D.C. philanthropist brings meditation to at-risk populations

Jeffrey Abramson grew up in a family that placed the highest value in “giving back” to society. His family’s business, the Tower Companies has been for decades one of Washington, D.C.’s most successful real estate development companies, and under Jeffrey’s leadership, has become a national leader in “green building.” Tower is recognized today as much for its philanthropy as for its forward thinking in business.

Jeffrey has been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique for more than 35 years, and based on the benefits he has gained from the practice, Jeffrey began offering the TM program to Tower employees as a part of Tower’s corporate wellness program. In addition, for the past 20 years, Jeffrey and his wife Rona, through the Abramson Family Foundation, have provided considerable funds to support independent research and implement on-site programs that demonstrate the unique effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation program for helping solve major problems in society.

“When I learned Transcendental Meditation in 1975 there were only 16 scientific studies. I was intrigued by this initial proof of the benefits an individual could gain through TM practice and wanted to see how the technique could be applied to a wide range of problems in society.”

Since the late 1980s, the Abramson Family Foundation has helped to fund programs that introduced the TM technique to minority populations who suffer from hypertension and heart disease, at-risk high school students and university students weighed down by college stress, and adults who suffer from a wide range of stress-related disorders. Jeffrey and Rona also provided support to demonstrate the effectiveness of advanced TM programs to reduce social violence and conflict.

For example, in 1993, Jeffrey and Rona helped to fund a major, two-month, anti-crime research study involving 4,000 advanced TM practitioners in the nation’s capital. The results of the study, published in a top, peer-reviewed journal, concluded that the large-scale TM practice reduced crime by over 20 percent.

tricia-meditating-american-universityThen, in 2005, alarmed by the epidemic of physical and mental problems among college students (acute depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc.) Jeffrey and his family helped fund a two-year, randomized, controlled study, conducted at American University, on the effects of the TM technique for improving the health, well-being and performance of students. Publication of these results in top scientific journals has spurred a huge wave of interest among educators, students, and parents in the benefits of the TM practice for learning and health. The Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health have also “spotlighted” this research for it’s importance to the healthcare of young adults.

(Photo above right is of Tricia Spurio, one of the college students who participated in a study at American University in Washington, D.C., on the effects of the TM technique on brain development as part of the research funded by the Abramson Family Foundation.)

Web references:
Going Beyond Green—the Tower Companies and TM