American Family donates $10 million for new pediatric hospital

Construction of American Family Children's Hospital will begin in 2004

Madison, Wis. (March 4, 2003) - American Family Insurance today announced an extraordinary $10 million corporate contribution to construct a new world-class pediatric hospital in Madison, Wis.

To be named American Family Children's Hospital at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, the 80-bed, 135,000 square foot facility is slated for groundbreaking in late fall of 2004, with completion in early 2007.

"This gift symbolizes our strong commitment to good corporate citizenship," says Harvey Pierce, American Family chairman and chief executive officer. "Our company was founded in Madison and over the past 75 years has experienced incredible growth and success. Our philanthropic focus has long been families and children, and this gift will provide critical assistance to families and children for a very long time."

American Family Children's Hospital will be attached to UW Hospital and Clinics on the west end of the UW-Madison campus. The $55 million facility will replace the current UW Children's Hospital, which admits 2,600 newborn to teen-age patients annually from Wisconsin, the Midwest and other parts of the country.

"We are overwhelmed by the incredible generosity of this gift from American Family," said Donna Sollenberger, president and CEO of UW Hospital and Clinics. "Given American Family's corporate heritage and family-focused mission, we could not find a more fitting donor to partner with us in building not only a greatly needed pediatric healthcare facility, but a priceless community and state asset.

"Thanks to this very large naming gift from American Family," Sollenberger said, "we will be able to marry a first-class clinical facility for children to a world-class research university. On behalf of children and families throughout Wisconsin and beyond, we applaud American Family for making this day possible."

Aaron Friedman, MD, medical director of UW Children's Hospital, said the need for the new children's hospital could not be overstated.

"The quality of our physician specialists, nurses and staff is incredibly well regarded by our patients and families," he said. "Moreover, several of our pediatrics faculty members are nationally known for their clinical research, especially in the areas of childhood cancer, cystic fibrosis, juvenile diabetes, and asthma.

"At the same time," Friedman noted, "our physical facility is inadequate by today's standards. At 125 square feet, our existing pediatric inpatient rooms are simply too small. Our young patients come with families, and our inpatient rooms do not have space for a parent's bed, computers, or exercise equipment. We also need facilities for parents and families to eat, shower and simply feel more at home with their child."

Friedman said inpatient rooms in the American Family Children's Hospital would average 250 square feet. Other areas now seriously lacking in size - such as classroom space, Child Life play areas, and patient/family spaces - would be considerably expanded. Depending on fundraising efforts, the potential exists to add outpatient operating rooms, outpatient rehabilitation facilities and more.

"When we approved this contribution, we did so knowing there is nothing more noble than helping a child," said David Anderson, American Family president and chief operating officer. "We knew this hospital might never be built unless we took a leadership role with our donation. Every one of our employees and agents can feel a strong sense of pride that we are doing something that will help so many seriously ill children."

UW Medical School Dean Philip Farrell, M.D., Ph.D., also thanked American Family for its generous gift, noting that a new children's hospital will only enhance the university's ability to attract top-notch faculty.

"In addition to benefiting our young patients and families, the presence of a children's hospital of this magnitude clearly gives the university recruitment leverage for the highest caliber of faculty in pediatrics and other departments who want to conduct research in a first-class clinical facility," he said.

As approved by the UW Hospital and Clinics Authority Board, funding plans for the new hospital call for a $25 million UW Hospital and Clinics contribution to be matched by $30 million in private philanthropy - $10 million of which will come from the American Family gift. A public fundraising campaign, administered by the University of Wisconsin Foundation, will be launched later this year to raise the balance of the private funding.

The current UW Children's Hospital is a 62-bed medical and surgical center located within UW Hospital and Clinics. The hospital originated in 1920 on the UW-Madison campus as the Mary Cornelia Bradley Hospital for the Study of Children's Diseases.


Ken Muth
Media Relations Director
Tel: (608) 242-4100, ext. 30680