Melvin R. Laird
The Fogarty Foundation mourns the loss of Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird, our longest serving Honorary Trustee, who died at the age of 94 on November 16, 2016. Secretary Laird served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Wisconsin with our founder and his dear friend, John Fogarty. Melvin Laird was the ranking minority member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Education and Welfare. He and Chairman Fogarty worked tirelessly in a bi-partisan fashion with their colleagues to introduce, pass and fund numerous pieces of historic legislation that would forever change medical research and treatment in this country and around the world. We shall miss him greatly.
Please read the New York Times obituary.
The John E. Fogarty Foundation For Persons With Intellectual
and Developmental Disabilities
Bringing resources and hope to the Rhode Island Community since 1964
In January of 1964 Congressman John E. Fogarty of the Second Congressional District in Rhode Island incorporated the John E. Fogarty Foundation. It was the Congressman’s goal to improve the quality of life for Rhode Islanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities by funding innovative programs that would promote inclusion, rehabilitation and cutting edge research. Since its inception the Foundation has awarded numerous grants annually to various institutions and organizations that serve Rhode Islanders with disabilities.
Message from the Chair
The John E. Fogarty Foundation for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities was established by way of legislative act. It was originally known as “The John E. Fogarty Foundation for the Mentally Retarded.” My father, John Fogarty, had a very special place in his heart for the people served by his Foundation and he worked tirelessly to improve their lives. The Foundation came about as a result of two awards received by my father: the Albert Lasker award for championing the advancement of medical research and public health, its honorarium was donated to the then Rhode Island Parents Council for Mentally Retarded Children, and the Leadership Award given by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation to the public official “whose activities have awakened the public conscience or lead to increased community effort on behalf of the mentally retarded.” The honorarium from this award was used to start the Foundation. People often ask how John Fogarty became interested in being a crusader for health care and the answer like the man is very straight forward and in his own words:
“It’s just that I feel that as long as people are sick, something has to be done to make them better. The government has to give most of the help because there’s no one else to give it.”
As Chairman of the Appropriations Sub-Committee overseeing Labor, Health, Education, and Welfare in the United States House of Representatives for sixteen years, my father had a unique opportunity to shape Public Health Care and Health Care Policy. During his 27 years in Congress he expanded funding for the National Institutes of Health from 3.5 million dollars in 1946 to over 1.5 billion dollars at the time of his death at the age of 53 in 1967. As noted in his obituary in the New York Times entitled, “Mr. Public Health,” Dr. Howard Rusk stated:
“No one in the history of this country has done more to promote more and better health services, more and better health facilities and more and better health research than Representative Fogarty.”
Known in Rhode Island as “Everybody’s Congressman” he worked diligently to position the Foundation to become a sustainable resource for the future. When my father incorporated the Foundation it was to be an all volunteer organization and it remains so today. Due to his untimely death his personal involvement was limited to a few short years. Now, it is up to us to continue his work on behalf of those with disabilities. I invite you to join me in this important effort.
– Mary Fogarty McAndrew