February 06, 2012
Published: Feb. 6, 2012
By COURTNEY PERKES / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
ORANGE – The Disneyland Resort announced a $5 million gift Monday to Children's Hospital of Orange County for an expansion that will include a Disney-designed lobby.
The donation toward a 426,000-square-foot patient tower was announced with Disney music and flourish on top of a CHOC parking garage overlooking the construction site on La Veta Avenue in Orange. Mickey Mouse, wearing a tuxedo, blew a kiss to Kim Cripe, chief executive of the hospital.
"I couldn't be more thrilled with this donation," Cripe said.
In addition to giving money toward the $560 million expansion, about a dozen Disney employees are designing an interactive lobby that will include characters. Disney created a lobby last year for Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando.
Ties between Disney and CHOC go back to before the hospital opened in 1964. Walt Disney helped with fundraising and served as a founding board member. A Disney illustrator designed the hospital's CHOCO the bear logo.
"This is just perfectly aligned," said George Kalogridis, president of Disneyland Resort and a member of the CHOC board. "We love, of course, to entertain children. The majority of our philanthropic efforts are centered on children."
The gift from Disney is CHOC's third largest in a $125 million fundraising campaign.
Last year, CHOC received $30 million, the largest in its history, from the estate of Robert Tidwell, a retired investment banker living in Garden Grove. Tidwell's only previous donation had been a used computer. The hospital also received $10 million from Hyundai for cancer care.
The tower, which has been under construction since 2009, will open next spring with seven operating rooms, 28 private rooms and a pediatric emergency department. Once open, CHOC surgeons will no longer need to operate at neighboring St. Joseph Hospital.
Ultimately, the tower will have the capacity to go up to 390 beds. CHOC now has 238 beds.
Most of the funding will come from operating income, loans and more than $150 million from two state ballot measures that issued bonds for children's hospitals.
With Monday's gift, the hospital has raised $100 million. Cripe said the hospital has until June of next year to raise the remaining $25 million.
"It is a really difficult economy to be raising money," Cripe said. "We have a lot of momentum."
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