The foundation gifts arrive at an important time for both units. The Thurston Arthritis
Research Center is now at the midpoint of its $5 million Research Endowment Campaign, and
the N.C. Botanical Garden is just beginning its fund raising for a planned $5 million
visitor education center.
Dr. John Winfield, director of the
Thurston Center, says, "The Thurston family launched our Research Endowment Campaign
with a challenge gift that we met in 1997. The Reeves Foundation has carried that
initiative forward. I am deeply grateful to Ed Reeves for recognizing the importance of
arthritis research and establishing the Reeves Foundation Professorship."
J. Edwin Reeves Jr., foundation president, is a long-time member of
the Thurston Center's Board of Advisors and now serves as its chairman.
The center leads research on lupus, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid
arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis and juvenile arthritis. The Thurston Center is a
National Institutes of Health Multipurpose Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disease Center --
one of only two in the Southeast. It was chartered in 1982 and now has 70 faculty
researchers from 18 departments, six schools and six centers on campus. In 1994, the
center moved into the new Thurston Building. The Reeves Foundation gave a named research
laboratory in this building.
The North Carolina Botanical Garden's master plan calls for
construction of a 25,000-square-foot visitor education center, because the garden's
popular workshops, tours and programs, along with its staff and volunteers, have long
since outgrown the 5,500-square-foot Totten Center. Annual visitors number about 46,000 --
including about 1,400 local schoolchildren who learn about ecology in the coastal plain
and mountain habitats and enjoy the always-popular insect-eating pitcher plants and Venus
Garden Director Peter White says he imagines the multi-purpose
Reeves Auditorium as a state-of-the-art setting where a school audience can see projected
images of plant tissues under a microscope, local gardeners can learn to propagate plants
from seeds, community members and scholars can attend an evening lecture by a
nationally-known scientist, and ecologists can hold a regional workshop on plant
"The leadership of the Reeves Foundation has challenged our
other supporters to help build the visitor education center," White says. "And
the foundation's gift will serve generations to come."
The Reeves Foundation and Reeves family members have a long history
of sharing their time, money and talent with UNC-CH. At the N.C. Botanical Garden, a major
attraction is the Mercer Reeves Hubbard Herb Garden, founded 26 years ago by Ed's aunt
Mercer with funds provided by her brother John E. Reeves, one of the founders of the
Reeves Foundation. Preferring to give anonymously, John also set up an endowment fund, now
worth more than $350,000, which generates income to pay for the herb garden's care. Mercer
also helped obtain $50,000 from the Reeves Foundation to pay part of the cost of the 1992
master plan -- a document that has guided the garden's development in the 1990s and that
specified the need for a new visitor education center.
"This is a family that literally has planted seeds in Chapel
Hill," says Peter White. "We're now in a second generation of Reeves donors, not
to mention a second generation of gardeners and visitors who draw inspiration from the
Mercer Reeves Hubbarb Herb Garden."
Ed Reeves says, "We are very pleased with what we've been able
to accomplish with past gifts to the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and to the
Botanical Garden. We're quite focused on youth, and we're interested in medical issues.
And we support things that are lasting, such as buildings and endowments. We're proud of
the results our gifts have helped to achieve."