The Arizona Elks Major Projects has committed to raising $2.5 million for the University of Arizona’s Steele Children’s Research Center over the next 10 years.

The Elks have supported the Steele Center since 1991, and have already raised more than $5 million to fund a research endowment, education and clinical care.

Officials say the new commitment will help support basic science research in autoimmune diseases such as type one diabetes, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease.

In addition, funds will support translating this basic science to patients by building a translational research center in Phoenix.

The money will also be used to establish the Arizona Elks Endowed Chair in Statewide Pediatric Research. The endowed chair will guarantee financial support in perpetuity, ensuring that the efforts made by the Arizona Elks today benefit children into the future.

The endowed chair will help recruit a clinical research leader to head the Steele Center’s Phoenix enterprise.

The Arizona Elks chair holder will lead the translation of science from “proof of principle” in the laboratory to effective changes in how children are treated for disease in the future.

“This is a testament to the positive relationship we share with the Arizona Elks,” Steele Center director Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan said in a news statement. “They truly are our partners in improving children’s health throughout Arizona and beyond.”