The philanthropic drive to help pay for a multi-story expansion of the state’s only children’s hospital not only met but surpassed its $100 million goal. The celebration of the end of the historic philanthropic drive doesn’t signal an end to improvements at Children’s of Mississippi.
“Making sure our patients and their families have the best care involves updates to other areas of Children’s of Mississippi,” said Children’s of Mississippi CEO, Dr. Guy Giesecke. “We’re celebrating the completion of the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi but continuing to identify areas for improvement.”
Future opportunities include renovations for the Blair E. Batson Tower and the Children’s of Mississippi Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, an adolescent psychiatric suite, and funds for physician recruitment, endowed chairs and endowed professorships.
On June 7, 2022, a $2.5 million gift from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation to the campaign was announced, bringing its total to $101.5 million.
The Gertrude C. Ford Foundation has long been a supporter of the University of Mississippi, where the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation Center for the Arts and Gertrude C. Ford Student Union are beloved spots on the Oxford campus. At the Medical Center, the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation has been a steadfast supporter of numerous programs and projects including the MIND Center research clinic that bears its name.
The Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi was launched in 2016 by Sanderson Farms board chairman and CEO Joe Sanderson and his wife, Kathy, with a $10 million personal donation, and has set a record for capital campaign fundraising at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The funds raised allowed for the construction of a state-of-the-art facility that doubled the square footage devoted to pediatric care at the Medical Center.
“This has been the dream of so many people for so long,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor
for health affairs at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and dean of the School of Medicine. “The Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi had an audacious goal – $100 million – but when Kathy and Joe Sanderson took the lead, I had no doubt the goal would be reached. We are in this incredible new children’s hospital tower because of the love for childr
en and families that the Sandersons share with Mississippians from all walks of life.”
The Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower is a complement to the Blair E. Batson Tower, named after the first pediatrics chair at UMMC. The Sanderson Tower includes two neonatal intensive care floors, a floor dedicated to pediatric intensive care, and a pediatric imaging center. The Children’s Heart Center also calls the Sanderson Tower home.
Inside the Sanderson Tower, a dozen surgical suites accommodate procedures from rare to routine. Two floors of outpatient clinics make follow-up care more convenient, and the Sanderson Tower has a dedicated parking garage and covered walkway next door. This walkway and pavilion are named for the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation in recognition of its generosity.