Harriet Bossenbroek

Pursuing Her Passion

After an 18-year career as a probation officer, Harriet Bossenbroek's passion became clear: She wanted to invest her time, talent and resources in helping children in all aspects of life, from their education to their medical care. By all accounts, she has done this – and so much more.

Since her son was a toddler, Harriet has been actively involved in children's causes, including her decade-long involvement with Rady Children's.

The very definition of a dynamo, Harriet can often be found at one of Rady Children's 23 auxiliary meetings or events.  She is currently serving a two-year term as president of Rady Children's Auxiliary Board of Directors, and she thrives in the role.

The Auxiliary has an active board of directors and more than 1,250 auxiliary members. They are united around a common goal: a belief that all children deserve the best medical care, regardless of a family's ability to pay for it.

"We enjoy working together as Rady Children's champions in the community," Harriet says. "We advocate for the overall health and wellness of San Diego's children and support the Hospital's fundraising efforts. Right now we're raising money for our Diamond Anniversary Fund."

The Diamond Anniversary Fund (DAF) is a special endowment created to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Rady Children's Auxiliary. As an endowment, donations to the DAF are retained as principal so only the income is spent each year, ensuring funding will be available for generations to come.

The Auxiliary board chose Rady Children's Child Life Services as the beneficiary of the fund because of the wonderful work they do in supporting patients and their families. Child life specialists help children and their families understand and cope with the hospital experience.

"Whether they're teaching patients coping techniques such as relaxation and breathing or psychologically preparing a family about their child's upcoming surgery or procedure, their help is vital. And without the generosity of donors, these services—which are very important for our families—wouldn't exist," Harriet says.

Harriet feels so strongly about the value provided by child life specialists that she made a legacy gift to the DAF, in the form of a bequest in her estate plan, to support the program's longevity. More than $475,000 has been raised for the fund to date.

For Harriet, making a personal investment was a way to show her gratitude for having a healthy son and her empathy for families who are not as lucky.

"You can't help but be affected by what you see at Rady Children's. They provide an incredible service at a time when children are most vulnerable," Harriet says. "I've had the opportunity to see the tangible impact philanthropy makes at Rady Children's. And it's a pleasure to support a cause I believe in."