Mayfield Foundation announces Spark Grant in Brain and Spine Health

CINCINNATI -- The Mayfield Education & Research Foundation is proud to announce the creation of the Lilly and Grace Morriss Spark Grant in Brain and Spine Health.

When a local businessman learned that his surgeon, William Tobler, MD, chaired the foundation affiliated with Mayfield Brain & Spine, he immediately provided a significant gift to help wherever the need was greatest. The Lilly and Grace Morriss Spark Grant in Brain and Spine Health has been established in honor of his granddaughters.

The donor, wishing to keep a low profile, remains anonymous. His joy comes from knowing that his gift will help address the suffering of people impacted by neurological conditions. He understands the need first-hand.

Lilly & Grace

(L,R) - Lilly and Grace

His granddaughter Grace, a teenager for whom the grant is partially named, suffered brain injury as an infant when infantile spasms caused numerous seizures. Although her seizures have been cured, she is globally delayed. She lives at an intermediate care facility and enjoys cheerleading at the local high school. Grace's sister, Lilly, a college student, wrote her college essay about the lessons she has learned from Grace, who inspires her every day.

The donor's daughter, "overwhelmed with appreciation" when she learned of the Spark Grant, said her father has always been generous. "He donates to what pulls at his heart strings. Every Christmas he adopts a few families and makes sure they have enough presents."

Expressing gratitude, Dr. Tobler said, "We are humbled and honored to have the Lilly and Grace Morriss Spark Grant in Brain and Spine Health live within the Mayfield Education & Research Foundation. Our grateful patients inspire us each day with what they are able to accomplish physically and how they show their generosity."

The Mayfield Foundation's Spark Grant initiative provides seed funding to a neuroscience researcher who seeks preliminary data for a promising research project. If the data support the researcher's hypothesis, he or she can pursue additional funds from a larger granting agency.

The Mayfield Education & Research Foundation seeks to spark a flame into a bonfire of success. Donors can be confident that grant proposals are vetted by international authorities in the neurosciences. Thus far, foundation grants have helped researchers publish dozens of articles and win millions of dollars from federal agencies.

For more information about creating a Spark Grant, please contact Deborah Livingston at