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Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Partners with Families, Community to Launch Ambassador Program

Celebrity Ambassador Matt Lillard poses with several Junior Ambassadors at the March 1 Ambassador Program launch event at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. 

Unique Philanthropy Program Empowers Individuals, Families and Children Who Want to Make a Difference in their Community and Build a Legacy of Giving

MEDIA CONTACT:  Lyndsay Hutchison at 323-361-4121
Email: lhutchison@chla.usc.edu

LOS ANGELES (March 5, 2012) – For two Southern California families who wanted to give thanks for the life-saving medical care their sons received, it’s a labor of love.  Though their hospital experiences and hometowns were six years and 80 miles apart, the Page’s from San Clemente, Calif., and the Hoffman’s of Pasadena, Calif., came together to champion a formal program designed to empower and mobilize the community in support of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. 

Launched on March 1, the Ambassador Program is a community of 1,200 members that generate awareness and give annual financial support for the very heart and soul of Children's Hospital Los Angeles. The program is a function of the hospital’s Foundation and is supported by four volunteer sub-committees comprised of other grateful patient families from across Southern California, staff and other supporters who believe in the hospital’s mission. The Program has also engaged Celebrity Ambassadors, including actor Matthew Lillard (“The Descendants”), whose wife and three children will join him in the program to raise funds and awareness together.

“My gratitude for the extraordinary care my son received—and that of many others—now has a home in the Ambassador Program,” said Christina Hoffman, Ambassador Program Co-Chair and mother to Johnny, 7, who suffered acute cerebellar ataxia two years ago and had to relearn to walk, talk and even swallow.  “We want to connect our Ambassadors to the hospital in a way that is meaningful to them.  An Ambassador can be an active participant, a financial supporter or anything in between—it’s really flexible for what’s right for you.  We honor all giving.”

“We are a family that owes everything to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles—they are our family and we wouldn’t be who we are without them,” said Ambassador Program Co-Chair Jennifer Page, whose son Max, now 7, was born with a congenital heart defect and required open heart surgery and pacemaker at just 3 months old.  “I hear people say they can’t do much, but it’s important to remember that every dollar counts, ever hour counts, every book counts, every smile counts. What we can do as a group is tremendous.”

Members’ efforts will help support critical hospital programs, fund research and education, and improve the lives of countless families and children in Southern California. Ranked eighth in the nation among children’s hospitals in the nation and first on the West Coast by US News & World Report, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles provides the highest quality pediatric healthcare to more than 97,000 children every year.  

The Ambassador Program provides members the resources and tools to go out into their communities to fundraise and generate awareness.  Those assets include personalized giving pages on the hospital website; unique volunteer opportunities; trainings; outreach and marketing programs; educational, social and recruitment events; monthly hospital tours; speaker series; leadership positions; conferences and more.  

The Program also includes a Junior Ambassadors Program for kids in the community who would like to get involved, like 14-year-old Henry Johnson, a High School quarterback who will ask family and friends for sponsorships and hopes to let his teammates know that he’s giving back to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, or 12-year-old Chloe Kudler and her sister Shayna, 16, of Westlake Village, who raised more than $3,200 last year by selling hand-made bracelets for Chloe’s Bat Mitzvah. 

“As a parent, one of the most important virtues that I can instill in my children is gratitude,” said Hoffman.  “Our children can share in the joy and the benefit of charitable giving through the Junior Ambassador Program.  Kids helping kids—the ways may be small, but the impact is tremendous.  We hope to set the gold standard for the concept of giving for generations to come.”

Hoffman’s son, Johnny, and Page’s son, Max, are already active members in the Junior Ambassador Program.  Both participated in the hospital’s 2011 5k “Walk for Kids” event and raised a combined $51,000 to help open the new state-of-the-art Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion so that other children may continue to receive the highest quality pediatric health care available on the West Coast.  Max also used his notoriety as the pint-sized Darth Vadar in the popular “The Force” Volkswagen commercial to lobby on Capitol Hill against Medicaid cuts, which heavily impact children’s hospitals. 

 “Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is a non-profit hospital that relies heavily on the support of the very community it serves to continue its mission,” said Karen Wirick, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Foundation.  “We cannot express our gratitude enough to the program chairs, committee chairs, our junior and celebrity ambassadors and other families who have made this program come to life.” 

Individuals who annually give and/or fundraise $1,000 to $24,999 in support of Children's Hospital Los Angeles are eligible for Ambassador Program membership.  Ambassadors who give $10,000 and above receive an additional membership in Children's Circle of Care, a roster of leading philanthropists from throughout North America that support the nation's top Children's Hospitals. They will also have access to the hospital’s annual Scientific Symposium, which highlights the discoveries and innovation of Children’s Hospital doctors and researchers.

To learn more about the Ambassador Program, contact Karen Wirick (kwirick@chla.usc.edu or 323-361-1711) or visit www.CHLA.org/AMBASSADORS.

About Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children’s hospital in California and among the best in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious US News & World Report Honor Roll.  Children’s Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. The hospital is also one of America's premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation since 1932 with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

For more information, visit www.CHLA.org. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn, or visit our blog: www.WeAreChildrens.org.