Arguably one of David Frankel’s most prized skills is performing due diligence. It is this skill, coupled with profound gratitude, that led David and his wife, Tracey Frankel, MD, to give $1 million toward the establishment of the Tracey and David Frankel Chair in Urologic Oncology at BIDMC.
Over the last two decades, David has gained renown for identifying winning business opportunities—always beginning with meticulous research. He is a co-founder and managing partner of Founder Collective, a venture capital fund based in Boston and New York known for its investments in Uber, Coupang, BuzzFeed, PillPack, and more. These success stories were widely publicized, and David notes that each had an equally important prologue: due diligence. So, when David received, in his own words, “some very tough news” about his health, he turned to tried-and-true methods and immediately began researching the best care available.
“I’m a seed-stage venture investor,” says David. “I can’t help myself; we meet exceptional entrepreneurs and then we diligence as much as we can—everything. I don’t know any other way.” He searched for the best urologic oncologists in the country and was immediately directed to Andrew Wagner, MD, at BIDMC. “I received significant assistance with my diligence and ended up coming back to exactly where we started, which was with Drew,” says David.
A highly regarded urologic surgeon and scientist, Wagner is director of BIDMC’s Minimally Invasive Urologic Surgery Program, which is considered New England’s preeminent destination for urologic surgery, research, and teaching. Raising the necessary funds to complete the establishment of the Frankel Chair in Urologic Oncology, of which Wagner will be the first incumbent, is a significant priority for the program. This generous lead gift from the Frankels, in addition to commitments from other generous donors, will provide Wagner and any future incumbents with resources, time, and freedom to pursue novel research endeavors to advance lifesaving care. “Our family is so grateful for the remarkable care David received,” says Tracey, who has four children with David, including twins born at BIDMC. “We are delighted to be able to promote leading-edge research at this outstanding hospital.”
Wagner is equally enthusiastic about the possibilities this chair will bring to life. “David and Tracey’s gift is incredibly impactful to our research and, ultimately, patient care,” says Wagner. “This funding will allow our team the time and resources to pursue research activities vital in improving the lives of patients with urologic cancer. These include investigating new surgery techniques and technology, defining ways to improve quality of life after surgery, and leading multicenter efforts to explore non-surgical methods to treat urologic cancer.”
David and Tracey couldn’t be more thrilled about the promise of this work, given their own personal care experience with Wagner and his team. “It gave me great confidence to know I was in the hands of ultra-skilled individuals who are committed to research and to training the next generation,” says David. Adds Tracey, an active member of BIDMC’s Leadership Board: “As a neurologist, I was uniquely engaged in David’s care. I asked many questions, which Drew always took the time to answer. We were impressed by his expertise and his humility.”
Wagner was similarly struck by the same qualities in his patient. “From the minute he walked in, he was thoughtful, humble, and appreciative,” says Wagner of David, whose appreciation continues. “Tracey and I are very blessed,” concludes David. “Meeting Drew was transformative. In this case, our due diligence was truly life-altering.”
To make a gift to the Tracey and David Frankel Chair in Urologic Oncology at BIDMC, please email Leah Oko.
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