Philanthropy, Robbie Hughes says, “has come easy” for her and husband Dudley.
“We were both raised in families that were rich in love, but sometimes poor by some folks’ standards in cash,” the Jackson resident said. “Our parents taught us to be aware of the needs of others and to be generous with what we have.”
But through the years, Hughes said, they’ve been blessed – her husband, with success in the oil and gas field, and for her, success in the stock market.
Their recent philanthropy includes a $2 million donation to the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia (MIND) Center, a major research initiative aimed at elucidating the causes and treatments for Alzheimer's disease and related forms of dementia through innovative research and forward-thinking healthcare.
Led by Dr. Tom Mosley, a nationally recognized expert in brain aging, The MIND Center began as a research collaboration to better understand and track factors that may lead to Alzheimer’s and dementias. In March, the MIND Center opened its first clinic, which provides research-based patient assessment and state-of-the-art treatment.
The gift, which will create an endowed faculty chair, is personal for the couple. As Dudley Hughes continues to cope with dementia, Robbie Hughes has gained a new passion: educating herself about the disease that is debilitating to her husband, and that already has affected six members of his extended family.
Friends invited her to lunch at UMMC, where she met with Mosley and learned about The Mind Center’s work and goals. “I would not have any of them live through the anxiety, confusion and loneliness of this disease,” she said of the couple’s children and other relatives who are at risk.
“That is why I wanted to do what I could to stop dementia from ravaging our family, and families like ours,” Robbie Hughes said.
“The Hughes’ gift demonstrates tremendous philanthropic leadership that can inspire others to give to The MIND Center, thus speeding the ability to research and treat Alzheimer’s and other dementias,” said Susan Hollandsworth, senior major gift officer with the UMMC Office of Development.
The MIND Center’s research includes the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Neurocognitive Study, one of the largest and most comprehensive investigations ever undertaken to attempt to identify mid-life risk factors for late life cognitive decline and dementia.
“I have toured The Mind Center, and everything about it is special,” Hughes said. “Every little nuance of research brings us that much closer to the elusive cure.”
To learn about other ways to support The MIND Center, contact the UMMC Office of Development at (601) 815-7469 or Susan Hollandsworth at [email protected]