The lobby of Phoenix Children’s main tower has always been a special place to Ginger Brandt—the red chairs, the bear sculptures, the natural light filtering into the bright open space.
“It’s a place for families to sit when they just need a break. Doctors, nurses and staff often gather for meetings, too, because it’s such a comforting gathering place,” she says. “To me, there is something about that lobby that is so meaningful.”
Today, Ginger and her husband, Don, have their names on the lobby wall in celebration of their giving to the hospital. The couple hopes to see their gift not only serve Phoenix Children’s but also inspire others to give.
A history of giving
The Brandts, both St. Louis natives, moved to Phoenix more than 20 years ago. Don, who became the CEO of Arizona Public Service (APS) in 2009, had been chairman of the board at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital Foundation, a facility that had saved his son’s life, and Ginger worked in children’s health care and fundraising.
Once settled in their new city, the Brandts learned about Phoenix Children’s through Nancy Loftin, a board member at Phoenix Children’s who worked with Don as the general counsel at APS. They believed in Phoenix Children’s and its strategic direction.
- “Simply put, every kid deserves a healthy start.”Don BrandtDonor
“By almost any definition, Phoenix Children’s is an elite children’s hospital,” says Don, who retired in 2019. “It boils down to this: A child doesn’t have any choices, particularly when it comes to medical conditions. Simply put, every kid deserves a healthy start.”
Ginger wanted to help more and joined the Phoenix Children’s Foundation staff as a gift officer in 2016.
“I believe it is the crown jewel of Arizona for supporting kids and families,” Ginger adds. “We hope families never have to go to Phoenix Children’s, but the reality is that everyone will likely be touched by it in one way or another.”
Its focus on family-centered care sets Phoenix Children’s apart, according to Ginger. “We have a health library, a play zone, a chapel, a school, all of these family-centered care programs that complement the lifesaving work we’re doing,” she explains. “It’s about taking care of things that take a little bit of the stress off of the family—and most of those programs are funded through philanthropy.”
A meaningful gift
While the Brandts had a history of giving to the hospital—including a significant gift to support the EMS Workroom in the expanded Level I Trauma Center—Ginger continued to think about the lobby. It was a special place that truly spoke to them.
Meanwhile, Ginger and Don had been having estate planning conversations. What would their legacy be?
“Some good friends told us it’s a lot more fun to contribute to something while you’re alive,” says Don, who currently serves on the Center for Heart Care’s advisory board. “I thought about that.”
Unbeknownst to Ginger, Don worked behind the scenes on a plan that came together just before her birthday in February 2022, allowing him to surprise her with a special gift: a rendering of the lobby that means so much to her with their names on it.
“We hope our support inspires others to find something they treasure at Phoenix Children’s,” Ginger says. “Maybe it’s a physical space, a program or a Center of Excellence. But once you find your passion, join us in investing in the future of Arizona’s children.”
Setting an example
The Brandts’ gift will go where the hospital needs it most. Beyond its impact on Phoenix Children’s families, they hope it sets an example.
“Very few people are aware of the finances behind a pediatric institution, what it takes to run a hospital like this, how important it is to the community and the state and this corner of our nation,” Don says. “I can’t think of a better cause.”
Ginger sees giving to Phoenix Children’s as a way to give beyond the now. “Transformational gifts are essential. And when you give to Phoenix Children’s, you’re investing in our children and in the future of Arizona,” she says. “We have faith in this organization and believe in its value for families across Arizona and the entire Southwestern United States. To me, that is what this gift signifies.”