On Oct. 4, at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, more than 70 Las Madrinas members gathered for the annual meeting and to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the organization.
Las Madrinas was founded on Oct. 11, 1933, during the Great Depression when 65 civic-minded Southern California women recognized a need in the community to raise funds for the Convalescent Home of Children’s Hospital, now known today as CHLA. The Convalescent Home had been left bankrupt when a local bank failed. Together, this group of dedicated women came to the rescue and formed Las Madrinas, Spanish for “The Godmothers.”
To raise funds for the hospital, Las Madrinas held a Charity Ball in December 1933 that proved to be a huge success. The inaugural ball had more than 1,000 guests in attendance. As a result, the Charity Ball became an annual event to benefit CHLA. Six years later, the members of Las Madrinas decided that their Charity Ball should continue to raise money to support the hospital while honoring the daughters of families who had made significant contributions to the Southern California community.
Since 1933, Las Madrinas has significantly impacted CHLA and the greater Los Angeles community, raising more than $60 million in contributions. These contributions to Las Madrinas, made in honor of debutantes by their families and friends, support specific endowments at CHLA. Since 1980, Las Madrinas has endowed nine separate research programs at the hospital and donated the Las Madrinas Family Lounge on the hospital’s cardiovascular floor.
Today, Kathryne Halverson Garland, President of Las Madrinas, announced the newest pledge of $5 million to support the Las Madrinas Chair and Endowment in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics headed by Dr. Douglas Vanderbilt. CHLA’s Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians support the medical and psychosocial aspects of children’s and adolescents’ developmental and behavioral problems.
CHLA offers comprehensive diagnostic services and follow-up care for patients who have concerns in the areas of neurodevelopment, behavior, attention, sensory processing, feeding difficulties and social-emotional development. Vanderbilt serves as Division Chief, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics. Vanderbilt is a national leader in his field and personally specializes in high-risk infant follow-up, autism, ADHD and learning problems.
“I am proud and humbled to be your president for our 90th year, as we honor and celebrate our past and prepare for its future,” said Halverson Garland. “I am pleased to announce that the membership elected to fund the Las Madrinas Chair and Endowment in Developmental-Behaviors Pediatricians. We are honored to raise funds and awareness for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as we celebrate generations of philanthropic families who make a difference in our community.”
First published in the Oct. 26 issue of the San Marino Tribune