This article originally appeared in Scanner Magazine.
When former Hoag Hospital Foundation Board Chair Robert Brunswick and his wife Kitty founded Hoag Innovators in 2017, they could have never anticipated the impact it would have in just four years. What started as a way to collaborate with other like-minded donors in support of Hoag’s innovation strategy has become one of the fastest growing and most engaged philanthropic groups at Hoag, creating an energy that is spurring innovation across the entire Hoag enterprise.
“Hoag understands how essential innovation is not only in providing excellent care to our community but also in advancing as a health care leader on the national stage,” Brunswick shares. “When we evaluated our philanthropic commitment to Hoag, we envisioned a platform to support new ideas and the latest in health care innovation while learning and growing along the way. Seeing what Hoag has done with our collective support has been nothing short of inspiring.”
The Hoag Innovators model represents a novel approach to philanthropic giving. To join Hoag Innovators, donors make a commitment of $250,000 or more or an irrevocable estate gift of $1,000,000 or more. Funds are pooled and allocated collectively to maximize impact. Made up of entrepreneurs, investors, community leaders and philanthropists, the group meets twice a year to hear about new investment opportunities directly from the doctors themselves. The group then discusses and decides which opportunities to fund, just as they would a business investment. Truly, this is engaged philanthropy.
Since Hoag Innovators began distributing funds in 2019, they have provided seed money for 11 projects across the Hoag enterprise. From their investment in the KODEX-EPD to assist with cardiac mapping to their investment in UV-enabled robots that destroy germs and bacteria in patient care areas to their Biocartis Idylla™ platform investment aiding in genetic mutation testing, funded projects by Hoag Innovators allow Hoag to participate in the extraordinary gains in health care. Advances like these are not only augmenting Hoag’s ability to provide care that is truly on the cutting edge, they are also putting Hoag on the map as an incubator for medical innovation.
As of October, Hoag Innovators has raised more than $16.6 million from its 42 member families, and interest in joining Hoag Innovators is increasingly permeating the community. To ensure Hoag’s ability to remain a leader in health care innovation long into the future, the group has established the Hoag Innovators Endowment Fund. Hoag Innovators members Lori and Mike Gray provided a matching gift of up to $5 million to inspire additional support. Already, the endowment is valued at $10 million.
The group’s momentum extends far beyond success in attracting new members and raising additional funds. Hoag Innovators has become well-known among Hoag physicians, staff and leaders, inspiring everyone to think differently, dream big and contribute to a strong culture of innovation.