Lithuanian-Canadian dentists bequest EUR 4.7 million to the VU Endowment Fund

2024 06 26

Lithuanian-Canadian dentists bequest EUR 4.7 million to the VU Endowment Fund

Lithuanian-Canadian dentists and philanthropists Angelė and Sigitas Kazlauskas bequeathed CAD 7 million (about EUR 4.7 million) to the philanthropic Vilnius University (VU) Endowment Fund. The value of the fund will be doubled to EUR 9 million as a result of the new contribution.

The majority, 90 per cent, of the donation (around EUR 4.2 million) is being used to set up the Angelė and Sigitas Kazlauskas Endowment Sub-fund, whose return on investment will ensure continued funding for the development of pediatric odontology at VU, as well as the improvement of odontology studies and research. Up to ten per cent of the donation goes towards strengthening the activities of the VU Foundation, as well as increasing its visibility and expansion in North America.

Reception with the Rector of Vilnius University. From left to right: Dalius Jatužis, Vilma Brukienė, Justinas Noreika, Rimvydas Petrauskas, Algirdas Pacevičius Pace, Laisvis Makulis, Rokas Pečiulaitis


Dentists from the Biržai region

Dr Angelė Matildė Kazlauskas (1935–2020) and Dr Sigitas Pranas Kazlauskas (1935–2005) were emigrant Lithuanians from the Biržai region who, as children, were forced to flee to the West with their parents during the Second World War. Angelė and Sigitas met during their studies in Canada, where they graduated together as doctors of dental surgery (DDS) and later established their own private odontology clinic, working successfully for several decades, often treating patients free of charge and constantly funding the treatment of orphaned children and their fellow Lithuanians who were underprivileged. Dr Angelė M. Kazlauskas appointed the Lithuanian Canadian lawyer Algirdas Pacevičius Pace as trustee of her estate, who, while executing her will, decided to allocate part of the estate to establish a sub-fund in the name of the patron family at the VU Foundation.

Angelė and Sigitas Kazlauskas in The Vatican (photo: personal archive)

‘Vilnius University Foundation is a recently launched and still new institution in Lithuania; thus, we are grateful for every new initiative. We have already received several significant philanthropic contributions, but a bequest of this size is the first such donation to our Foundation. In this respect, the donation of the family of Angelė and Sigitas Kazlauskas to the University Foundation may be seen not only as a generous gift but also as a precedent for other similar decisions. We are glad that Lithuanians abroad do not lose touch with their homeland and see the sense of contributing to the well-being of research and education here,’ says Prof. Rimvydas Petrauskas, Rector of Vilnius University.


Angelė and Sigitas Kazlauskas Children's Odontology Centre is being established

The return on investment of the 7-figure sub-fund will continuously finance the development of children’s odontology at VU. The Angelė and Sigitas Kazlauskas Children's Odontology Centre is being established at the Institute of Dentistry of the VU Faculty of Medicine, which will significantly contribute to free dental care and treatment for children, prioritizing those growing up within underprivileged, socially disadvantaged families or in childcare institutions. The return on investment from the sub-fund will be used to purchase equipment and appliances for teaching and treatment in the field of pediatric odontology.

Dr Angelė M. Kazlauskas at work (photo: personal archive)

Another part of the return on investment of the philanthropic sub-fund will be used to strengthen the Dentistry study programme at VU – to establish and fund the Angelė and Sigitas Kazlauskas Scholarships for students of the Dentistry study programme and to purchase the necessary learning equipment for odontology studies, such as virtual reality simulators.

The return on investment from the sub-fund will also be directed towards the development of dentistry science and research at VU – the Angelė and Sigitas Kazlauskas Fellowships and Awards will be established for the scientific or pedagogical activities in the area of odontology of the staff of the VU Faculty of Medicine. Funding will also be allocated for the purchase and renewal of equipment and appliances for research.

Angelė and Sigitas Kazlauskas (photo: personal archive)


Changes to the governance of the VU Foundation

Together with funds from bequests, social capital has also been added to the VU Endowment Fund, in the form of three new sharers and two new members of the Investment Board joining the governing bodies.

‘To our knowledge, in the history of independent Lithuania, there has never been a philanthropic bequest of this magnitude in the country. We welcome the trust shown and the responsibility that comes with it. Both this historic philanthropic contribution and the five professionals committed to education and science joining our community are undoubtedly a new page in the history of the VU Foundation,’ says Justinas Noreika, CEO of the VU Foundation.

New Sharers of the VU Foundation. From left to right: Algirdas Pacevičius Pace, Laisvis Makulis, Rokas Pečiulaitis

Algirdas Pacevičius Pace (Al Pace), the executor of Dr Angelė M. Kazlauskas’ will, founder and chairman of the board of the Canadian ‘Pace Law Firm’, as well as entrepreneurs Laisvis Makulis – co-owner of ‘Dolteka’ and partner of ‘REGO Group’, and Rokas Pečiulaitis – founder and managing partner of ‘Contrarian Ventures’, who have contributed to the philanthropic transaction by providing mediation services and advice, are all joining the management of the Foundation.

From left to right: Prof. Konstantinas Pileckas, Jurgis Rudgalvis, Justas Šaltinis

Professor Konstantinas Pileckas of the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics of VU, a long-standing member of the VU Foundation's Investment Board, is being replaced by two investment management specialists, Jurgis Rudgalvis and Justas Šaltinis.