The University of Cincinnati Foundation

The University of Cincinnati Foundation

UC Foundation, UC Health Form Strategic Partnership

Collaboration, new leader to strengthen academic health center, patient care efforts

CINCINNATI – May 27, 2014 – The University of Cincinnati (UC) Foundation and UC Health Foundation (UCHF) are joining forces in a new partnership that will strengthen their development and fundraising efforts. Leading this charge will be J. Christopher Smith, who will assume the dual role of Vice President of Development and Alumni Affairs for the Academic Health Center (UC Foundation) and President, UCHF beginning June 18. Furthering the collaboration between the two entities, UC Foundation President Rod Grabowski will take on an additional role as CEO of the UCHF.

“This new alignment and structure will enable us to coordinate the philanthropic activities of UC Health and the UC Academic Health Center more effectively and efficiently, and allow us to engage the donor community in a more cohesive and unified manner,” said Richard P. Lofgren, MD, President & CEO of UC Health. “Through Chris, the two campuses will have a common link with a proven leader who will shape and organize our shared fundraising strategy.”

Alignment between the two foundations will allow the organizations to enact a more strategic approach to fundraising for both UC and UC Health. This partnership will enhance philanthropic support of patient care initiatives, facilities enhancements and academic offerings for UC Health and UC’s four Academic Health Center colleges, including the College of Medicine, the Winkle College of Pharmacy, the College of Allied Health Sciences and the College of Nursing.

“The result of this collaboration between our organizations will ultimately be realized by thousands of UC physicians, patients, students, staff and faculty members,” said Grabowski. “And with Chris’ seasoned experience in health system philanthropy, I am confident that he is the best person to lead our joint efforts toward excellence.”

In his new role, Smith will oversee fundraising operations for UC Health in addition to leading advancement and alumni affairs efforts for UC’s four Academic Health Center colleges. He will work closely with faculty members, medical staff and various other UC stakeholders to enhance philanthropic support for the two organizations.

“I am grateful to be taking on this dual position with two premier organizations,” said Smith. “I look forward to helping strengthen the partnership between foundations in order to benefit the greater good.”

Smith brings more than 20 years of progressive development experience to UC. Most recently, he held the position of Assistant Vice President for Development in the Health Sciences department at the University of Utah. During this time, he directed a team to establish the hospital’s first grateful patient program — an initiative that he will focus on. Prior to that, he spent more than 10 years at Purdue University where he guided the College of Pharmacy’s role in the university’s $1.7 billion fundraising campaign.

“As we progress into UC’s third century, we will continue to forge strong relationships. Partnerships like this will allow us to advance the excellence of both institutions and the impact we both have on the community and beyond,” said Santa J. Ono, UC President.


About UC Health
UC Health, the University of Cincinnati’s affiliated health system, includes University of Cincinnati Medical Center, ranked one of the best hospitals in the region by U.S. News & World Report; West Chester Hospital, one of Cincinnati’s newest hospitals and the recipient of the 2013 Healthgrades® Outstanding Patient Experience Award™, placing the facility’s performance above 90 percent of similar hospitals nationally for patient satisfaction; Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care, Cincinnati’s premier provider of long-term acute care; University of Cincinnati Physicians, Cincinnati’s largest multi-specialty practice group with nearly 800 board-certified clinicians and surgeons; Lindner Center of HOPE, the region’s premier mental health center; and several institutes focusing on the areas of cancer, the neurosciences, cardiovascular health and diabetes. For more information, visit

About the University of Cincinnati Foundation
Established in 1975, the University of Cincinnati Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation and is the private sector fundraising entity for the University of Cincinnati. The foundation supports UC’s aspirations through philanthropic collaboration with the colleges, the Academic Health Center and other units to maximize private support. The foundation’s advancement efforts promote the development of productive, enduring relationships with alumni, friends, colleagues, students, foundations, corporations and the Greater Cincinnati community. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Ashley Moran
Associate Director of Communications and Marketing