September 19, 2008

$20M gift launches Children’s Hospital expansion project

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On hand for the gift announcement were, from left, Kevin Churchwell, M.D., George and Julie Stadler, co-chairs of the Campaign for Children and Mothers, and Harry Jacobson, M.D. (photo by Dana Johnson)

$20M gift launches Children’s Hospital expansion project

This is a conceptual drawing depicting the view north from Children’s Way of the proposed construction of a 400,000-square-foot facility connected with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. (rendering courtesy of Earl Swennson Associates)

This is a conceptual drawing depicting the view north from Children’s Way of the proposed construction of a 400,000-square-foot facility connected with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. (rendering courtesy of Earl Swennson Associates)

Three generations of the family of the late Monroe Carell Jr. have pledged a gift of $20 million to the fundraising effort for a new facility to care for children and mothers.

The Campaign for Children and Mothers, with a goal of $45 million, will support the building of a 400,000-square-foot facility, slated to open in 2012, adjacent to and connected with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

“This is truly a family gift from three generations,” said Julie Stadler, the eldest daughter of Ann and Monroe Carell Jr. She and her husband, George Stadler, are chairing the Campaign for Children and Mothers. “My father inspired many by his example. He believed if you felt passionate about a cause, you should support it with your time, energy and financial resources to the best of your ability.

“That's why this gift is from all of us: my mother, Ann Carell; my sisters and their husbands, Kathryn and David Brown and Edie and David Johnson; and from George and me and all of our children. Our family felt it was important to demonstrate our own support in a significant way as we ask others throughout the community for their generosity.”

Stadler joined John Stein, chair of the Board of Directors for Children's Hospital; Kevin Churchwell, M.D., CEO of the Children's Hospital; and Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs for Vanderbilt Medical Center, as they announced the gift to the hospital's board of directors on Sept. 11.

“The generosity of the whole Carell family is a thing of legend,” Jacobson said. “A gift of this magnitude has the possibility of transforming the way we view care for mothers and the babies they carry. But just as important, the generosity of the Stadlers, the Browns, the Johnsons, and Ann Carell will allow us to expand our Children's Hospital to meet the needs of our growing region, to expand our services, and to broaden our mission and build this wonderful new facility.”

Churchwell agreed.

“This tremendous gift furthers our mission of providing comprehensive health care for our children. One of the most important services we provide is the care for newborn and extremely premature babies who can face months of critical illness. Not only is it our duty to care for babies, but it is also our duty to serve mothers. This gift will help us begin that caring relationship even at the start of a pregnancy to ensure the very best start in life for both mother and child,” Churchwell said.

Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos said he was “thrilled and overwhelmed by the continued generosity of the Carell family to Vanderbilt. This incredible commitment by three generations of this wonderful family will make a difference in the lives of so many mothers, children and families for many generations to come. We are deeply grateful and excited about the future and what this new facility will mean to Vanderbilt and the entire region.”

Stein said the spirit of the extended Carell family is evident in this gift. “Monroe's intensity and ability to inspire was infectious, and that is vibrantly alive today in his wife, daughters and their families. The project opens up a new and exciting era for Vanderbilt.”

The plans currently call for relocating and expanding Vanderbilt's obstetrics program, accommodating up to 5,000 deliveries when it opens. Construction will include 64 obstetrics-related beds, 48 rooms for pregnant women and new mothers (12 more than those currently housed at Vanderbilt University Hospital), 16 labor and delivery rooms (an increase of four), and three obstetric operating rooms. The design offers a covered entrance for drop-off and pick-up as well as underground parking.

“This is an innovative and exceptional concept,” said Stadler. “It incorporates the important needs of the expectant mother while connecting powerfully with the family-centered care of our Children's Hospital.”

The plans include a large expansion for Pediatrics as well. Of the 190 new beds, 90 will be dedicated to pediatric medical/surgical care to help relieve the space crunch at Children's Hospital. Patients with cancer, cardiac and medical/surgical needs will have rooms on three floors. Thirty-six neonatal intensive care (NICU) beds will not only replace the Stahlman nursery currently housed at VUH, but will add 20 beds to the total NICU program, bringing the number of NICU beds at Vanderbilt to 98. Ten new pediatric operating rooms are designated for the building. The nearly 400,000-square-foot project will roughly double the working accommodations for mothers and children at Vanderbilt.

Monroe Carell Jr., who died on June 20, was a noted philanthropist and chaired the campaign that built the Children's Hospital that now bears his name.

His wife, Ann, and his three daughters, Julie, Kathryn and Edie, are joined by their spouses and children in this leadership gift to the Campaign for Children and Mothers.

Family members include: Ann Carell; Julie and George Stadler and their children, Claire and Monroe Stadler; Kathryn and David Brown and their children, Carell and Nicholas Brown; and Edie and David Johnson and their children, William and Ann Scott Johnson.