The Szymczak Family Research Award

The Children's Heart Foundation is proud to work with individual donors with great charitable intentions to create a Named Fund in their honor or memory of a loved one. Named fund donors, by law, do not direct the foundation in any way. Their funding adheres to the same meritorious research application, scoring, and selection process as all Children's Heart Foundation grant awards. There is a minimum to start a Named Fund, and they are often the most effective way to get directly involved in great philanthropic efforts.

The Szymczak Family Research Award RFA is focusing on the evaluation and management of children with single ventricle heart defects. Supported by generous funding from the Szymczak family and their many supporters, The Szymczak Family Research Award will support late translational and clinical research projects focusing on improving lifespan and quality of life for patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and other single ventricle heart defects. 


What are the primary areas of focus for research applications for the SFRA?

The research focus areas are:

  • Projects focusing on improving lifespan and quality of life for patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and other single ventricle heart defects. 
  • Proposals that are of particular interest include but are not limited to those focusing on lymphatic disorders including PLE, biventricular repairs in patients with borderline left hearts, and regenerative stem cell therapies. 

What is the desired scope of the research impact?

The Foundation and the SFRA is highly interested in research that would impact a large number of Single Ventricle and Fontan patients. Focused on translational and clinical research projects that improve the outcomes, lifespan, and quality of life.  If the proposed research project only has the potential to help relatively few patients, but has a transformational impact, that application may be favorably received.

Is the Children's Heart Foundation interested in funding traditional basic science research?

For the Independent Grant Awards and the SFRA, clinical and translational applications are typically received the most favorably.  Investigators seeking funding for basic science projects should consider applying to the joint The Children's Heart Foundation - American Heart Association grant mechanism.

Is salary support for investigators allowed in the budget?

In prior years, research awards from the Children's Heart Foundation did not allow for investigator salary support.  However, starting in 2021, up to 10% of the annual budget may be used for salary support for the principal investigator and/or co-investigators.  

Is there a limit to the number of applications submitted by a PI during a single grant cycle?

Yes. Only one application maybe submitted, per PI, during each Independent Grant Award cycle.

May the same PI apply for both a Children’s Heart Foundation Independent Grant Award and the joint American Heart Association / Children’s Heart Foundation grant award during the same year?

Yes. Researchers are encouraged to apply simultaneously to both funding opportunities.

Can a PI receive funding from The Children’s Heart Foundation’s Independent Research Award mechanism and the joint grant award with the American Heart Association during the same year/funding cycle?

No. If a PI is selected to receive funding from both grant mechanisms for the same or similar projects, the PI must accept only one award.

May non-physician researchers apply for funding?

Yes. Researchers from other disciplines, including nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, anesthesiologists, PhDs, MPHs and clinicians and/or researchers from non-cardiac specialties, are encouraged to apply for the Children’s Heart Foundation Independent Grant Award and the SFRA.

Does the Children's Heart Foundation value research focusing on disparities in healthcare outcomes?

Yes. Important disparities exist in most areas of healthcare, including pediatric cardiac care.  The Children’s Heart Foundation and the SFRA welcome research applications that focus on these issues.

We also encourage investigators from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds to apply for an award.  The Foundation does not discriminate, and shall not, based on race/ethnicity, religion (creed), age, gender/gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, or military status, in any of the Foundation activities. The Foundation prohibits and does not allow unlawful discrimination or harassment.