Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Celebrates 125 Years of Achievement
By Andrea Bosco / Photograph by Michael Fornataro
Sponsored by CONSOL Energy
In June of 1890, the first young patient was admitted to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Now, 125 years later, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC serves as a beacon of hope to children and families in Western Pennsylvania — “a place of compassion and care for every child in need, regardless of their religion, race, or ability to pay.” The establishment’s original mission statement, created in 1890, was akin and quite progressive for its time. Today, Greg Barrett, president and chief development officer of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, stands at the forefront of fundraising and manages $260 million in assets. As the establishment embarks on a year-long anniversary celebration, the festivities kick off on June 4, the hospital’s official birthday. Barrett and I conducted our interview in the Blaxter Medical Library, just past the well-stocked Moulis Children’s Library on the sixth floor of the hospital. Our journey from the bustling lobby was colorful and calm. We passed smiling staff and sick children, intrigued by the soothing aquarium and building blocks in Austin’s Playroom — their parents at their sides. It was a visit that exposed the goodness of people and the heartache of many families, as well as the happiness, comfort, and top-notch care that the institution provides. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation raises funds for patient care and research, and engages the community with a collective goal: finding cures for childhood illnesses and diseases. “This year celebrates all of those in our community who have kept that covenant to make this a place that’s successful for every child,” says Barrett.
“People continue to give selflessly. The act of constantly opening that up is what makes Pittsburgh such a great place to live and that’s what we’re celebrating.”
From the polio vaccination and pediatric transplantation, to the creation of Mr. Yuk and the state-of-the-art Asthma Center, Children’s Hospital ranks 7th among children’s hospitals and schools of medicine (FY 2014) in funding for pediatric research provided by the National Institutes of Health and classifies nationally in 10 pediatric specialties. “All of that was done with the support from the outside,” says Barrett. On June 4, the Foundation will roll out the “Give Kids a Chance to Be Kids” campaign, celebrating 125 years of caring and the important role of community support for our children and their future. “’Give Kids a Chance to Be Kids’ is centered on the idea that people know we’re a great hospital,” he says. “No one is wondering if this is the place they should take their kids when they are in need. But, people need to remember that we’re a great charity, too, and that their gifts directly impact the lives of children. By giving to Children’s, they truly are giving kids a chance to be kids.” The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, held June 5-14, is just one of many summer events where the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation will be present. The organization is setting up a story booth that will travel all over town to encourage a conversation. “We want people to engage,” says Barrett. “This is a tremendous opportunity to have people share their stories of childhood at Children’s Hospital. I want us to be a repository for all of those stories from over the years.” On June 20, the Foundation’s Transplantation Surgery Auxiliary’s Diamonds & Denim event returns to Market Square for the second year to benefit the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation. The festivities continue on October 2, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, when the Foundation will host its 125th Anniversary Celebration Gala, “It’s About Time,” the signature event of this commemorative campaign. Barrett is excited for the future of Children’s and the Foundation. And, as he reflects on what’s been accomplished and what’s on the horizon, he finds solace in his responsibilities. “I love that my job is to help other people find a way to do better,” he says. “This celebration is about the generosity of Pittsburgh — the people, the business leaders who are really committed to our children and care about this community. The impact of the money we raise is on the community as a whole. It’s the act of making people more generous and giving people a chance to fulfill the lives of others. I have people who get emotional when they donate money, and that’s a great feeling.”