Ralph Lauren is handing off one of his philanthropic endeavors.
The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, opened in 2003, is being sold for just under $2.3 million to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, one of the largest privately owned cancer centers in the world. The name of the Ralph Lauren Center is said to be staying as is.
In documents seeking approval from the New York Supreme Court for the acquisition of a registered nonprofit, the Ralph Lauren Center said it was recently valued by a third party at the sale price and that at the end of the 2017 fiscal year, it had about $1.1 million in liabilities.
“[The Ralph Lauren Center] faced serious financial challenges from the outset,” the company wrote in the petition. It admitted that MSK, the only corporate member of its board of trustees, has actually already offered “considerable assistance” to the center just to keep it operational over the years.
The center wrote that before striking a deal with MSK, it “could no longer feasibly operate” as a solo entity, in part “because of the deteriorating reimbursement environment for its services and supports.” Over the last 16 years, the Harlem-based center says it’s managed more than 160,000 patient visits and always operated regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. The model of care at the center also extended to financial counseling and assistance with food and nutrition.
When MSK quietly revealed its acquisition of the the center several several months ago, Ralph Lauren said the deal “builds on the mission and work” of his center “by expanding patient access to world-class medical care.”
While the treatment center will continue to operate in Harlem, and much the same as it has since its founding, Ralph Lauren’s operation of it is set to dissolve, although the designer will continue to contribute money to the cause and the center. The sale proceeds will be used to fund a formal wind-down process, according to documents, but any leftover cash will be donated to MSK for its research and treatment efforts.
Cancer treatment and prevention has been a philanthropic cause for Lauren for about 30 years, prompted by the death of his friend, journalist Nina Hyde. When he opened the Ralph Lauren Center in 2003, Lauren told WWD that he thought to himself, “This is probably the best thing you will ever have done in your life.”