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About Us

The genesis of The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation dates to Valentine’s Day in 1993, when dignitaries gathered for groundbreaking ceremonies of the new South Texas Blood & Tissue Center headquarters on Interstate 10 West. With rapid population growth in South Texas and the center’s expanding mission, the community blood center needed a way to raise money on an ongoing basis. Community leaders began to meet regularly in December 2001, and The Foundation was established in September 2002. 

The Foundation History

Texas Gov. Rick Perry signs a bill establishing the Texas Cord Blood Bank
South Texas Blood & Tissue Center recognizes the need for a fundraising entity to support the blood bank and its mission
The Blood & Tissue Foundation charter is filed and established
The Foundation board of directors, made up of approximately 40 community leaders, meets for the first time
The Foundation holds its first Red and White Ball, raising funds for the Texas Cord Blood Bank

Legally, The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation began on Aug. 19, 2002, when a charter was filed with the state of Texas. But the origins date to Valentine’s Day 1993, when a group of local dignitaries and officials of the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center broke ground on a new facility on Interstate 10. The date was symbolic because the double hearts had been the organization’s logo for more than 20 years, including its time in the 1920s-era YWCA building in downtown San Antonio.

The new facility opened in 1994 with 80,000 square feet of space that included a state-of-the-art laboratory, donor collection rooms, offices and meeting spaces. It was financed in large part by a tax-exempt bond financed by USAA. A 40,000-square-foot addition to the facility in 2001 led to a capital campaign, which was led by Mary Beth Fisk, vice president of education and outreach. Among the many people she contacted during her search was Dr. Russ Norman, one of the key contributors to the founding of the Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC) in San Antonio. The two became friends, and one day, Norman gave Fisk the idea of The Foundation. “Mary Beth,” he told her, “you need to have a foundation that raises money on an ongoing basis, not just a capital campaign, for the blood bank.” And so, beginning in December 2001, Norman and his wife Karen, along with local attorney Mike Kreager and his wife Emily, began meeting on a monthly basis.

The group soon added Dennis Stahl and the blood center’s CEO, Norman Kalmin. In September 2002, about 40 people committed to join the newly chartered foundation’s board, and the first meeting was conducted in October 2002. Two events helped transform The Foundation in its early days. First, a group of women on the board decided to hold a ball to raise funds. The first Red and White Ball had the theme “Fire and Ice,” and since then, it has become one of the highlights of social life in San Antonio. The second event was the founding of what became known as the Texas Cord Blood Bank. The TCBB was established with a $1 million grant from the state of Texas, and an additional $3.5 million public-private match from the state was set up later. Matching that grant led to the creation, funding and expansion of the TCBB, the state repository for stem cell donations.

The Foundation has continued to raise funds since then, funding projects in STBTC and GenCure. To date, The Foundation has brought in more than $30 million.

  • 2022 Allison De Paoli
  • 2021 Claire & Patrick Rouse
  • 2020 Ginny & Art Bennert
  • 2019: Cindy & David Schneider
  • 2017-2018: Mary & Steve Brook
  • 2016: Emily & Rich Reynolds
  • 2015: Laurie & Michael Kaplan, Allison & Danny Kustoff
  • 2014: Rose Marie & Buddy Banack
  • 2012-2013: Karen Heintz
  • 2011: Lori & Mark Wright
  • 2009-2010: Nancy & Vernon Torgerson Jr.
  • 2008-2009: Dennis Stahl
  • 2007-2008: Dr. Kelley & Pat Frost
  • 2006-2007: Louise & Mike Beldon
  • 2005-2006: Alethea Bugg
  • 2002-2005: Emilie & Mike Kreager, Karen & Dr. Russ Norman
  • 2022 Yona and Dr. Tom McNish
  • 2021 Homer Olsen Family
  • 2019 Mary & Steve Brook
  • 2018 Rose Marie & Emerson “Buddy” Banack
  • 2017 DOCUmation/Lou Scantland (board members Jane Coelho, Michael Kaplan)
  • 2016 Margie & Sam O’Krent
  • 2015 Karen Heintz
  • 2014 Dr. Kelley & Pat Frost
  • 2013 Lori & Mark Wright
  • 2012 Nancy & Vernon Torgerson Jr.
  • 2011 Dennis Stahl
  • 2010 Louise & Michael Beldon
  • 2009 Dedicated to Dr. Rus C. Norman
  • 2008 Elizabeth Ames Jones
  • 2007 Emilie & Michael Kreager
  • 2022 Mays Family Foundation
  • 2021 Frost
  • 2019 Valero
  • 2018 Methodist Healthcare Ministries
  • 2022 Elizabeth and Scott McMillian
  • 2021 Lilly and Alan Gretzinger, Jeanne Bennett and Morgan Bertram
  • 2020 Postponed
  • 2019 Mary & Steve Brook, Patrick & Claire Rouse
  • 2018 Meredith & David Alvarez
  • 2017 Ginny & Art Bennert
  • 2016 Cindy & David Schneider, Kyra & Carl Bush
  • 2015 Sherry & Laird McNeil
  • 2014 Beverly Purcell Guerra & Dr. Fernando Guerra, Kim & Dr. Michael Fischer
  • 2013 Laurie & Michael Kaplan, Allison & Danny Kustoff
  • 2012 Laurie & Michael Kaplan, Allison & Danny Kustoff
    Veronica & Dr. John Boldt (honorary co-chairs), Mertie & Dr. Dale Wood (Honorary co-chairs
  • 2011 Margie & Sam O’Krent
  • 2010 Kim & Dr. Michael Fischer, Beverly Purcell Guerra & Dr. Fernando A. Guerra
  • 2009 Helen West, Karen Norman (honorary chair)
  • 2008 Karen & Phil Heintz, Lori & Mark Wright
  • 2007 Dee Ann & Skinner Simpson, Nancy & Vernon Torgerson Jr.
  • 2006 Gloria & Fully Clingman, Caroline & Larry Walker
  • 2005 Dr. Kelley & Pat Frost
  • 2004 Diana & Daniel Dupré, Loretta & Jim Patterson
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Learn more about BioBridge Global History

Foundation Staff

Clay Howell

Director, Development BioBridge Global

Mary Dial

Manager, The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation

Adriana Estrada

Development Specialist, BioBridge Global

Mary Uhlig​

Executive Director, The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation, and BioBridge Global Community Affairs

Contact us today if you would like to learn how to support our lifesaving mission.

2023 Board of Directors

Jeanne Bennett

Chairmen Elect
Elizabeth & Scott McMillian

Immediate Past Chairs
Allison De Paoli

Meredith & David Alvarez

Morgan Bertram

Vice Chair Fundraising
James & Pamela Perez Smothers

Vice Chair Membership
Lilly & Alan Gretzinger

Vice Chair Outreach
Delaine Mathieu

Red & White Ball Co-Chairs
Jonathan & Kristen Schneider Boerger

Erin Nichols Schulz

Members at Large
Ginny Bennert

Mary Brook

Claire & Patrick Rouse

Liason to BioBridge Global Board
Dr. Tom McNish

Executive Director
Mary Uhling

Board of Directors

Rose Marie Banack

Louise & Michael Beldon

Art Bennert

Carrie & Aaron Brady

Steve Brook

Holli & Greg Brunsman  

Dr. Charles B. Christian, Jr.

Jane Coelho

Helen Coronado

Kelli & Mike Cubeta

Nicole & Craig (CJ) Czelusta 

Robin & Jared Diamond

Valerie & Ron Finch

Dr. Kelly & Pat Frost

Rich Funke

Denise Gross

Melodee & J Gruber

Rhonda Gurinsky

Carly & Jack Hawthorne

Karen Heintz

Lorelei & Mark Helmke

Rebecca Hermanson

Theresa Hines

Jenny & Will Holshouser


Maria & Jon Hudson

Randi & Bob Hutchens

Laurie & Michael Kaplan

Dr. Margaret A. Kelley

Mila & Faisal Khan

Janel Garcia-Kolodejcak

Mike Kreager

Allison & Danny Kustoff

Denise Landon

Brandi & Ryan Morkovsky    

Scott Nathan

Margie & Sam O’Krent  

Elaine Palance

Loretta Patterson

Emily & Rich Reynolds

Cindy Schneider

Elizabeth & Scott Stephens

Stephanie Stephens

Rose Urbanczyk

Dr. Jay Weinberg

Adam Wetherell

Lisa Willbanks

Shannon & Dr. Matt Windrow

Brittany Zars

Inspired and ready to support our mission? Find out more about our board members' responsibilities here: