20 Mar 2024

A Historic Gift: Lillian and Jack T. Clift

A planned gift from Lillian and Jack T. Clift is powering life-changing breakthroughs in HudsonAlpha’s research on disorders of the brain.

By Lillie Mermoud

Just as a new chapter is beginning on the 170-year-old Clift Farm property, so is an exciting time of discovery and innovation at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology — both fueled by the extraordinary legacy of the late Lillian and Jack T. Clift.

As devoted stewards of the Clift family property and engaged members of the Madison community, the Clifts shaped Madison County in major ways. Through a gift to HudsonAlpha from the Lillian and Jack T. Clift Charitable Remainder Unitrust and Mr. Clift’s estate, Mr. and Mrs. Clift extended their impact beyond Madison County to improve lives around the world.

This impactful donation reflects Mr. Clift’s desire to leave an enduring legacy gift that would accelerate the Institute’s research on disorders of the brain. The funds support HudsonAlpha’s cutting-edge genomics research on neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, and dementia, as well as neuropsychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder. The Clifts’ generous contribution also supports recruiting a new Faculty Investigator who will expand the Institute’s life-saving work on disorders of the brain.

“Mr. and Mrs. Clift’s legacy gift to support HudsonAlpha’s research on diseases of the brain will power incredibly vital research,” said Neil Lamb, PhD, HudsonAlpha President. “We are tremendously grateful for their generosity and plan to use this gift in compliance with the family’s vision. The breakthroughs these funds will lead to in neurological disease will impact millions.”

In addition to an interest in neurological disease research, Mr. and Mrs. Clift had a deep love for farming that led Mr. Clift to work on the Clift Farm for over 73 years. This passion for working with the land earned Mr. Clift and Clift Farm designations as an Alabama Heritage Farm, Alabama Century Farm, and Alabama Conservationist of the Year, expanding on over 200 years of Clift family history in Madison County.

Mr. and Mrs. Clift inherited more than their love of farming from the Clift family. Historically, the Clifts shaped Madison’s growth through the family’s land acquisitions as well as their civic involvement. Mr. and Mrs. Clift followed in their ancestors’ footsteps and were active members of the North Alabama community. Mr. Clift served as Madison City Councilman, while Mrs. Clift was equally engaged in local politics before her passing in 2015. 

The Clifts’ sense of duty to their community and deep respect for their heritage in Madison County was evident through their support of HudsonAlpha and other nonprofit organizations throughout Madison County. Together, they built a legacy that expands on hundreds of years of North Alabama history. Through their support of HudsonAlpha’s neurological disease research, Lillian and Jack T. Clift established a legacy that will change lives globally for generations to come.