Samuel Plimpton and Wendy Shattuck Are Investing in Unmet Needs

May 24, 2018

Samuel Plimpton and Wendy Shattuck target their giving to organizations that leverage gifts to achieve returns for society. Sam, senior advisor and partner emeritus at the Baupost Group, LLC, is interested in the long-term value created through investment to address unmet needs.

“There is substantial unmet demand in the field of mental health care,” he said. “Yet, primary research to better understand and treat mental illness is historically underfunded. McLean is at the forefront in research for many psychiatric illnesses that are prevalent and costly in the U.S., and we want to support that scientific inquiry, the clinical research, and the collaborations on emerging knowledge.”

While Boston is a hot spot for research institutions, there are also world-class organizations in music, fine arts, and higher education. Wendy has a passion for the arts, and together they are committed to institutions that make Boston an attractive long-term urban center of research, education, and culture. These include the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the New England Conservatory of Music, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera, and Harvard University. Wendy and Sam bring their insights and expertise along with their generous philanthropy to McLean.

Wendy and Sam feel McLean stands apart as a center for psychiatric clinical work and as a leading research organization, and its affiliations with the finest medical schools and teaching hospitals in the world mean that it is well positioned to continue to make valuable contributions to the field of mental health. They support McLean because of its blend of superb clinical services and scientific research excellence.

Wendy Shattuck and Samuel Plimpton
Wendy Shattuck and Samuel Plimpton

In addition to providing generous unrestricted gifts that strengthen the full breadth of McLean’s mission, they also make targeted grants to bipolar disorder research. They are particularly drawn to translational research, for which McLean is well known, because of its potential to deliver new treatments and improve care for many in need. One study they have funded is investigating cellular abnormalities that appear both in individuals with diagnosed mental illness and their siblings who do not have the disorder.

“Our early findings suggest that metabolic problems we often see in patients with psychotic disorders may be part of the causal pathways, rather than a downstream effect of medication or lifestyle, as commonly thought,” said Dost Öngür, MD, PhD, chief of McLean’s Division of Psychotic Disorders. “We intend to explore this further with the hope of identifying early predictors and interventions that can prevent or lessen the effects of these conditions. Sam and Wendy’s contributions have been essential to our pursuing this line of research.”

Sam and Wendy have been donors to McLean since 2006 and members of the McLean National Council, individuals who serve as ambassadors-at-large and major benefactors of the hospital, since 2012. Their philanthropy also helped launch an entirely new service arm at McLean, the College Mental Health Program, which provides tailored services to students in treatment and works closely with colleges and universities to guide their transition back to campus.

Their confidence in McLean is based on the intelligence and dedication of its leadership, together with the curiosity and scientific brilliance of its researchers. McLean has helped their own family as well as the families of many friends. For Wendy and Sam, giving to McLean is a targeted investment in their local community as well as the broader field of mental health care and research that stands to benefit society as a whole.

Learn more about Ways to Give to McLean.


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