By Jill Cowan
4:59 PM PST, January 22, 2013
Children's Hospital of Orange County on Monday announced a $27-million donation — its largest ever from a living donor — from a Newport Beach man.
Hospital administrators said the gift was the product of a relationship with retired local businessman Bill Holmes, 84, that has developed since 2007.
The donation will help fund the construction of a new pediatric care tower named after Holmes on the hospital's main campus in Orange.
Holmes said Monday he hopes his most recent contribution to CHOC will spur other major philanthropists to give.
"They were looking for a healthy donation to start this tower up, and to get some big donors to help them out more so," he said. "What they're doing is a very good thing."
Holmes' donation came as part of a larger fundraising push, said Graig Eastin, CHOC Children's Foundation vice president.
Change CHOC, Change the World is a five-year program that aimed to raise $125 million for an endowment to help recruit top-tier pediatricians, who will help drive research initiatives in partnership with the UC Irvine School of Medicine, as well as the construction of the tower.
The initiative has garnered millions in donations — though Eastin said the total won't be announced until the program ends in June.
But, he said, "We're confident we'll exceed that $125-million goal."
The seven-story pediatric care tower will house the county's only emergency center exclusively for children, Eastin said.
That center will be named for another big-ticket local donor: the family of billionaire former ambassador George Argyros, who donated $5 million in September, Eastin said.
Set to open in spring, with a community open house scheduled for Feb. 2, the building is the hospital's first major new building since the 1990s, Eastin said.
It will also house "world-class research" and state of the art facilities for families, he said.
Holmes previously contributed $200,000 to the hospital to name a room in the new building.
"Together we helped developed a dream and he was so excited to do this," Eastin said.
"The new tower expands on what CHOC can do for the children in our community," Holmes said in a statement. "Orange County residents should take tremendous pride in having a world-class pediatric facility here."
Holmes, who ran a hot-tub and spa manufacturing company, said he contributes to about 18 charities — some local and some across the country.
Most of those, he said, help children and young people.
"They're a little too young to make it on their own," he said.
For more information on CHOC or to donate, visit choc.org/giving.