The Menninger Clinic, which heads south to Houston next month, will leave a little something behind in its longtime home of Topeka, Kan.
Menninger agreed last week to establish a lasting legacy through a new charitable foundation, transferring assets worth millions of dollars to help provide mental health services to indigent patients in Kansas. Officials with Menninger, which will complete its relocation to Texas on June 3, formed the still-unnamed foundation after lengthy discussions with Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline.
"The agreement ensures that vulnerable populations in Kansas will not be forgotten," Kline said.
Under terms of the agreement, the foundation will own about $3.5 million worth of buildings on the main Topeka campus, 123 acres of undeveloped land west of the campus but owned by Menninger, and a 50% interest in remaining Menninger property valued at $18 million to $25 million. The total amount won't be known until Menninger sells its properties.
Last year, Menninger officials said they intended to form a foundation to take care of any remaining liabilities and to deal with the sale of about 515 acres of real estate, including the 242 acres that make up its main campus northwest of Topeka.
State officials began reviewing Menninger's assets last year to determine if the clinic owed money to the state after enjoying tax advantages for decades as a charitable, not-for-profit organization. Officials believed that a portion of Menninger's assets-it reported an endowment in excess of $80 million in May 2002-should remain in Kansas even though the clinic will continue its charitable mission with its two not-for-profit Houston partners, the Baylor College of Medicine and the Methodist Health Care System.
Menninger, which has become almost synonymous with Kansas' capital city after 78 years of operation, plans to pump about $35 million into a new foundation in Houston, with its two partners contributing $17.5 million each, Kline said.
Ian Aitken, Menninger's president and chief operational officer, said the clinic has cooperated fully with Kline and his predecessor, Carla Stovall, on the plan to create the charitable foundation. "We are pleased that Mr. Kline supports Menninger's efforts to ensure that a continuum of mental health services remains available to Topekans and to Kansans," Aitken said.