current ASTS leadership to make a few remarks on the seminal importance of supporting the ASTS Foundation and the objective to not only strengthen our Society, but to foster and support the future leaders of transplantation. When I was President of the ASTS in 1999, one of my goals was to embrace the younger members and future leaders of our profession and Society, in order to integrate them fully into our activities, direction, and vision. To that end, we initiated a focused campaign to recruit younger candidates to the ASTS and formed a standing committee comprising members who had been in the Society for less than three years, named the Vanguard Committee. Since its inception, actions by the Vanguard Committee have been integral to the growth of the ASTS and directly led to the creation of the Winter Symposium, which has been extremely successful in advancing basic and clinical transplantation research and has served as a progressive scientific forum for our members for nearly two decades.

    To expand on these and so many other accomplishments that the ASTS has championed in transplantation science, clinical care, and the mentoring and support of our younger members, we all need to give serious consideration to help the ASTS Foundation grow. The goal is to raise $20M by 2020, which will allow our Society to continue to flourish and become self-sustaining despite the current climate of decreased funding of surgeon-scientists that has had an impact on our specialty as well as many others.

     As successful as the Vanguard Committee has been in fostering the academic goals of young transplant surgeons, I believe the ASTS Foundation campaign will be just as, if not more, successful in ushering in a new era and taking our Society and its members to a completely new level. I urge you all to give serious consideration toward making contributions to this extremely worthy cause.

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  • Thomas G. Peters, MD, and Ruby Peters

    Ruby and Tom Peters are inaugural members of the ASTS Foundation Presidents’ Club and also the first to donate appreciated stock rather than cash. Tom is the ASTS Historian and represents ASTS to the American Medical Association. Recently, Ruby and Tom discussed their commitment to the ASTS Foundation with Maggie Kebler-Bullock, ASTS Grants Manager. In this issue of the Chimera, we are pleased to share Tom and Ruby’s story.

    Tom and Ruby PetersWe had contributed before, and did not know of the Presidents’ Club when we discussed inclusion of the Foundation in our annual assessment of gifting. We tithe, and there was an opportunity to consider a special gift—that of appreciated stock. We called the ASTS Foundation staff and learned that appreciated stock had not previously been in the Foundation portfolio. So this was not only a great opportunity for us to contribute, but also a way to help shepherd the Foundation in exploring a new way to grow its net worth by accepting gifts in alternative ways.

    While transplantation surgery is a solidly established specialty, there are not—and likely never will be—vast numbers of transplant surgeons. So, we probably will remain one of the smaller surgical disciplines for a host of reasons. Therefore, we need a strong and vigorous ASTS to represent us to our government, the larger medical community, national organizations such as the American College of Surgeons and the American Medical Association, and to those entities which pose either an opportunity or a threat. A strong ASTS Foundation will permit the ASTS to do the tasks needed to ensure organizational success necessary for our patients and our surgical specialty.

    We believe all ASTS members should join us in supporting the ASTS Foundation. The ASTS has filled a special niche in our lives with friends, colleagues, great science, and loads of fun. Without the ASTS and the Foundation, our professional and personal lives would not be as full and gratifying as they have been. We know how the ASTS has enriched Tom’s professional life, and we both have made life-long friends with ASTS members and their families. A strong ASTS Foundation ensures the long-term viability of the ASTS itself.

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  • Charles M. Miller, MD

    Dr. Charles MillerAs I take the helm of the ASTS Foundation, I’m proud that I can do so as an inaugural member of the President’s Club. There are six of us at the moment and I’m looking forward to welcoming more soon.

    As the Foundation approaches its goal of $20 million by 2020, it’s important to begin planning for what comes next. On September 9, the Foundation’s Board of Directors gathered in New York to begin a formal strategic planning process, and I look forward to sharing the results with you.

    None of us can know what the future holds, but building out a strong framework will enable us to navigate it more successfully. We are mindful that the Foundation exists because of the generosity of its contributors, and we are determined to be good stewards of your investment in the Society’s future.

    Giving to the Foundation is a personal choice, but it’s also something I feel is an obligation for the leadership of the Society. For all of us who have the best interests of the Society at heart, supporting the Foundation should be a natural choice. The ASTS Foundation funds mission-critical initiatives such as ASTS Research Grants and the Institute of Medicine donor intervention study. It also provides a financial underpinning for the Society’s programs independent of industry funding.

    ASTS was there through the best and worst moments of my career, and it gives me great satisfaction to support it by donating my time, effort, and money. We all have our own stories about what we’ve gained from our experiences in the Society and our own reasons for the organizations we choose to support. My fellow President’s Club members will be telling their own stories in coming issues of the Chimera, and I hope to hear yours soon as well.

    But what I want to leave you with is this: transplantation is a unique, challenging, and fulfilling field. We save and improve lives through our work, which completely depends on the altruism and sacrifice of people we may never meet. Every transplant surgery I perform is part of an act of amazing generosity. That’s the defining trait of our field, I think. Every organ I transplant is a gift, a precious piece of someone that goes into a new life and inspires gratitude and generosity in the recipient.

    So, in honor of the generous heroes who make our work possible, I want to pay back. And my challenge to you is to do the same, and we are committed to making the ASTS Foundation the right choice for your generosity.

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