20 Years of Philanthropy Transforms Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital
By Jennifer Yuan
"A children’s hospital is as good as its community wants it to be,” says Christopher Dawes, president and CEO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. “In our case, the community has spoken loud and clear: they’ve made us one of the nation’s best.”
In the two decades since it opened, Packard Children’s has established itself not only as a place of healing for local families, but also as a world-class leader in advancing pediatric and obstetric care.
This year, as we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we also celebrate the tremendous community support that has made its success possible. From the founding commitment and vision of Lucile Salter Packard, to the unwavering generosity of donors at all levels, philanthropy has driven our progress at every step.
“My mother had always hoped that the Hospital would be embraced by others in the community,” says Susan Packard Orr, Lucile’s daughter and board chair of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. “She would be touched by the depth of affection that so many old and new friends have demonstrated for our children’s hospital.”
Over the span of its short history, more than 75,000 donors have chosen to invest in Packard Children’s and child health programs at the Stanford University School of Medicine, collectively contributing over $1 billion to date. This outpouring of support is more than just an impressive figure—it has made possible the advanced level of care the Hospital provides to children and expectant mothers.
“Day in and day out, across every area of the Hospital, I see the impact of donor support in our patients’ and families’ lives,” says Hugh O’Brodovich, MD, the Adalyn Jay Physician-in-Chief. “It would be impossible to overstate the importance of philanthropy in shaping Packard into one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals.”
Preeminence and Sustainability
Packard opened in 1991 with a focus on caring for local children and expectant mothers. From the beginning, it had the right ingredients for success: a child-friendly facility, a dedicated staff, and an unmatched location at the center of Stanford’s medical and research enterprise.
While continuing to provide for local families, Hospital leadership began to develop a strategic vision to advance children’s health care at the national level. However, in order for Packard Children’s to realize its potential, an exceptional level of community support would be required.
“It’s great to have ideas about what you want to do,” says Harvey Cohen, MD, PhD, the Deborah E. Addicott - John A. Kriewall and Elizabeth A. Haehl Family Professor and former chief-of-staff. “But unlike other children’s hospitals, some of which have over 100 years of reserves to grow their programs, Packard Hospital was still in its infancy. Philanthropic dollars were essential to make our vision a reality—more so here than at any other children’s hospital in the country.”
In 2001, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health launched the Campaign for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Its aim was to raise $500 million—at the time an unprecedented goal in the history of U.S. children’s hospitals. Thanks to an inaugural grant and challenge match from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the philanthropic community responded quickly and generously.
By 2005, two years ahead of schedule, the Campaign had raised $526 million. Never before had a children’s hospital so young raised so much money in so short a time.
Almost overnight, the Campaign transformed Packard Children’s. Campaign gifts established 100 new endowments to support new recruits and existing faculty, train future pediatric leaders, and sustain innovative clinical programs. With these investments, Packard and Stanford were able to attract more than 60 of the world’s brightest surgeons, physicians, and researchers to drive advances in pediatric and obstetric care.
“Our location at Stanford was invaluable,” notes Cohen. “The environment of the University and of Silicon Valley naturally sparks development and innovation. Coupled with donor investments, we were able to recruit the best, make major advances in pediatrics and obstetrics, and become a world-class children’s hospital.”
By 2005, Packard Children’s was ranked among the Top 10 children’s hospitals in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Hospital opened the Mary L. Johnson Pediatric Ambulatory Care Center, the Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases, the Ford Family Surgery Center, a new cardiovascular intensive care unit, and an expanded dialysis unit. Additionally, Packard Hospital partnered with Stanford Hospital & Clinics to create a dedicated Pediatric Emergency program, an endeavor facilitated by an unparalleled outpouring of community philanthropy.
In addition to developing world-class specialty programs, the Campaign helped to sustain the Hospital’s commitment to care for local families. Thanks to donor support, Packard offers a breadth of specialized services to address the unique needs of children and expectant mothers. This approach includes family-centered care—engaging families as partners in their child’s treatment. It also includes giving kids opportunities to be kids—encouraging their growth and development through Recreation Therapy and Child Life activities, and supporting their education through the on-site Hospital School. In addition, philanthropic investments maintain important outreach programs like the Teen Health Van, which benefit families in surrounding communities.
“Without donor support,” says Cohen, “the Hospital might still find a way to function. But we would lose the ability to truly care for children and families in the way that makes Packard unique.”
Breaking New Ground
Offering the most advanced care available, Packard now treats patients not just from around the corner, but from around the world. Having outgrown its original facility, the Hospital must grow dramatically to accommodate new technologies and ensure the capacity to care for future generations of children.
This year, as Packard looks ahead, it continues to rely on community support to build a better future for all children. To date, the Breaking New Ground Campaign, launched in 2007, has raised $435 million toward its $500 million goal. These investments will enable Packard to expand its facilities through the addition of 100 new beds, and equip the School of Medicine with resources to train the next generation of caregivers.
“We’re building more than a new hospital,” says Dawes. “We’re also laying the groundwork for the future of pediatric and obstetric medicine.”
The expanded facility will arm Packard’s experts with the tools and technology to quickly translate research breakthroughs into new therapies and cures, and provide the community with the most advanced care available, all within a family-centered environment.
“We have seen amazing advances and growth since day one,” adds Dawes. “We’ve increased access and breadth, improved quality and expertise, and expanded our education and research programs. In the years and decades to come, with donor support, we will continue to be a hospital of innovation.”
As the following stories illustrate, many of Packard’s supporters are inspired to become donors by their own family’s medical experience. Their personal stories provide a meaningful look at the depth of Packard’s expertise, its family-centered care, and the importance of philanthropy in making the Hospital a special place for healing and hope.