In 1999 and 2000, Abbott Laboratories’ senior management considered a number of philanthropic options that could make a difference and define the focus for Abbott and the Abbott Fund’s charitable programs. Although the cause was humanitarian, it was considered important that the programs align strategically with Abbott’s leadership in the HIV/AIDS arena. The Abbott Fund officially launched the Program for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in June 2000. The program assisted orphans and vulnerable children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS as well as the communities that cared for them. They chose Tanzania as host for a pilot program, which involved updating the country’s community health care infrastructure. Abbott partnered with Tanzania’s Ministry of Health over the next five years to upgrade the facilities at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar Es Salaam, the Tanzanian capital; build an HIV center comprising an outpatient clinic and counseling/support facilities; create a national HIV teaching center; and introduce pharmacy, health information, and management systems. The dramatic growth of the Abbott Fund HIV/AIDS programs suggested a strategic turning point for the Abbott Fund, transforming it from a domestic philanthropic program to one with a global focus, now aligned with Abbott’s international business focus. By 2003, nearly $20 million from the Abbott Fund was being invested in its developing-world AIDS programs.
Darden Business Publishing – University of Virginia