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Hoag Hospital Receives Record $106M Donation

Burnand funds could fuel expansion

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian has received the largest gift in its nearly 70-year history, a $106 million donation from the estate of Audrey Steele Burnand.

Hoag officials tell the Business Journal that the gift—one of the largest philanthropic gifts in the history of Orange County—will be used to significantly expand the Newport Beach-based hospital’s healthcare research and treatment services, and also boost its footprint locally, specifically in underserved South Orange County communities.

“Simply put, we’re driven to achieve the highest level of medical standards and outcomes for our patients, and this gift will help us achieve that goal,” said Robert Braithwaite, president and chief executive of Hoag.

“We’re inspired by the support we continue to receive from the community as we help to not only offer the latest advancements in care but to discover them.”

Hoag, with a 443-bed hospital in its hometown and a 154-bed hospital in Irvine, ended its affiliation with Renton, Wash.-based healthcare Providence in January, after a decade-long partnership.

Family Legacy

Audrey Steele Burnand, who died in 2020 at age 98, is the daughter of transportation and manufacturing mogul Harry Steele.

Harry Steele founded U.S. Electric Motors, which later merged to Emerson Electric Co. His wife, Grace, started the Newport Beach-based Steele Foundation in the 1950s following Harry’s death.

The family’s history of giving to Hoag dates to the 1960s, with early contributions directed to cancer and cardiology research and treatment.

They had five children, including Richard and Audrey who carried on their philanthropic legacy.

The just-announced donation brings the family’s total donations to Hoag to more than $134 million, officials said.

“The Steele family’s decades of generosity, continued by the Audrey Steele Burnand estate, have benefited the Orange County community in immeasurable ways,” said Flynn Andrizzi, president of the Hoag Hospital Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the hospital.

“Through this remarkable gift, they once again have demonstrated their compassion for everyone who needs outstanding medical care.”

Largest Gift

Andrizzi described Burnand as a “humble and quiet woman, though she always made clear how much she appreciated the care Hoag gave to her over the years.”

Still, “we had no idea of the magnitude of this gift.”

Bernand’s estate is made up of several trusts and assets, including her Newport Beach home.

Her donation to Hoag is said to be the largest from the estate, which also included donations to numerous local organizations.

Burnand’s gift to Hoag is unrestricted, leaving the floor open for investment opportunities.

UCI, Mental Health

The Burnand estate has been a headline-maker this year.

In February, the estate gifted $57.8 million to the University of California, Irvine.

More than $55 million of the gift was earmarked for advancing depression research at UCI, including a new campus center. It’s believed to be the largest philanthropic donation to a U.S. university to support research focused solely on depression, the school said at the time that donation was made public.

Her legacy “will enable us to create a world-class research center that builds upon UCI’s historical excellence in the neurosciences to make life better for millions of people,” UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman said in a February statement.

Burnand’s estate is also said to have provided funds for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Sun Family Gift

It’s been a banner year for larger fundraising deals at Hoag this year.

Among other notable gifts, in March, it received a $50 million from the Sun Family Foundation, with money directed toward Hoag’s ongoing expansion, particularly the expansion of its Irvine campus.

David Sun is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Fountain Valley’s Kingston Technology, one of OC’s largest tech firms. He and his wife, Diana Sun, are Irvine residents.

For more on local philanthropy, see this week’s stand-alone OC Philanthropy special report, part of this week’s print edition.

Hospitals in Overdrive

Orange County is seeing a surge in hospital expansion.

Last month saw the opening of the City of Hope Orange County’s Lennar Foundation Cancer Center. The 190,000-square foot center was funded in part through a $50 million gift from the giving arm of the Miami-based homebuilder (NYSE: LEN), which has substantial operations in the area.

UCI is also moving well ahead on a new hospital campus of its own along Jamboree Road. The total cost of UCI Medical Center is estimated at $1.3 billion, and has other projects in the works (see story, page 3).

“There is a significant need in the community for high-quality healthcare, and you’re seeing that happen with the new facilities built throughout the region,” Andrizzi said. “Healthcare services are becoming more specialized.”

Hoag this year opened a new urgent care facility in Monarch Beach—“there weren’t any healthcare options there before”—and is looking to ramp up its footprint in other South OC cities in need of health services, he said.

“Less than a decade ago, Hoag didn’t have any urgent care facilities,” Andrizzi said. “Now we have 15, and we are building even more. These funds will allow more people to receive the extraordinary healthcare services that Hoag provides. One hundred million dollars goes a long way to make that happen.”

Irvine Expansion

Hoag is currently expanding its Irvine campus, which opened in 2010.

It acquired Irvine hospital facility and adjacent land parcels last year for $226 million; the first phase of the expansion, expected to cost $653 million, will feature inpatient and outpatient centers for cancer, digestive and women’s services.

The nonprofit health network, with its main campus in Newport Beach, says it has committed more than $1.3 billion to its Irvine campus over the last decade.
Hoag’s growth has long been a result of benefactors.

In fact, the organization got its start in 1952 after Reverend Raymond Brahams and Presbyterian Church members raised half a million dollars to build its first hospital in Newport Beach.

“Philanthropy is what allowed us to build a hospital here in the first place,” Andrizzi said.

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