$2 million gift from Michael and Ellen Feuer to create unique innovation accelerator fund at University Hospitals

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CLEVELAND – Thanks to a generous $2 million gift from Michael and Ellen Feuer, University Hospitals will greatly enhance its ability to spur innovation.   

The unique gift will establish the Feuer Innovation Accelerator fund at UH, whereby the most promising ideas with the highest potential for impact on health care delivery and research will have the opportunity to advance from ideation to potential implementation. The fund will be used at the discretion of the UH CEO for agile decision-making and strategic growth. 

Mr. Feuer, who co-founded OfficeMax and grew the chain from one to more than 1,000 stores during his 16 years as CEO, is currently CEO of Max-Ventures, a private equity and consulting firm.

“Our objective for the accelerator fund is to give UH CEO Cliff A. Megerian, MD, the resources to advance new initiatives that are promising, but before they’ve obtained mainstream support,” said Mr. Feuer. “A defining feature of a strong, successful organization is the ability to be nimble and innovative. Some of the more creative and unique ideas sometimes get lost and overwhelmed and never get off the ground because of the inherent bureaucracy of any business.  My thought was to create this fund with only one rule, ‘Dare to be great.’ We hope this fund will give that ability to Dr. Megerian who, with his team, will pick ideas that can help UH meet the ever-changing needs in health care.”

With oversight from UH Ventures, the innovation and commercialization division of the UH system, the new Feuer Innovation Accelerator will gather ideas from across the UH system. UH Ventures will evaluate the ideas for readiness and invite the UH caregivers who initiated the ideas to present them to Dr. Megerian for consideration.  

“We are deeply appreciative of this forward-thinking gift from Michael and Ellen,” said Dr. Megerian.  “It will provide us with immediate access to funds that will further enhance our culture of innovation at UH while investing in caregiver-driven inspirations.”

Mr. Feuer was one of Dr. Megerian’s instructors at the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management where he earned a certificate in health care management. 

“I was really impressed with him in the class because of his quest to know things,” said Mr. Feuer. “What struck me the most was that he was a person who used his intellect and inquisitiveness to explore not what was, but what could be. That’s the hallmark of an entrepreneur and an innovator. I’ve always had a lot of respect for creative people like that.”
“UH will look for ideas with the potential to impact models of care, existing technologies, the patient experience and other areas,” explained David Sylvan, President of UH Ventures. “We have enjoyed great success previously in cultivating ideas from caregivers throughout the system, as well as department chairs, UH leaders and managers and we are excited about the opportunities this new fund will provide in continuing to spawn even more innovative thinking.”

The Feuers are longtime and devoted community advocates. Mr. Feuer served for 12 years on the UH Cleveland Medical Center Board of Directors and was a member of numerous committees. Mrs. Feuer has been active as a UH volunteer and spent her career as a development professional.  

They make their homes in Cleveland and Naples, Fla.