Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Foundation Timeline of Milestones and Major Naming Gifts

70th anniversary logo

As we celebrate 70 years of serving children and families in our community and from around the globe, it is important that we recognize the incredible impact of visionaries, volunteers and generous philanthropists on Nicklaus Children’s ability to consistently provide the very best care to our children and families when they need us most. Ongoing philanthropic support has helped us innovate, improve patient outcomes, carry out groundbreaking research, acquire state-of-the art equipment and expand programs and services that have made a difference for generations of children.

In this historical timeline, we highlight several significant moments and transformational gifts that have been instrumental to our hospital’s remarkable growth and progress. However, we cannot understate the impact of the hundreds of thousands of supporters who have given and continue to give generously year after year.  No matter the size, every contribution helps to change and save lives, and for this, you have our heartfelt thanks.

1939

Patsy Clark writes letter to Santa asking for a children’s hospital in our community

1941

Dr. Arthur H. Weiland, a leading orthopedic surgeon, dreams of building a hospital in South Florida for crippled children; a vision that will be realized within a few years

1947

The Crippled Children’s Society turns over management and maintenance of the hospital to Variety International’s (a leading charitable organization affiliated with the entertainment industry) Club Tent 33

1950

With funding from Variety International, Variety Children’s Hospital opens its doors just as the polio epidemic was encompassing the United States

1956

Obelisk erected on hospital grounds honoring founders/ benefactors: Col. Robert Pentland, Jr., George C. Hoover, Roscoe Brunstetter and Jack Cleary

1958

Variety Children’s is recognized as a teaching hospital with a focus on pediatrics

Variety Children’s Research Foundation Laboratory named in honor of Jack Bell, a journalist who was the driving force behind the Committee of 100, a Variety Club group committed to raising $100,000 a year for the hospital and which raised $117,000 in 1958 to match a government grant - guests at the dedication include Debbie Reynolds and Mickey Spillane

1960s and 70s

Variety Children’s grows to meet the needs of the growing Miami population, including an influx of refugees fleeing communist Cuba

1979

With the generous support of United True Order Sisters (UOTS), the hospital dedicated a 2,000 sq. ft. facility dedicated solely to expanding pediatric/oncology services. The newly named John Wayne Pavilion recognized UOTS – Miami 43 support of pediatric hematology/oncology

1980

Estate of Sue-Byrd Pentland (wife of Founder Col. Robert C. Pentland) makes a significant legacy gift

1982

Ambassador David M. Walters activates Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation

1983

Variety Children’s Hospital becomes Miami Children’s Hospital

MCH Foundation launches a three-phase campaign called “A Campaign for Our Children; Phase I raised $49.8 million to fund construction; Phase II raised $25 million to establish a pediatric research institute; and Phase III raised $25 million to help establish an academic presence at the hospital

1986

Gifts from benefactors and founders Bernice & Harry Simone name The Harry & Bernice Simone Wing

The Ambassador David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame recognizes its first inductees: Walt Disney, Dr. Jonas Salk, Dr. Helen Taussiq and Bob Keeshan (Capt. Kangaroo); 75 world-renown champions of children are now members of the Hall of Fame 

1987

Became a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® member, nearly $40 million raised to date for Nicklaus Children’s by partner organizations
 
James L. Knight makes significant gift that names the main hospital building the Mary Ann Knight International Institute of Pediatrics after his late wife

1990

The Miami Children’s Hospital Pediatric Research Institute opens its doors

Solomon Klein Foundation gift names the Solomon Klein Pavilion

1991

Bettina Wattles, a generous patron of Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation, names the Roger & Bettina Wattles Wing and the Roger & Bettina Wattles Foundation Building

1992

The Batchelor Foundation names the George E. Batchelor Research and Academic Pavilion and continues to support the hospital

1994

U.S. News & World Report names Miami Children’s Hospital the best pediatric institute in the Southeast

1996

The Dan Marino Foundation makes a generous gift that names the Dan Marino Outpatient Center in Weston

2002

Samuel Blank & Family Foundation – Million Dollar Club members – names the Sam & Bea Blank Pavilion

2006

Florida Blue gift names the Brain Institute’s “Blue Concourse” and continues to serve as a steadfast partner of the hospital and foundation

2010

A generous bequest from the Estate of Ralph George Hasker funds an entertainment area in the newly expanded Emergency Department, which is named the Hasker Teddy Bear Zone

2011

Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation launches the five-year “Together For The Children” campaign that raised $150 million for the hospital

Florence Groover Frank – “Grande Dame” of the Foundation leaves a sizeable estate gift

The Miguel “Mike” B. Fernandez Family names The Miguel “Mike” B. Fernandez Family Pediatric Trauma Center  

2012

The Anthony R. Abraham Foundation names the Orthopedics Lobby

2015 

Raul Rodriguez names The Raul Rodriguez Fracture Care Center
Pledge from the Barbara and Jack Nicklaus’ Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation renamed Miami Children’s Hospital as Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and later also Nicklaus Children’s Health System
Gladys M. Stewart leaves a generous gift from her estate to help sick children; Main Campus PCC named The Gladys M. & Frederick Stewart Pediatric Care Center

2016 

Trust of Rita Auerbach Wallach provides a generous legacy gift that names the APCP Lobby
Cherie and Jack Denson make generous gift that names the Denson Family Neurology-Neurosurgery Floor in the APCP
Laurie and Robert Lucks make a generous gift that names the Lucks Family Neonatal Intensive Care Floor
Sanford Health and T. Denny Sanford make generous gift to the Personalized Medicine Initiative (PMI) to advance Genomics Medicine

2017 

Carlos J. Arboleya, Sr., a former Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation board member, makes generous gift that names
The Marta & Carlos J. Arboleya, Jr. Pediatric Intensive Care Floor in the APCP in honor of his late wife and son
Ruth Waltz makes a generous gift that names the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit Lobby in the APCP
Lawrence J. and Florence A. De George Charitable Trust makes generous gift to further the Telehealth initiative

2018  

Ravneet Chowdhury, a Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation chair and husband Anand Chowdhury, make generous contributions that name the Nirvair Chowdhury Midtown Outpatient Center in honor of their son, Nirvair

2019 

Linda and Morton Bouchard make a generous gift that names The Morton & Linda Bouchard Healing Garden in the APCP
The Esrick Dream Foundation names the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit Floor in the APCP
Lynn and Frank Scaduto make a generous gift that names the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Floor in the APCP

2020 

The Samuel C. Cantor Charitable Trust and Eddy and Helaine Cantor make gift that names the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Lobby


As you read through our donor history, we invite you to help us be there for the children by making an investment in their future through a contribution to Nicklaus Children's Hospital Foundation.