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Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ New Leavey Interfaith Center Gets Lead $5.5M Gift

A rendering of the exterior of the chapel of CHLA's new Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation Interfaith Center.

Posted: Friday, October 31, 2014 – 2:43 PM

 
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) has announced that Kathleen McCarthy Kostlan and The Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation have donated a gift of $5.5 million to the hospital to establish The Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation Interfaith Center. 
 
“It’s just an honor and a privilege to be able to support this really brilliant facet of Children’s Hospital,” Kostlan told The Courier. “Everybody always thinks this is just a medical area, which is most important, but patients and families need support in their spiritual and emotional lives.”
 
In addition to naming and supporting construction of the new facility, funds will also be used to establish the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation Spiritual Care Program Endowment. 
 
The gift is the largest made in support of the Spiritual Care Services program in CHLA history and represents a leadership gift toward the program’s $10 million fundraising goal.
 
Construction on the new, 2,400-square-foot indoor and outdoor Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation Interfaith Center will begin in February 2015 with completion and move-in expected next fall. 
 
The Leavey Interfaith Center will be centrally located on the south side of the Joyce and Stanley Black Family Building, easily accessible from the Burtie Green Bettingen Surgery Center, the outpatient tower and other inpatient facilities. 
 
The new center will replace the existing small interfaith chapel, which is considered inadequate to address the needs of patients, families and staff. The planned indoor prayer and meditation space is seven times larger than the hospital’s current chapel.
 
“Often, spiritual care is an afterthought to health care. But in fact, the two go hand-in-hand in helping people heal,” said Kostlan, who has been a member of the CHLA Board of Trustees since 2012, a First Families Legacy member and a member of the hospital’s Advancement committee.
 
The new Leavey Interfaith Center will also include: a spacious interfaith sanctuary for ceremonies and group activities; a semi-private Our Lady of Guadalupe devotional, with a statue and kneeler; four semi-private meditation and prayer spaces to serve all faiths, including but not limited to: Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim and Hindu; and a 1,500-square-foot shaded outdoor Reflection Garden with soothing water features, symbolic art and landscaping.
 
“The new Leavey Interfaith Center will allow our Spiritual Care team to provide even greater support for patients, families and staff and meet the needs of persons from diverse spiritual and religious traditions,” says Rev. Dagmar Grefe, PhD, manager of Spiritual Care Services and Clinical Pastoral Education. “When the Leavey Interfaith Center opens next fall, it will mean that when a retreat from the hospital room is needed, patients and family can connect with their faith in the tranquil meditation rooms and the Reflection Garden.”
 
“The new Center will embody CHLA’s commitment to family-centered care,” says Mary Dee Hacker, VP/CHLA chief nursing officer.   The Spiritual Care team conducts bedside visits with patients and families in their time of need, no matter the hour. CHLA’s Spiritual Care Services Program provides around-the-clock care seven days a week for pastoral requests including baptisms, communion, confession and blessings.
 
In addition to serving patient and family needs, the Spiritual Care team provides guidance and support to hospital staff, and educates them about religious traditions that may impact a child’s medical care.
 
Kostlan, a 1957 USC alumna, is chair of The Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation and has been a dedicated supporter of CHLA for more than three decades. Kostlan is a member of Las Madrinas, one of the hospital’s longstanding Associate & Affiliate fundraising groups.
 
Kostlan’s passion for philanthropy was cultivated by her parents, Farmer’s Insurance co-founder Thomas Leavey and his wife, Dorothy Risley Leavey. The couple’s commitment to helping those in need inspired them to establish The Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation in 1952.
 
This gift is only the most recent contribution from Kostlan and her charitable foundation. In 2013, The Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit at CHLA received the national gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Over the past 60 years, the Leavey Foundation has contributed more than $200 million to medical institutions, faith causes, schools and universities, primarily in the L.A.- area.

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