Cancer Gift Reflects Philanthropy Anchored by Hope
For Martha A. “Marty” Dudley, vice president and secretary of the Dudley Family Foundation, Houston has been a “center of gravity” since 1981. Though she lived away from Houston for business at various times, she returned to the city for good in 2021. Feeling settled, she sought to become more involved in the community and connected with Houston Methodist through friends and family.
Dudley was pleased to discover like minds in the leaders she encountered at Houston Methodist, noting a refreshingly common mindset. “First, take care of people,” she observes. “Then work to get ahead of health issues — to understand genetics and identify issues early to prevent serious problems. It’s a very health-forward strategy.”
She notes that her heart lies in what she describes as “things that make the trains run on time — the infrastructure.” So she began focusing on the fundamentals of education and research.
In 2022, the Dudley Family Foundation became a Founding Member of the Ann Kimball and John W. Johnson Center for Cellular Therapeutics at Houston Methodist. Additional 2023 support for the Houston Methodist Dr. Mary and Ron Neal Cancer Center is dedicated to fellowships and the establishment of the Dudley Family Foundation Oncology Fellowship Endowment.
Making a point of personally connecting with the specialty areas she supports, Dudley has built a friendship with Dr. Jenny C. Chang, the Emily Herrmann Presidential Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research and director of the Neal Cancer Center. An active member of the Houston Methodist President’s Leadership Council, Dudley hosted a gathering of Neal Cancer Center Council friends, including Dr. Chang and fellow members, at her home.
Dudley says she supports oncology research and education, in part, because of cancer’s prevalence. “Cancer affects nearly every family somehow, but there’s hope in how enthusiastically Dr. Chang and her team speak about their work,” she explains. “It’s wonderful to be able to help world-class oncologists who are advancing the future of cancer medicine through research, medical education and academic training.”
Dr. Chang notes that the new fellowship endowment will enable the training of future leaders in oncology by supporting a rigorous graduate medical education program in the center. “This generous gift represents a pivotal factor in the realization of the center’s vision to prepare the next generation of medical oncologists, and I am extremely grateful,” Dr. Chang says. “Training graduate students in the lab and clinical fellows in medical practice means they walk the path of medical innovation as it flows from hypothesis to translational research to new clinical therapies.”
About the center, Dudley adds, “They’re helping patients, finding new answers, passing on expertise — their work is my future and yours. It means all the world to patients and their families for doctors to be empowered to accelerate their research to find cures and manage cancer faster.”