Scripps Mercy Hospital Receives Largest Gift in its History

(SAN DIEGO, CA) – Conrad T. Prebys, noted San Diego developer, has made a gift of $10 million to support Scripps Mercy Hospital’s emergency department and trauma services. This life-saving, transformational gift is the largest donation to the not-for-profit hospital in its 116-year history. Scripps Mercy is the longest established hospital in San Diego and operates one of the busiest emergency departments and trauma centers in the county with more than 50,000 ER patients and 2,200 trauma patients treated in 2005.

In recognition of Mr. Prebys’ $10 million gift, a new critical care facility will be named the Conrad Prebys Pavilion for Emergency and Trauma Services.

“Today is a historic day as we accept the largest gift in the 116-year history of the hospital,” said Scripps President and CEO Chris Van Gorder. “It is through the generosity of donors like Conrad T. Prebys that Scripps can grow our mission to expand our services and update our facilities to meet the growing health care needs of the communities we serve.”

Mr. Prebys is president of Progress Construction and Management Company, a real estate and development company that he founded in 1966. During his career, he has built a number of award- winning, gated residential communities sold to first-time homebuyers. Currently, he owns and manages close to 6,000 apartments, condominiums and houses, as well as several storage facilities in San Diego County.

A native of South Bend, Indiana, Mr. Prebys was raised in a working-class neighborhood where most of the residents graduated high school and then went on to work in local factories. An inspirational teacher encouraged him to further his education, and he was the first of five brothers to attend and graduate from Indiana University. He operated a pizzeria near the University of Notre Dame for several years before moving to San Diego and getting into the real estate business. He tells friends that he had less than $500 and the clothes on his back when he moved here.

Now a resident of Point Loma, Mr. Prebys has supported his community by making generous gifts to organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of East County, the San Diego Opera and the Old Globe. His $10 million gift to Scripps Mercy Hospital will be critical in enhancing and expanding emergency and trauma services at the hospital.
“Scripps Mercy Hospital is vital to our community,” said Mr. Prebys. “The hospital provides emergency and trauma care to a growing number of people in the county’s central and southern regions. It feels good for me to be able to give back in such a meaningful way to a community that has been so good to me. I really get a kick out of it.”

Because of its central location and high quality, comprehensive health care services, Scripps Mercy Hospital plays a pivotal role in assuring the health and well-being of residents who live and work in central and southern San Diego County – a primary service area of nearly 1 million people.

Currently, the emergency department includes 24 beds (including two beds for trauma care) and is operating beyond full capacity. Mr. Prebys’ leadership gift will help to nearly double the size of the hospital’s emergency department and trauma center over the next decade.

“Philanthropy is critical to the future of Scripps Mercy Hospital and Scripps Health,” said John Engle, chief development officer, Scripps Health Foundation. “We are grateful to Mr. Prebys for giving this leadership gift, which will help ensure that Scripps Mercy continues to meet the community’s growing health care needs.”

“This exceedingly generous gift from Conrad Prebys will allow us to further our mission of caring for the community,” said Judy Churchill, Ph.D., chair, Mercy Hospital Foundation Board of Directors. “Scripps Mercy Hospital was founded in 1890 by the Sisters of Mercy, and through the years, thousands of patients and community members have formed a unique bond with our hospital. We hope Mr. Prebys’ philanthropic spirit will continue to inspire others to support our efforts.”

Scripps Mercy Hospital serves the San Diego and Chula Vista communities. With 700 licensed beds, more than 3,000 employees and 1,300 physicians, Scripps Mercy Hospital is San Diego’s longest established and only Catholic hospital. With two campuses, Scripps Mercy Hospital is the largest hospital in San Diego County and one of the 10 largest in California.