LITTLE ROCK (NOVEMBER 17, 2009) – The Arkansas Children’s Hospital Foundation announced today that it received a $1 million donation from the Stella Boyle Smith Trust. The gift will support construction of the South Wing, the largest building project in the hospital’s history.
Stella Boyle Smith was a tireless volunteer and donor for Arkansas Children’s Hospital during her lifetime. In the 1930s, Smith took an active role in fundraising for the hospital. Her husband worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad and her rail travel was free, so she traveled the state asking for donations for what was then the Arkansas Children’s Home and Hospital. Stella remained a friend of the hospital until her death in 1994. The Stella Boyle Smith Trustees have continued to provide support to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in her name.
In her honor, the trustees of the Stella Boyle Smith Trust announced the $1 million gift to ACH on November 17, which would have been Smith’s 116th birthday. The gift, which will support the South Wing, was commemorated with a special announcement at the hospital. Because of Smith’s connection with the railroad and her long-standing history with the hospital, the train in the front lobby was re-named the Stella Express.
When the gift announcement was made, the birthday celebration continued throughout the hospital with several patients and staff members enjoying cake and receiving a commemorative train bank, much like the Stella Express in the ACH lobby.
According to Mike Mayton, senior trustee of the Stella Boyle Smith Trust, this gift reflects a commitment to and an investment in Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
“We have been very intentional in our decision to make the Trust’s first million dollar gift to Arkansas Children’s Hospital,” said Mayton. “This gift reflects Stella’s deep and abiding love for the hospital and a confidence from the trustees that this new facility is absolutely essential to the well-being of the children of Arkansas.”
The gift from the Stella Boyle Smith Trust will support construction of the South Wing, which will add 258,000 square feet of needed bed and clinic space to the hospital when it is completed in 2012.
“We wanted to commemorate Stella’s legacy at Arkansas Children’s Hospital,” said Dr. Jonathan Bates, president and CEO of Arkansas Children’s Hospital. “Stella will always be remembered as one of our earliest philanthropists, and this most recent gift will provide support for future generations.”
Dorsey Jackson, chair of the ACH board of directors, announced that in recognition of the gift, the atrium in the new South Wing will be named the Stella Boyle Smith Atrium.
“Stella Boyle Smith was an amazing lady who cared a great deal for the children of Arkansas. We are thrilled about this gift to support the South Wing,” Jackson said.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children from birth to age 21. The campus spans 28 city blocks and houses 316 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research - all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children's health and development. ACH recently ranked No. 85 on FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®. For more information, visit www.archildrens.org.