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Monday, Jun 17, 2024

City of Hope’s OC Mission

Cancer-Focused Hospital Plans $1.5B OC Investment

City of Hope Orange County is gearing up to create the largest cancer care network in OC.

Following a 2022 fundraising year that brought in seven seven-figure gifts totaling nearly $38 million, it has the backing to help make that goal a reality.

The Duarte-based cancer-focused institute ranked No. 4 among local recipients of the Largest Charitable Gifts for 2022 within OC last year, with its largest gift being a $25 million donation from the Argyros family.

City of Hope plans on investing $1.5 billion in Orange County using such funds.

“Philanthropy has, is and always has been an accelerator of our efforts,” President Annette Walker told the Business Journal.

The Argyros gift will go toward City of Hope’s growing Irvine campus at the Great Park Neighborhoods. The gift was announced at a September gala event by President Julia Argyros, who heads the Argyros Family Foundation, at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

“We are honored to be in the position to support City of Hope, which is saving lives and expanding access to its advanced cancer care,” Argyros said at the event.


City of Hope’s Orange County campus spans 11 acres and is currently made up of the 190,000-square-foot Lennar Foundation Cancer Center, which opened in August, and an under-construction cancer hospital next door.

“It’s not just another hospital of City of Hope,” Chief Philanthropy Officer Kristin Bertell said. “Patients are not only going to access what is offered in Irvine—they will have the whole offering of the entire system.”

The hospital is on schedule and on budget for completion in 2025. It will be the only place in the western United States completely dedicated to cancer, according to Dr. Edward Kim, physician-in-chief.

Healing Partners

The Argyros family has been a significant supporter of the organization for about 25 years, Walker said.

The family—which founded Costa Mesa-based development and investment company Arnel & Affiliates—is among OC’s largest benefactors with tens of millions in annual donations for local charities and the arts.

Before setting foot in the county, City of Hope saw the philanthropists often involved at its Duarte center, specifically the healing gardens.

When the OC expansion was announced, the Argyros’ became immediately involved, Walker said.

The gift “really signaled to the community that we had arrived,” Bertell said.

Walker also described it as “a huge statement of trust.”

In honor of their $25 million donation, the Argyros name will grace the healing gardens in the Irvine medical campus.

$300M Goal

Last year also saw gifts from other City of Hope partners such as the Irvine Health Foundation, Lowe’s Companies, and the Southern California Food Industry Circle.

These donations will be a part of the organization’s $1.5 billion investment in Orange County; City of Hope is currently working to raise $300 million to go toward that goal.

“It allows us to move faster, to build bigger, to get more state-of-the-art equipment [and] to attract the top talent,” Bertell said.

For now, the funds will allow City of Hope to build upon the cancer center’s current capabilities such as bone marrow transplants and additional cellular therapies. As services broaden, so will the experts the campus brings in.

Locals can expect the suite of services in Irvine to grow through 2026, Walker said.

“When we get these gifts, it’s a very moving experience to me that other people have joined in pursuit of this mission,” Walker said.

“It reinforces my own ‘yes’ to be a part of this project,” added Walker, a 40-year resident of OC.

The organization counts 15,000 donors in OC.

“The more [residents] have an ability to experience City of Hope in OC, we believe the broader that support will become,” Walker said.

City of Hope’s network includes four regional clinics: two in Newport Beach, one in Huntington Beach and one in Irvine. The group first entered OC 2020 with its center located near Fashion Island. It then acquired Pacific Shores Medical Group and its three local sites in 2021.

The expansion was prompted by City of Hope’s goal to provide a greater connection to its network of hospitals and services for residents.

The organization is encouraged by the activity they’ve seen so far, with patient volumes growing steadily in Irvine since the August opening, according to Walker.

“We’re seeing a continuous progression forward which tells us that the research and study we did on the needs of Orange County were accurate,” Walker said.

Research from the organization estimated about 20% of the region’s 3.2 million residents may need advanced cancer care and many were forced to drive hours or even out of state to get the newest treatment available.

In 2018, City of Hope had around 4,000 patients in OC. That figure has since grown at a consistent rate, according to officials.

“The word is getting out as to what we have to offer,” Walker said.

Doubling Down

City of Hope had two of its highest producing years in philanthropy following the pandemic, according to Bertell.

Infections and high-risk factors prompted donors to “double down,” Bertell said.

“We are continuing to invest and develop a comprehensive philanthropy program for OC,” Bertell added.

“The mission of what we hope to achieve for this community is in the DNA of City of Hope and it’s something that attracts all the people who are supporting us,” Walker added.

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