When a hospital focused on children opened in San Diego in 1954, the city received it as a godsend as it suffered through another polio epidemic. The facility initially treated just 12 patients, and the hospital was gradually built up by a long string of donations. The biggest leap forward came in 2006, when hometown real-estate investor Ernest Rady donated $60 million, in addition to offering leadership on the hospital board. This soon turned the San Diego children’s hospital into the largest such facility in California.
In 2014 Rady and his wife, Evelyn, presented an additional $120 million. This created an institute at the hospital that will apply genomics and other emerging medical knowledge to the treatment of its child patients, cementing its position as a prominent research and teaching institution as well as a saver of young lives.