University of Oregon Promised $425M to Create Behavioral Health Institute

Connie and Steve Ballmer, co-founders of Ballmer Group Philanthropy, have promised $425 million to the University of Oregon to create The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health in Portland. The institute will partner with Portland Public Schools and is expected to be located at the former home of Concordia University.

For comparison, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provided $125 million for children’s mental health services in 2020 and 2021. 

Connie Ballmer and Steve Ballmer
Connie Ballmer, left, and Steve Ballmer

The new Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health at the University of Oregon will: 

  • Develop a new level of behavioral health practitioners through new undergraduate degree and certificate programs. The new degree program is subject to state approval. 
  • Deliver science-based early detection, prevention, and treatment strategies directly into the lives of children and their families. 
  • Accelerate the discovery and dissemination of new technologies and research informed by clinical context. 
  • Provide scholarships through a $100 million endowment to graduate a new, diverse and culturally rich workforce prepared to work directly with those in need. 

Initial plans also call for more than 20 new faculty members who will collaborate continually to inform, strengthen, and expand the body of research in the field of children’s behavioral and mental health. Early goals call for the Ballmer Institute to graduate 200 behavioral health practitioners annually from the proposed bachelor’s degree program and offer a certificate program for mid-career students.  

The institute will also provide scholarships through a $100 million endowment to work directly with those in need. 

Steve Ballmer was previously CEO of Microsoft and is the current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association; Connie Ballmer is a journalism graduate of the University of Oregon and was on the system’s board of trustees from 2014 to 2021. 

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