Home » The Benefactor Blog » Dare to Reimagine: Rady Children’s Receives Historic $200 Million Gift from Ernest and Evelyn Rady
Rady Children's Hospital donation meeting.

Dare to Reimagine: Rady Children’s Receives Historic $200 Million Gift from Ernest and Evelyn Rady

Investment will transform Rady Children’s campus to create preeminent healing environment

SAN DIEGO – November 21, 2019 – Today Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego and Ernest and Evelyn Rady announced the single-largest investment in the Hospital’s history with a $200 million gift that will help redevelop and expand Rady Children’s campus and facilities. The investment is among the largest gifts made to a children’s hospital in the United States.

“Evelyn and I have gotten a great deal of pride and satisfaction from the wonderful care that the people at Rady Children’s Hospital have provided to the children of our community,” said Ernest Rady. “We are fortunate in San Diego to have easy access to the best doctors, nurses, scientists, technicians and care providers for children in the world. We are proud to do what we can to support these experts in partnership with Dr. Patrick Frias and all of the Hospital personnel to advance how they care for kids.”

Rady Children’s first inpatient building was constructed in the 1950s as an early step in the plan to create a facility exclusively for children. As the needs of children and their families have grown, Rady Children’s has added new facilities and satellite locations and partnered with adult health systems. Today, Rady Children’s cares for nearly 250,000 children from 46 states and 50 countries around the world each year in 25 locations across San Diego, Imperial and southern Riverside counties. With 524 inpatient beds, Rady Children’s is one of the largest free-standing children’s hospitals in the country.

“This is a landmark day for pediatric health care,” said Patrick A. Frias, MD, Rady Children’s president & CEO. “Ernest and Evelyn have inspired us to completely reimagine the healing environment for children and families. This historic investment will transform our physical campus and enable Rady Children’s to pursue a rigorous campus redesign to seamlessly integrate the latest technology into clinical care, allow us to expand to meet the pediatric health care needs of our region and beyond, and support the health and well-being of our patients, families, and staff in a caring and innovative environment.

“Thank you isn’t really sufficient, but I simply don’t have the words to express our gratitude to Ernest and Evelyn.”

Following the passage of the 2018 Children’s Hospital Bonds Initiative, Hospital leaders and its Board of Trustees began a comprehensive review of the campus infrastructure with an eye toward creating a master campus and system plan. Created as a matching fund, the Rady Reimagine Fund is earmarked to support campus priorities within the master plan and spur similar investments from other philanthropists, meaning the total raised could surpass $400 million.

“It is my hope that the community will be inspired to join us and invest in keeping kids healthy,” said Ernest Rady. “Our most vulnerable population deserves strong advocates. It’s up to our community to make sure every child has the best possible care available.”

Ernest Rady built his career in the insurance, financial services and real estate industries. Currently he is executive chairman, president and CEO of American Assets Trust, a NYSE-traded real estate investment trust. He founded AAT’s predecessor, American Assets, Inc., in 1967. In 1971 he also founded and currently is the executive chairman of Insurance Company of the West, which has expanded to become part of ICW Group Holdings, a group of multi-line property and casualty insurance carriers. Additionally, Ernest Rady founded and served as chairman and CEO of Westcorp, a publicly traded financial services company, which merged with Wachovia Corporation in 2006 and is now part of Wells Fargo.

In addition to supporting the children’s hospital, Ernest and Evelyn have made gifts of more than $140 million to UC San Diego, which is affiliated with Rady Children’s, and support the San Diego Zoo, Jewish Family Services and the Salvation Army of San Diego, among other nonprofit causes.

“We are currently at a special juncture with an unprecedented opportunity,” said S. Douglas Hutcheson, chair of Rady Children’s Board of Trustees and executive chairman of Kymeta Corporation. “The launch of this master planning process is at an inflection point in the Hospital’s seven decades of providing consistently excellent and selectively distinctive care to children in our community. The Radys’ investment will allow us to thoughtfully look at how best Rady Children’s can continue to serve children and their families for the next 70 years.”

To date, Ernest and Evelyn Rady have invested nearly $400 million in the Hospital. In 2006, Ernest, Evelyn and American Assets, Inc., pledged $60 million to support expansions in facilities and programs including construction of the Acute Care Pavilion; eight years later, Ernest and Evelyn Rady invested $120 million to establish the internationally recognized Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine. In addition, they have supported other Hospital projects and annual matching gifts through Hospital signature events.

“Ernest and Evelyn have long recognized that the greatest possible return on investment is the ability to improve the health and lives of children: in San Diego, across the country and around the world,” said Stephen L. Jennings, executive director, Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Since Ernest and Evelyn Rady helped launch the Genomics Institute, we’ve seen first hand how impactful thoughtful philanthropic investments can be. Our genomics experts are changing the lives of children every single day. We are humbled to continue our partnership with Ernest and Evelyn as we continue to serve the needs of sick and injured children who come into our care.”

Campus planning is underway now and expected to be completed by June 2021 with construction projects beginning shortly thereafter.

“This is a top-to-bottom transformation,” said Frias. “Our focus is on building a healthier future to serve the needs of current and future generations. To do that, we will look holistically at our campus footprint to develop a master campus and system plan that ensures delivery of leading-edge care and makes the highest and best use of space and technology on the main campus and in the community. This investment will allow us to do exactly that.”

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