(SAN DIEGO, CA) – Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas has received a multi-million dollar gift from long-time friend and supporter Toni Leichtag. The gift of her Fairbanks Ranch property, valued at $3.8 million, is the single largest philanthropic donation in the non-profit hospital’s 44-year history. Scripps Encinitas is a vital resource to the growing North County coastal community, with more than 70,000 patient visits and 32,000 emergency department visits in 2007.
“Toni Leichtag and her late husband, Lee, have been generous supporters of Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and the lifesaving care provided by our physicians and staff,” says Scripps President and CEO Chris Van Gorder. “There is a special bond between the Leichtags and Scripps Encinitas. This recent gift not only helps us expand our services and update our facilities, it furthers the family’s legacy of transforming health care for North County residents for years to come.”
The largest expansion effort in several decades is underway at Scripps Encinitas to meet the health care needs of the growing North County communities it serves. The project will include a two-story, 60,000-square-foot critical care building that will include a new 27-station emergency department (ED), doubling the capacity of the ED to allow for new, state-of-the-art technology and services. A second floor will house 36 acute care beds to increase inpatient capacity. An additional medical office building, acute care building and parking structure will also be part of the campus build out over the next decade.
“Toni and Lee have always had a great deal of affection for Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, its physicians and staff,” says Jim Farley, president and CEO of the Leichtag Family Foundation. “Toni values the care provided by Scripps Encinitas and wants to ensure that her friends and neighbors have access to the highest quality health care now and in the future. She is so pleased to support her community hospital.”
The donation of real estate is one of many ways the Leichtags have supported the hospital that has cared for them for several decades. Lee, who passed away in November 2007, and Toni made their first donation to the hospital in 1982. Since then, they have made gifts to the emergency department, neonatal intensive care unit and the Leichtag Women’s Health and Birth Pavilion, which was dedicated in their honor in 1993. Toni has also served on the Scripps Encinitas Community Advisory Board for more than 25 years.
In addition, Toni is founding member of Circle of Life 100, a women’s service organization that promotes advocacy, health education and philanthropy in support of Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas. Part of the gift will be a $500,000 challenge grant to encourage others to support the group’s upcoming fashion show and luncheon on Aug. 5, 2008, which will help fund new digital mammography equipment.
“Philanthropy is critical to the future of Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas,” says Anamaria Repetti, senior director of development, Scripps Health Foundation. “We are grateful to Toni for her leadership gift, and hope her generosity will inspire others in the community to support our expansion effort.”