Rady Children's Hospital Auxiliary


A History of Innovation

The Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary has a rich and storied history. Here are a few tidbits of our achievements through the years.

1960s The Auxiliary hosted the premiere of the new San Diego stadium in 1967 alongside Jimmy Durante and musical guests Freddie Martin and his orchestra. Guests were provided behind-the-scenes tours and the event raised more than $9,000.

The Auxiliary’s 1963 Christmas card program sold more than 48,000 cards and raised more than $4,000 in profits.

1970s In 1975, the Auxiliary was first given permission to designate funds to the departments of their choice. Prior to that decision, all proceeds were reserved for free services.

1971 was known as the Million Dollar Year, or the year that the total of all Auxiliary funds surpassed the million dollar level.

1980s The Penny-a-Point campaign started in 1981 and allowed individuals to pledge money for each point scored by the San Diego Chargers that season. Thankfully for the Chargers and the Auxiliary, year end points totaled 526!

The San Diego Simon & Garfunkel concert in August of 1983 donated 40% of the profits of their closest 2,000 seats to the Hospital. The Auxiliary was indeed “feelin’ groovy” after the wonderful contribution.

The Auxiliary entered the computer age during Phyllis the1984-1985 presidential term, and the very first computer list of Auxiliary member information was soon generated.

1990s The first edition of Kid’s Newsday was published in 1990 with Jessica Esquivel as the cover model. The premiere proceeds totaled $36,000.

The Thrift House Task Force accepted the hospital’s proposal to add $500,000 to the Mabel Jessop Fund in exchange for the sale of the Thrift House property in the mid 1990s.

In 1996, an Auxiliary member worked with Tyco and a Vista branch Walmart during the Christmas season to auction off 14 Tickle-Me-Elmos for a total of $3,400. Upon hearing about Vista’s generous donation of 13 Tickle-Me-Elmos, other Walmart locations pooled their remaining stock and delivered them to the hospital on Christmas eve, providing all children with a Tickle-Me-Elmo doll of their own.

2000s During the 2004 holiday season, the Rancho Bernardo Unit sold an astounding 4,535 poinsettia plants, raising more than $20,000.

The Auxiliary contributed a $500,000 donation to the construction of the Acute Care Pavilion, which officially opened for business on October 10, 2010.

2010s  In 2010, the Auxiliary partnered with the Children’s Convalescent Home, today known as the Helen Bernardy Center. They contributed $1M in order to completely renovate the center, now rated one of the top nursing homes in the nation.

In 2015, the Auxiliary announced their largest gift to date, a $2.5M pledge to the Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine. This contribution will establish the Institute’s first endowed chair.

2019 Under the leadership of President/immediate past President Cheryl Steinholt and her committee of 12, the auxiliary fully funded the Endowment for Neuroscience at the Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine. This endowment will give $100,000 in perpetuity each year to our endowed chair.

2020s  In 2020, the Auxiliary faced its toughest challenge yet with the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic caused businesses, beaches – and the entire world – to close down for months. All fundraisers were canceled during the spring and summer. Under President Laura Stearn, the Auxiliary was able to begin meeting virtually and the North Coast Unit hosted the Auxiliary's first-ever virtual fundraiser, donating over $107,000 to the NICU.