Following the death of Wallace Coulter in 1998, the Foundation received its funding from his estate. Wallace Coulter is one of the most significant people of the 20th century that, unlike Thomas Edison, the average person may not know. Yet, their quality of life has been drastically influenced by the products of his imagination. After inventing the Coulter Principle, Wallace incorporated Coulter Electronics (later Coulter Corporation) and with his younger brother Joseph R. Coulter, Jr., led this private, global diagnostics company for more than 40 years. In 1975, Sue Van was initially hired to manage Wallace’s personal and business assets. At the time of the sale of Coulter Corporation, to Beckman Instruments in 1997, Sue was Executive Vice President, CFO and Treasurer. During 23 years of working together, the Coulter brothers came to deeply trust Sue. As a prime example of their trust, Wallace and Joe selected Sue as a trustee. In fact, Wallace’s trust in Sue was so deep that he provided no further direction regarding the disposition of his estate beyond saying, “Sue will know what to do.”
The first step in the evolution of the Foundation involved working with U.S. colleges, universities and professional medical and scientific societies that Wallace was associated with during his lifetime.
He instilled in her a commitment toward furthering biomedical innovation. In particular, Sue wanted to continue his interest in helping innovators take their inventions from the bench to the market where they could directly benefit patients. Fondly remembering her time working with Wallace, she said, “I wanted to make up for all of the research and development projects I cut when I was CFO.” Embracing Mr. Coulter’s love of Asian culture and to help extend the prospect of attaining the American Dream, more recently the Foundation began engaging with Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) cultural groups and community-based organizations.