Kosair Charities mission is to protect the health and well-being of children in Kentucky and Southern Indiana by providing financial support for clinical services, research, pediatric healthcare education, and child advocacy.
1923: Kosair Charities was incorporated.
1926: Kosair Charities Committee opened Kosair Crippled Children’s Hospital under the leadership of Dr. W. Barnett Owen, the first orthopedic specialist in Kentucky who served as Chief of Staff until his death in 1947.
1934: Kosair Charities added an additional wing that housed 50 new beds.
1939: Kosair Crippled Children’s Hospital received accredited standing by American Medical Association.
1942: Under Barnett Owen’s supervision, Dr. Fisher and Dr. Leatherman performed the 1st scoliosis operation in Kentucky.
1944: Kosair Crippled Children’s Hospital introduced innovative polio treatments as the disease reaches a peak.
1950: The Iron Lung was invented.
1951: Cornerstone was laid for the $100,000 Dr. Barnett Owen Memorial Annex at the Kosair Crippled
Children’s Hospital and the House of Dreams movie was produced.
1955: National Shrine Hospital Day was observed at Kosair Crippled Children’s Hospital.
1960: Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), Olympic Gold Medalist, visited the hospital.
Kosair Charities Chair of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine established.
1973: Kosair Crippled Children’s Hospital joins with the Kentucky Commission for Handicapped Children.
1978: Announcement is made that the Kosair Crippled Children’s Hospital is considering building a downtown hospital.
1979: Board is appointed to begin exploring merger with Norton Children’s Hospital.
1981: Kosair Charities, with the Norton Healthcare System, created Kosair Children’s Hospital.
1986: Kosair Children’s Hospital opened.
1988: Kosair Charities officially launched the Gifts and Grants program.
1996: Kosair Charities Pediatric Center dedicated at the University of Louisville.
1998: Kosair Charities created Kosair Charities Pediatric Center at Home of the Innocents with $6.25 million grant.
2001: Kosair Charities awarded Jewish Hospital $2.5 million grant to build the Kosair Charities Pediatric Pavilion.
2004: Kosair Charities Pediatric Heart Research Center developed with $5 million grant.
2005: Kosair Charities moves into the remodeled, original Kosair Crippled Children’s Hospital.
2007: Kosair Charities announced 20-year $130 million agreement with Kosair Children’s Hospital.
2008: Kosair Charities granted $12 million to the U of L Pediatric Research Center.
2009: Kosair Fellow Dr. Penny Heaton develops a vaccine to save an estimated 500,000 children’s lives. Louisville Central Community receives $1 million to expand child development services, which includes Children’s Health, Education and Arts Center.
- Kosair Charities Dreams Take Flight Celebration begins by awarding $16 million in gifts and grants andannually touching the lives of over 150,000 children.
2010: Sam Swope makes $1 million gift to Kosair Charities – center is renamed Sam Swope Kosair Charities Centre.
2011: “House of Dreams” movie featuring Louisville actor Victor Mature and Kosair Kid® Donald White re-released at Dreams Take Flight.
- University of Louisville Autism Center, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Trust for Life and
- Metro Police Foundation join the Kosair Charities Campus rent-free.
2012: Kosair Charities is the largest charity in the history of the Kentucky and Southern Indiana region that provides for the care of children.
2013: 90th Anniversary Celebration Begins
Read more about our history below:
1923 – A vision to help children
At a time when poverty was commonplace and typhoid fever, polio, diphtheria and smallpox killed or disabled a promising population of children, a group of Shriners shared an ambitious vision — to prevent the ravages of these disabling diseases from the children of Kentucky.
A committee of members from Louisville’s Kosair Shrine Temple — doctors, lawyers, and community leaders — formed Kosair Charities. Their mission was to provide the highest quality health care possible for children who had nowhere else to turn.
Just three years later, the committee had tangible proof of their vision. The Kosair Crippled Children’s Hospital opened on Eastern Parkway and rapidly established itself as the region’s premier orthopedic and polio treatment facility. For decades, the hospital’s doctors, nurses and therapists helped children benefit from advances in orthopedic treatment and polio care discovered elsewhere, while helping discover new treatments.
1981 – Broadening the scope of services
After years of operating, Kosair Charities came to an agreement with the Norton Healthcare System to create Kosair Children’s Hospital, which is today ranked as one of the nation’s top pediatric hospitals. As part of the agreement, Kosair Charities committed to helping pediatric patients who were unable to pay for hospital services.
Since it no longer had the responsibility of operating a health care facility, Kosair Charities also broadened its scope of support. It began providing grants to support pediatric programs such as The Kosair Charities Pediatric Center at the University of Louisville, which houses the Child Evaluation Center and therapeutic programs such as the K.I.D.S. Center and the Spina Bifida Association of Kentucky. The organization also began to provide individual help to indigent children outside hospital environments through the Special Kids program, which arranges for medical referrals, financial assistance and transportation.
2000s – Groundbreaking commitments
In 2001, Kosair Charities announced a crucial and vital $6.2 million contribution to the Home of the Innocents’ new 20-acre children’s village. The Home of the Innocents, which was caring for medically fragile children at a severely overcrowded facility, was offered a chance to establish a long-dreamed campus. The Home of the Innocents Kosair Charities Pediatric Convalescent Center opened in June 2003.
Also in 2001, Frazier Rehab Institute of Louisville accepted a $2.5 million gift to build the new Kosair Charities Pediatric Pavilion.
In June 2004, Kosair Charities announced a $5 million gift to the Cardiovascular Innovations Institute – a partnership of the University of Louisville and Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services – to create the Kosair Charities Pediatric Heart Research Center. The pediatric center focuses on assessing and developing better heart assist devices that meet the special needs of children.
Two years later, Kosair Charities granted Brooklawn Child and Family Services $2 million to build four new campus facilities. The grant remains the largest gift received by Brooklawn in its 155-year history.
In December 2006, Kosair Charities made a 20-year commitment of $127 million to support the delivery of pediatric healthcare services to Kosair Children’s Hospital. In March 2009, Kosair Charities made an additional $8 million commitment supporting the development, operation, and expansion of Kosair Children’s Hospital, including programs, equipment, technology, or facilities.