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Making a Mark
Making a Mark is published bi-annually by the CHOC Foundation. It features CHOC and children?s healthcare news, patient highlights, hospital updates, board member spotlights, and community involvement stories and is mailed to donors who support CHOC with a gift of $250 and more.

Susan and James Swenson Family Assistance Endowment Provides Lasting Support for CHOC

In 1996, Susan and Jim Swenson of Dana Point, CA, created an endowment at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) to provide financial assistance to families whose children were being treated at CHOC.

An endowment is a gift donated with the intention that it is to be held and invested in perpetuity to generate an annual payout stream for a stated purpose. The principal of the original gift must be kept intact, and only the payout may be expended.

Since its inception, the Susan and James Swenson Family Assistance Endowment has grown to nearly $3 million, providing families with assistance for necessities such as food, transportation and medicine.

According to Jim, “we wanted to make a gift that had a lasting impact at CHOC; an endowment seemed like the best way to provide enduring support for families who needed financial assistance while their child was receiving medical treatment. We were impressed with the level of caring and compassion delivered by the team at CHOC, and by the fact that CHOC doesn’t turn any child away, regardless of his or her family’s ability to pay.”

In 2007 alone, the Swenson’s endowment purchased medications for more than 100 children with diagnoses such as cancer and cystic fibrosis; over 1,000 taxi rides to patients and families without transportation; more than 2,700 complimentary meals from the CHOC cafeteria; and distributed funds to over 30 families for memorial and end of life services, allowing these families to honor and celebrate the life of their child with dignity and compassion.

Additional funds from their endowment were used to purchase a mobility chair for a child diagnosed with a disease that rendered him immobile. Before the mobility chair was provided, the child relied on a shopping cart pushed by a family member for transportation. Today, the mobility chair has allowed him to attend school, interact and play with other children and participate in everyday activities.

“Our endowment is a permanent investment in CHOC and its commitment to providing the best healthcare possible to the children of Orange County. With this gift, we are able to help families who are facing difficult medical and financial challenges,” Jim explains.

Oftentimes, families benefiting from the Swenson’s endowment were not eligible for state, local or federal funding. Without the financial aid from the Susan and James Swenson Family Assistance Endowment, they would have had no other form of support. “We are gratified to know our endowment will continue to be used by CHOC to identify families in need of financial assistance and provide them with the support they need and deserve,” Jim says.

Endowments such as the Swenson’s deliver critical support to CHOC, providing lasting funding for important hospital programs and services. The gift to create an endowment can be made from cash, stock, life insurance, real estate or other assets, and only the earnings from the investment are used for the purpose designated by the donor.

An endowment is a permanent investment in CHOC and its commitment to providing the best healthcare possible to the children of Orange County. It truly is a gift that keeps on giving.

If you are interested in endowing a program or service at CHOC, please contact Jeri Stathis, director of major and planned giving, at 714-532-8690 or jstathis@choc.org .


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chocChildren's Hospital of Orange County | UCI University of California, Irvine

Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

CHOC Children's - 1201 W La Veta Ave, Orange, CA. Phone: 714-997-3000. .