The 2010 Philanthropic 50: Health

Some of Washington’s most generous philanthropists make health their priority.

Bret and Amy Baier

Bret and

Bret and Amy Baier

The FOX 5 “Special Report” anchor and his wife along with her parents Paul and Barbara Hills, donated $1 million to Children’s National Medical Center where the Baier’s son Paul underwent several open heart surgeries and angioplasties. The donation led to the opening of the Paul Francis Baier Comprehensive Media Room which allows critical care staff to have access and review diagnostic images and tests in one place.

Steve and

Longtime supporters of the Children’s National Medical Center, the couple made philanthropic headlines in 2008 when their giving to the Center surpassed $50 million. Longtime supporters of children’s and health causes, they also give generously to the Children’s Law Center, The American Red Cross, Washington AIDS Partnership, B’Nai Israel, and the Wiezmann Institute of Science.

Bob and

When his sister Joan lost her battle with cancer, vowed to keep her memory alive by working to assist those living with cancer. Through the $700,000 raised by the Joan Hisaoka Gala in both 2008 and 2009, they have worked to support the Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts, which provides retreats, workshops, and a healing arts gallery for those fighting cancer.

Sheila Johnson

A global ambassador for CARE, Johnson has dedicated both time and dollars to the fight against HIV/AIDS. This year, she produced “The Other City,” a documentary about the AIDS epidemic in Washington, D.C. She has said that the fight against HIV gripped her in part because it is disproportionately affecting women. A seven figure donor to both the New School, UVA, and CARE, Johnson’s “I am Powerful” challenge for care raised $4 million as a matching gift to the $4 million she donated in 2007.

Serving as director of Comstock Homebuilding Companies Inc. since 2004 and President and CEO of Sunburst Hospitality Corporation since 2000, MacCutheon, who resides in Virginia, has amassed a small fortune which he has been quietly giving away to health causes.  He sits on the board of the Children’s Hospital Foundation, and last year made a seven-figure donation to Children’s National Medical Center. His family’s foundation, The MacCutcheon Family Foundation, sponsored this year’s Leukemia Ball.

Often recognized as a “CEO you need to know,” a former patient of the NIH Heart Center at Suburban Hospital and Chairman of Miller & Long Concrete Construction in Bethesda, in March 2009, McMahan donated $2 million to the Suburban Hospital Foundation. McMahan made it public that his financial contribution was in recognition of the doctors and staff who saved his life during a heart attack and cardiac bypass surgery.

Connie Milstein

Milstein, principal and co-founder of Ogden CAP Properties, LLC, recently directed the reconstruction of the historic Jefferson Hotel. Philanthropically, Milstein has long been a supporter of medical research and serves on the board of CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy), a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for epilepsy, is a supporter of the American Heart Association, and founded and is on the board of Medical Missions for Children. A seven figure donor to her alma mater, NYU, Milstein is also an advocate of military service and is a board member of Blue Star Families. Locally, she supports the National Symphony Orchestra and Refugees International.

Irene, along with her late husband Abe, have helped shape the face of our city with the surge in neighborhood development that the Verizon Center sparked. But they were also lifelong philanthropists, particularly to health causes, and with Abe’s passing, Irene is continuing to carry the torch. She established the annual Pollin Prize for Pediatric Research in 2002 and founded Sister to Sister, the women’s heart health foundation. She is a member of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Round Table, the DHHS Office on Women’s Health’s Heart Attack Campaign Expert Panel, and Howard University’s Women’s Health Institute Advisory Committee.

Currently fighting his own battle with cancer, Roberts has long supported causes that benefit children’s health care and education. His organization Fight for Children has raised more than $105 million to support more than 150 youth-oriented organizations in the area. In a cause close to his heart, Roberts was chairman of the $300-million Comprehensive Campaign at Children’s National Medical Center which led to the Joseph E. Robert Jr. Center for Surgical Care at the center. To help see it through, he gave a personal gift of $25 million and was a driving force in the $150 million gift from the government of Abu Dhabi to create the Sheikh Zayed Insitute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. Recently, Robert said au revoir to his locks and raised $100,000 for the first Be Brave & Shave event benefiting the cancer programs at Children’s.

Jeanne Ruesch

Well known for her arts philanthropy particularly with the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Ruesh also gives generously to the field of medicine. Most recently she gave a $6.75 million gift in memory of her husband Otto, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2004. The Otto J. Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers will fund gastrointestinal cancer research, drug discovery and patient advocacy efforts at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Ruesch also supports the National Rehabilitation Hospital and Sibley Hospital.

Tom and

The Sullivan’s personal experience with breast cancer was the inspiration behind Sibley’s first Celebration of Hope & Progress gala, now in its tenth year. The evolving groundswell of support for the hospital’s cancer programs and services has had an impact upon thousands of Washington area patients and their loved ones. In addition to their gifts of time, the Sullivans (who also serves as a member of Sibley’s board of trustees) directed their generosity to the establishment of Sibley’s Sullivan Center for Breast Health, which has emerged as a national model in providing expert care.

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