Keeping our promise


Promise Campaign shattered fundraising goal ahead of schedule

It was November 2013 during an especially bad flu season. Texas Children’s was full and on drive-by status day after day. Other hospitals were calling, wanting to transport their most critically ill patients. On one particularly bad day, 20 transports were denied.

That one day in 2013 was all the impetus Texas Children’s needed to embark on the largest expansion effort in the hospital’s history, ensuring that nothing like what happened that day would happen again.

Promise: The Campaign for Texas Children’s Hospital was launched the following year. The original goal was an unprecedented $475 million raised by 2020.

To call it ambitious would be an understatement. But the philanthropic community in Houston did what it has always done for Texas Children’s and surpassed all expectations: More than 183,000 donors raised $578.4 million – $103.4 million over the original goal – and two years ahead of schedule.


“Our plan for the largest expansion in Texas Children’s history was ambitious, but the response was extraordinary, far exceeding our wildest dreams,” said Texas Children’s President and Chief Executive Officer Mark A. Wallace. “From the very beginning, we had the support of generous philanthropists in the community, and that support remained constant – and is still absolutely vital to our success.”

Promises kept

The many outcomes of the Promise Campaign include:

Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower

The cutting-edge, 640,000-square-foot expansion is now Texas Children’s home for heart, intensive care and surgery, and was named for the late Lester Smith and his wife Sue in honor of their transformational $50 million gift. Before the tower opened in 2018, Texas Children’s intensive care unit was almost always at or over 100 percent capacity. Now the average is in the low 90 percent levels, providing the room to accept transfers of critically ill patients and to move Texas Children’s patients into critical care if they need it.


Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands

Just a few years ago, families from the communities north of Houston faced a trek of 30 to 50 or more miles to the Texas Medical Center for care only Texas Children’s could provide. Today, those families have access to Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands – the area’s first dedicated children’s hospital, with a pediatric emergency center, state-of-the-art operating rooms, world-class critical care services and an accredited motional analysis lab.

Support for special divisions and centers of excellence

Texas Children’s offers specialty services via divisions and centers of excellence for children from around the world who require complex care. The Promise Campaign raised funds for several of these, including the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) and Texas Children’s Trauma and Grief (TAG) Center. NRI funding has already led to remarkable advances in the research of neurological disorders, and the TAG Center has greatly increased access and changed the paradigm for best-practice care for traumatized and bereaved children, adolescents and their families in Greater Houston.

Recruitment and retention of world-class physicians and scientists

Endowed chairs are Texas Children’s most powerful tool to recruit the world’s foremost experts and keep them here. Once an endowed chair is in place, the chair holder has access to significant funds that may be used to provide support for innovative research projects or to launch new programs. Generous support from the Promise Campaign has helped Texas Children’s bring the best and brightest from across the nation and around the world, including Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Larry Hollier, the S. Baron Hardy Chair in Plastic Surgery, and Gynecologist-in-Chief Dr. Michael Belfort, the F.B. McGuyer Family Endowed Chair in Fetal Surgery.

Charity care support

When Texas Children’s opened in 1954, the founders promised that it would be a place where all children would be able to receive the very best care, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. That promise is still being kept today: More than half of Texas Children’s patients are on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan. During the Promise Campaign, Texas Children’s provided an average of $13 million in charity care each year.