Howard R. Levine Foundation to name signature academic building

CHARLOTTE, N.C., December 14, 2021 Charlotte is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. and the largest city in the country without a 4-year medical school. Atrium Health will break ground on Wake Forest University School of Medicine Charlotte next year, with the first class scheduled to be seated in 2024. Today, Atrium Health Foundation announced a $25 million gift from the Howard R. Levine Foundation to name the signature academic building, located in the heart of a new innovation district coming to Midtown. The Howard R. Levine Center for Education will house the school of medicine as well as Wake Forest University School of Business, Wake Forest School for Professional Studies and Carolinas College of Health Sciences, which have also announced plans to locate there.

Levine is a long-time, local business leader and philanthropist who previously served as chairman and chief executive officer of Matthews, North Carolina-based Family Dollar, a national retailer founded by his father, Leon Levine. The gift towards the medical school continues a lasting legacy of support from the Levine family. Howard Levine and his family have been significant benefactors of Atrium Health Levine Children’s and Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute, among other impactful projects within the health system and throughout the Carolinas.

“Giving back has always been a natural thing for me,” said Howard Levine. “People say it’s easy to give away money. But to do it right, you’ve got to be thoughtful. I approach this as an investment. We look at the leadership and funding of the organization and, in turn, what they are doing with the services they’re providing. As a Charlotte native, I’ve been a part of this community for almost my whole life – it has shaped a big part of who I am. I was deeply moved to see such a show of support from the city council and county commission for the broader vision surrounding the campus and how it can positively benefit the entire community.

“I consider it a privilege to be a part of bringing Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Charlotte to our city and helping to advance higher education opportunities and world-class medical research,” he said. “It allows our family and its foundation to have a positive impact that will shape the future of the city, and the health of its residents, for generations to come.”

“We couldn’t be more appreciative for this extraordinarily generous and meaningful gift from Howard Levine,” said Eugene A. Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health. “The Howard R. Levine Center for Education will literally change the trajectory of young people’s lives for decades to come. Specifically, it will enable us to equip future health clinicians with the curriculum, tools and facilities to create an educational experience that is constantly on the cutting edge of the latest science. As importantly, it will enable us to expand career pathways to underserved populations through targeted pipeline programs in coordination with the other educational institutions in this region.”

The donation from the Howard R. Levine Foundation is the first major gift announced tied to the new school of medicine and its campus since Atrium Health Foundation launched its largest-ever philanthropic campaign in May. The Giving Hope Campaign is seeking at least $500 million in donations towards support of the school of medicine and other key Atrium Health programs and initiatives.

“I hope this inspires others to step forward, support economic growth and help advance educational opportunities in our community for years to come,” said Hugh McColl, kick-off chair for the Giving Hope Campaign.

Establishing Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Charlotte marks a milestone for both health and education in the Southeast and will be a driving force for Charlotte’s new innovation district. When combined with the Innovation Quarter, home to the campus of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, the district will create the framework for an innovation corridor between Winston-Salem and Charlotte, further strengthening the academic bonds Wake Forest University has with Charlotte and helping advance learning, economic growth and opportunity.


About Atrium Health Foundation

Founded in 1959, Atrium Health Foundation is one of the largest charitable foundations in Charlotte. As the point of contact for all contributions benefiting Atrium Health in the Charlotte region, the Foundation inspires transformational giving to improve health, elevate hope, and advance healing – for ALL. Through its current Giving Hope Campaign, Atrium Health Foundation is supporting Atrium Health’s efforts to create the learning health system of the future by building healthy communities, outstanding education programs, preeminent research, and exemplary facilities.


About Atrium Health
Atrium Health is a nationally recognized leader in shaping health outcomes through innovative research, education and compassionate patient care. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Atrium Health is an integrated, nonprofit health system with more than 70,000 teammates serving patients at 40 hospitals and more than 1,400 care locations. It provides care under the Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist name in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, region, as well as Atrium Health Navicent and Atrium Health Floyd in Georgia and Alabama. Atrium Health is renowned for its top-ranked pediatric, cancer and heart care, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. A recognized leader in experiential medical education and groundbreaking research, Wake Forest University School of Medicine is the academic core of the enterprise, including Wake Forest Innovations, which is advancing new medical technologies and biomedical discoveries. Atrium Health is also a leading-edge innovator in virtual care and mobile medicine, providing care close to home and in the home. Ranked nationally among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals in eight pediatric specialties and for rehabilitation, Atrium Health has also received the American Hospital Association’s Quest for Quality Prize and its 2021 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award, as well as the 2020 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Health Equity Award for its efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care. With a commitment to every community it serves, Atrium Health seeks to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all, providing more than $2 billion per year in free and uncompensated care and other community benefits.