ATLANTA and DALLAS – February 8, 2022 – The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has granted $15 million to The Cooper Institute, a nonprofit founded in 1970 by Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, the “Father of Aerobics.” The generous grant will preserve the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study (CCLS), establish a Prevention Research chair in honor of Dr. Cooper and support research to promote healthy aging in honor of Dr. Cooper. The sustainability of this study will be invaluable to public health. To watch a video discussion with Arthur Blank and Dr. Cooper, click here.
Dr. Cooper established the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study (CCLS) to prove the health benefits of physical activity at a time when the medical community did not believe in the concept of exercise as medicine. The founding tenets of The Cooper Institute were to develop a long-term study population in which scientists could look at the health benefits and risks of physical activity as well as preventive health care. Since its inception, the CCLS has grown to be the largest study in the world with measured cardiorespiratory fitness and extensive evaluation of the participants, which has allowed wide-ranging research into healthy lifestyles, prevention and impact on chronic disease. The Cooper Institute proved being fit decreases mortality as shown in its landmark study published in 1989 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“I first learned of Dr. Cooper’s work nearly 50 years ago when I read his book, Aerobics, and it changed my life,” said Arthur M. Blank, chairman, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. “I began running and developed an interest in preventive medicine that I still have today. Dr. Cooper invited me to his clinic in Dallas 20 years ago, and that began an enduring friendship that’s one of my fondest blessings. As a member of his board I saw his passion and concern for the health of all people up close and I think it would be very hard to overstate the positive impact his tremendous life and work have had on the world. I’m honored and privileged to support The Cooper Institute and help preserve Dr. Cooper’s legacy.”
The Blank Family Foundation grant will support The Cooper Institute’s work to ensure the long-term availability of this important study for researchers, the medical community and the lay public to explore as yet unknown but critical prevention questions. The Cooper Institute research will continue to focus on healthy living, healthy aging and Preventive Medicine while expanding the scope to new critical public health areas including COVID-19. The forthcoming research from the CCLS will shape public health, preventive medicine, and policy for future generations.
“I give credit to The Cooper Institute for the impact it has made all over the world due to the life-changing research,” said Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, Chairman Emeritus of The Cooper Institute. “I attribute the major change physicians have toward exercise to the great work of The Cooper Institute and am extremely grateful for this grant to help continue our mission of preventive medicine research.”
ABOUT THE COOPER INSTITUTE
The Cooper Institute was established as a nonprofit in 1970 by Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, to promoting life-long health and wellness worldwide through research, education and advocacy. By improving public health, The Cooper Institute helps people lead better, longer lives now and Well. Into the Future. To learn more, visit CooperInstitute.org.
About The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation
After 25 years and more than $800 million in giving, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has committed to significantly accelerating the impact of its philanthropy over the next 10+ years.
The Board is embarking on a journey of deeper learning and strategy setting for its new collective areas of giving, which include: Youth Development, with a focus on workforce development and economic mobility; Democracy, with a focus on key areas of Voting Rights, and Journalism; and Environment, with a focus on key areas of Conservation and Climate Resiliency. Across these portfolios, the foundation will look for opportunities to address the growing crisis of disconnection in our nation. Geographically, much of the work will continue to prioritize Georgia (with a focus on Atlanta) and Montana, while also considering the potential for greater national impact and influence.
In addition to the collective areas of giving, the foundation will continue to oversee a large portfolio of founder-led initiatives, including investment in the transformation of Atlanta’s Westside neighborhoods, mental health and well-being, veterans and the military, and stuttering, among others. The foundation will also continue to guide the seven Associate-led giving committees operating across the Blank Family of Businesses. Mr. Blank, chairman of the foundation, co-founded The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, in 1978 and retired from the company as co-chairman in 2001. For more information and to stay up to date, visit www.blankfoundation.org.