Wests' organization includes nonprofit, for-profit ventures

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Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013 12:00 am

Since Gary and Mary West moved to San Diego, they've started a number of nonprofit and for-profit ventures, all of which they say support their efforts to improve the lives of senior citizens and teens and lower the costs of health care.

The organizations:

Gary and Mary West Foundation

Started in 2006 with a $240 million investment and four focus areas: Lowering the cost of health care, supporting senior wellness initiatives, supporting youth employment training, and supporting training programs for service dogs that will help seniors and veterans. At the end of 2011, the last year for which records are available, the foundation had assets of $167.5 million. Partners include Senior Community Centers of San Diego, which operates the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center; and Rebuilding Together Omaha, which helps seniors and the disabled maintain safe living conditions.

West Health

This is the name of an umbrella initiative that is composed of four organizations, the nonprofit West Health Institute and West Health Policy Center, and the for-profit West Health Investment Fund and West Health Incubator.

West Health Institute

Created in 2009 and originally called the West Wireless Health Institute, the San Diego-based institute conducts medical reseach aimed at developing new technologies to lower the cost of health care. An early success was the Sense4Baby fetal monitor, which wirelessly transmits information about high-risk pregnancies to health professionals, which the institute says eliminates “wasteful” testing. The Wests funded the institute with $90 million. At the end of 2011 it had assets of $36 million.

West Health Policy Center

The center, based in Washington, D.C., launched in January 2012. It's nonpartisan and nonprofit, and is solely funded by the Gary and Mary West Foundation. Its goal is to provide lawmakers with proposals that could result in $100 billion in health care savings over 10 years.

West Health Investment Fund

The Wests seeded this investment fund with $100 million in October 2011. The fund provides risk capital for startup technology companies working on innovations that could reduce the cost of health care. Returns on investment are rolled back into the Wests' research and charitable activities.

West Health Incubator

The incubator, founded in August 2012 and located on the same campus as the West Health Institute in San Diego, is also funded directly by the Wests. The two companies in the incubator are spinoffs of technology developed at the West Health Institute and are funded by the West Health Investment Fund. They include Sense4Baby and Reflexion Health, which uses video game software to enable home physical therapy sessions.

The Wests also are investors in a number of private enterprises. They say all their income is put back to use to fund their charitable and health care work.

West Partners

A private equity and real estate investment firm. Invests in commercial property through sale-leaseback transactions. Portfolio includes several FedEx freight depots and senior living facilities.

West Living

Formed in 2009 under West Partners, this operates eight senior living communities in California, Arizona and Washington state.

West Development

Operates a hotel, West Inn & Suites, in Carlsbad, Calif., and on the same property, the West Steak and Seafood restaurant and the more casual Bistro West.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1336, barbara.soderlin@owh.com

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