Mr. Wyss’ passion for innovation and discovery runs throughout his philanthropy.
The Wyss Foundation invests in conservation projects that forge new partnerships and new approaches to protecting land. In its work to expand economic opportunity and empower communities, the Foundation helps incubate new thinking and new ideas that can help move beyond old paradigms and divisions. Above everything, the Wyss Foundation wants to help find solutions that work and that stand the test of time.
Mr. Wyss’ passion for discovery extends beyond the Wyss Foundation to philanthropic endeavors in medicine, education, and the arts.
Building on the contributions of his company, Synthes Inc., to trauma medicine, Mr. Wyss’ philanthropy has helped researchers and surgeons develop and apply ground-breaking new technologies to help patients recover from musculoskeletal injuries. In 2008, he established the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. The $125 million donation was the largest in Harvard’s history.
Mr. Wyss has also established endowed chairs in medicine and supports research, education, training at a wide range of universities and hospitals, including Clemson University, the University of Washington, the University of Mississippi, the University of Maryland, the University of South Alabama, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Mr. Wyss helped establish the AO Foundation, a medically guided nonprofit led by an international group of surgeons who specialize in the treatment of trauma and disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Education and the Arts
Mr. Wyss’ philanthropy provides scholarships and fellowships in conservation, music, medicine, business and the arts at institutions around the world, including in Africa, Europe, and the United States. With a 2004 donation from Mr. Wyss, the Harvard Business School created the Wyss Doctoral Endowment program that provides awards for innovative dissertation research, fellowships for doctoral students, field research, and course development.
Mr. Wyss supported the development of environmental management cases for Harvard’s MBA Program and was integral to the development of its social enterprise program. His significant contributions to the Beyeler Foundation have helped conserve and display some of the world’s most important pieces of modern art.
Since 2008, Mr. Wyss has donated $250 million to establish the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Since the gift, faculty from engineering, medicine, biology, and the physical sciences have been working across disciplines to develop biologically inspired materials and devices that will solve critical medical and environmental problems. Wyss researchers study and use Nature's principles for self-organizing and self-regulating to pursue transformative technological breakthroughs. These technologies are translated into commercial products and therapies through collaborations with clinical investigators, corporate alliances, and new start-ups.