The Finnish Medical Society Duodecim established the Foundation in 1960.
The Finnish Medical Society Duodecim has been supporting medical research since its establishment in 1881. In the late 1950s, the Society began to consider new ways of supporting medical research. It was thought that the funds and fundraising of the Society could be managed more efficiently in order to support research.
For this purpose, the Board of Duodecim decided to establish the Finnish Medical Foundation on 20.10.1960. The Board transferred shares worth of five million marks as the Foundation’s initial capital.
Professor Tauno Putkonen, the then Chair of Duodecim, played a key role in planning and implementing the foundation project.
The Foundation’s capital grew significantly just a few weeks after its establishment when director Matti Vaskio donated ten million Finnish marks to the Foundation. On the last day of 1960, Vaskio donated an additional fifteen million marks to the Foundation. These donations formed the initial capital for the Maija and Matti Vaskio Fund of the Foundation. The Vaskio couple continued to enrich the fund with additional donations between 1961 and 1965.
The donation was an exceptionally large private investment in medicine and in the promotion of public health in Finland.
The Finnish Medical Society Duodecim elected professor Gunnar Soininen as the Chair and professor Niilo Hallman as the Vice Chair to the Foundation’s first Board in its annual meeting on 19.11.1960.
Other elected Board members were Doctor of Laws Reino Erma, Chief Physician Erkki Klemola, CEO and Licentiate of Medicine Olli Routi, and Director Tauno Väyrynen. In the same meeting, a Council was appointed to the Foundation, with professor Tauno Putkonen serving as Chair.
The grants awarded in the early stages of the Foundation were based on received donations. Therefore, the significance of annual support was crucial for the Foundation’s operations at the time.
The Foundation first began awarding grants based on the return on its assets in 1980. The Foundation’s wealth increased with the positive economic development of the 1980s so that the amount of support distributed at the end of the decade was over three times that of the beginning of the decade.
The Foundation’s grants have been developed over time to meet the needs of researchers. In the past decade, the Finnish Medical Foundation has supported medical research in university hospitals and universities with over 20 million euros. Overall, the Foundation annually funds approximately 150 researchers from all fields of medicine.