Children Nationwide has embarked on a drive to raise more than £1 million for a new research centre in Birmingham.
The centre will research environmental and genetic factors relating to childhood diseases and will be built next to the city's Children's Hospital.
Launching in May, the campaign will run for two years and in two phases - the first of which will target trusts and companies across the UK. The second phase will be a public appeal supported by local media. The CBI's director-general Digby Jones and the former Commons' speaker Baroness Boothroyd will lend their support.
Children Nationwide claims already to have received nearly 10 per cent of its fundraising target in pledges from corporate and individual sources.
Lucy Blyth, director of appeals for Children Nationwide, said: "The 'Help My Child' campaign in the West Midlands is our largest appeal to date and is part of our overall strategy to ensure more money is spent on researching the treatment, prevention and cures of childhood disease."
The charity has funded research into childhood cancer and diabetes in Birmingham since 1992.