Health and Medicine People and Community

Businessman and philanthropist Kenneth C. Griffin celebrated for his landmark $50 million gift to Sylvester

The donation to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only NCI-designated cancer center in South Florida, marks a new chapter in its prodigious efforts to treat and find a cure for the disease.
Entrepreneur Kenneth C. Griffin celebrated for his landmark $50 million gift to Sylvester
Kenneth C. Griffin made a $50 million gift to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Kenneth C. Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel and founder of Griffin Catalyst, is filled with a hope shared by millions the world over: that one day soon, the scourge of cancer will be eradicated. It is an illness, he said, “that can be so tragic, so painful, and so devastating. But it represents our shared belief that we will bring this disease to its rightful end.” 

Griffin’s hope for cancer’s end was amplified Tuesday when dozens of invited guests gathered in the heart of the University of Miami Medical Campus quadrangle to recognize Griffin for his $50 million gift to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center in South Florida and part of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and UHealth—University of Miami Health System. 

Griffin’s landmark donation will help fund the 12-story, 244,000-square-foot Transformational Cancer Research Building, allowing Sylvester to double its research footprint, accelerate efforts to develop new therapies, enhance care for patients, and expand access to clinical trials. 

In recognition of the gift, which is part of the University’s $2.5 billion Ever Brighter fundraising campaign, the facility will be named in Griffin’s honor as the Kenneth C. Griffin Cancer Research Building. 

University and County leadership with donor at beam signing event.
Following the Gift of Light event, a ceremonial beam signing was held.

The gift, University of Miami President Julio Frenk said at the Gift of Light event, is not only a “shining moment” for the school and its cancer center, but also “for the hundreds of thousands in our community and elsewhere impacted by cancer.” 

“A vital catalyst for our growth and our focus on what is possible” is how Dr. Stephen D. Nimer, director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in cancer research, described Griffin’s gift. 

“What we have been building together is not just the building,” Nimer said. “It’s a symbol of our shared commitment to turning our vision into reality—a place where we can continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible, not only for the 6.2 million people who live in South Florida but for our nation and beyond. Together we are building a destination cancer center with world-renowned physicians and researchers committed to excellence and with skilled and dedicated staff who deliver compassionate lifesaving care.” 

Dr. Dipen J. Parekh, chief operating officer of UHealth and the founding director of the Desai Sethi Urology Institute, said Griffin’s “generosity will strengthen the foundation of the new [cancer research] building, but even more meaningful is how it will further strengthen the spirit and resolve of 20,000 warriors who answer their calling every day within our health system.” 

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava called it “transformational,” adding that it will “light the way for a healthier Miami-Dade County,” where more than 12,000 families are impacted by cancer each day. 

The ceremony, held on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle, took place on 305 Day, Miami’s day of self-celebration, and during the event, Cava declared Griffin “Mr. 305” in recognition of his many contributions to the city. 


Griffin, who grew up in Boca Raton, Florida, and moved to Miami-Dade County two years ago, is the founder and CEO of the multinational Miami-based hedge fund firm Citadel and founder of Griffin Catalyst, the civic engagement initiative that encompasses his philanthropic and community impact efforts. One of the country’s leading philanthropists, Griffin has long been committed to pushing the frontiers of science and medicine to drive progress and improve lives. 

University of Miami trustee Stuart Miller, who chairs the UHealth Board of Directors, praised Griffin for his philanthropic impact, noting that the entrepreneur has provided more than $2 billion to support efforts that expand opportunity and improve lives at scale. 

“Since moving his Citadel headquarters to Miami in 2022, Ken promptly made his mark on our city,” said Miller, whose own family made a $100 million gift to name the University’s medical school in 2004. “Among his first philanthropic endeavors was the extension of a groundbreaking effort he originally championed in Chicago to bridge the digital divide. Known here as Miami Connected, he partnered with Miami-Dade Public Schools’ Achieve Miami and other organizations to bring free broadband connectivity, digital literacy, and career opportunities and technology to more than 100,000 students across our community.”

Griffin called his decision to support the University’s health care system one of the easiest he’s made in recent history. “I find my own personal care here, as does my family,” Griffin said. “The doctors are remarkable. Their compassion is incredible. It is a remarkable institution. It’s one that we should all be proud of as people who live here in Miami.

“There is no doubt that Sylvester will continue to be at the forefront of science and care and at the forefront of saving people’s lives,” Griffin said. “With this team, we are leading the way to being one day closer to achieving our shared goal of ending the threat of cancer in our lifetime.” 

One of the 18 million cancer survivors in the U.S., Miami-Dade resident Iliana Suarez said she can’t wait to see what new research will develop because of Griffin’s gift. 

“I’m cancer free for six years now, and I owe it all to the dedication and caring attitudes of the doctors and nurses at Sylvester,” she said. “I’m sure Ken’s gift will only lead to better lives for many other people who are fighting the disease.”