Gift Provides Unprecedented, Discretionary Support to Pharmacy School

Marla Ahlgrimm saw a need in women’s health and successfully filled it. She has become an inspiration and a role model to entrepreneurs everywhere.  A 1978 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy, Ahlgrimm co-founded the first pharmacy in the nation to specialize in women’s health and to provide personalized, low-dose hormone therapy.  She is now paying it forward and hoping to inspire others to do the same.

“The UW School of Pharmacy prepared me to realize the vision I had for myself as a pharmacist,” Ahlgrimm said. Her success has allowed her to establish the Marla Ahlgrimm Fund in the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy. Established with two deferred gifts, the multi-million dollar commitment is one of the largest ever made to the School. The fund will provide flexible, discretionary income allowing deans to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. These could include support for students and faculty, research assistantships, seed investment for early-stage faculty research and laboratory equipment and facilities.

A successful business woman, author and philanthropist, Ahlgrimm has always been on the cutting edge of women’s health care. Her pharmaceutical company, Madison Pharmacy Associates, incorporated proprietary compounding formulations with an individual approach to a patient’s needs.  “My career has been purposeful, exciting and allowed me to make a difference every day in the lives of many throughout the world,” she said.

“Marla has given so much to the School and the university over the years,” said Pharmacy Dean Jeanette Roberts. “A true example of engagement and commitment, she has given her time, talent and treasure. The School is a better place because of her involvement.”

The gift will provide future deans with the discretion and flexibility to meet any future challenges and opportunities. “Regardless of the time frame, supporting the professional development of our faculty and staff, as well as unmet financial needs of our students, are likely to be a the top of the list,” Dean Roberts said.

“From student scholarships and faculty retention to state-of-the-art facilities and global health-training experiences for students, the income generated by this fund will go on in perpetuity,” Ahlgrimm said. In addition to providing scholarship support for the pharmacy school for almost 20 years, she also has funded the Ahlgrimm Family Great People Scholarship.  Growing her philanthropy over the years, Ahlgrimm believes it is important to realize that you can give small amounts over many years while planning for something larger down the road.”

Ahlgrimm, who was named the 1999 Wisconsin Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus, also supports her alma mater through service on various boards. A former member of the UW Foundation Board of Directors, she currently sits on the Women’s Philanthropy Council and serves on the School of Pharmacy Board of Visitors.