Chris and Heather Thompson
Why We Give
Chris and Heather Thompson, investors in the Children’s Discovery Institute
What happens when a wealth management executive and a science major marry their love for helping others? Chris and Heather Thompson became enthusiastic investors in the Children’s Discovery Institute.
Q: What drew you to get involved with the Children’s Discovery Institute?
Chris: After college, Heather and I volunteered as counselors at a kids’ burn camp in Colorado. It was an incredible experience. When we later moved to St. Louis, I was looking for a way to volunteer again. I started volunteering at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and got to play with the kids and see the great work being done here. I was hooked. Heather and I were both raised in households where community involvement was stressed, and we wanted to give back through something we’re passionate about.
Q: Chris, in your line of work, you advise others about philanthropy. What role did that play in your involvement with the Children’s Discovery Institute?
Chris: In my job, I advise my clients to be strategic with their giving and think of it as an investment where you hope to get a good return. Heather and I follow this advice as well. Through the Children’s Discovery Institute, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of kids in both in the St. Louis area and throughout the world. We have amazing doctors here, who given the right opportunity and ongoing support, can find ways to beat many childhood diseases. Researchers at the Children’s Discovery Institute are making great strides to improve the quality of life for kids everywhere. The dividends we reap mean a longer, healthier life for kids.
Q: What fascinates you most about the Children’s Discovery Institute?
Heather: We have been so impressed with how many disciplines are working together using cutting-edge science and technology to solve problems. The level of dedication from the scientists and the collaboration among them has been inspiring.
Chris: Heather majored in molecular biology and minored in biochemistry in college and has worked in the science field. She is passionate about science and has a true appreciation for the high level of research they are doing at the Children’s Discovery Institute.
Q: What impact do you hope to make through your long-term investment in the Institute?
Chris: Being involved with the Children’s Discovery Institute is a natural fit for both our backgrounds. As a couple, we have a personal passion to make a difference. We know research is a long-term project. Yet already there have been amazing discoveries and progress. While we enjoy supporting current needs of the hospital, investing in the Children’s Discovery Institute allows us to be a small part of creating a dramatic effect on children’s health worldwide for years to come.
Heather: We’ve been blessed with three healthy kids. But when you see other kids suffering, it pulls your heart strings. When we listened to the presentations by some of the researchers, I was shocked to learn that it’s much easier to get funding for adult research than for children’s research — a very small percentage of NIH (National Institutes of Health) funding goes toward children’s research. It’s so important to us to support this research that will translate into cures for children.
Chris Thompson, JD, is a founding partner of Greenway Family Office, a shared family office serving a small number of families. He is chair of the Development Board at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, an investor in the Children’s Discovery Institute, and is actively involved in other charitable organizations. After a career in science, Heather is now a full-time mom of three daughters and an active community volunteer and supporter.