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The History of the
Saint Francis Foundation

The 1900s…
  • Founders of SFMH

    Saint Francis Hospital is founded as a for-profit Hospital by five prominent San Francisco physicians: Drs. John Gallwey, Frank Ainsworth, Walter Coffey, M.O. Austin, and W. I. Terry. The original five-story, 50-bed Saint Francis Hospital opens in the Mission District in August and quickly becomes the preeminent hospital for families throughout San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties. The facility includes a Nursing School with onsite dormitories, along with the latest surgical equipment and patient amenities.

  • SFF Fire

    Just eight months after receiving its first patients, Saint Francis is rocked by the devastating San Francisco Earthquake. The Hospital building on Mission Street is destroyed by fire, with staff relocating patients by railcar to the deserted Heywood Mansion in San Mateo and then to two private homes in San Francisco as plans are made to rebuild.

  • SFF 1911

    The new Saint Francis Hospital opens at its present location at Hyde and Bush streets in the heart of San Francisco. The founders restructure as a not-for-profit and add “Memorial” to the name.

  • SFF logo

    Saint Francis Memorial Hospital is restructured as a not-for-profit organization.

  • SFF logo

    The Hospital creates an endowment fund, which eventually becomes the basis for the establishment of the Saint Francis Foundation as an independent non-profit 30 years later.

  • Newly decorated room 1953

    The Hospital builds the East Wing on Bush Street, adding facilities for an in-patient psychiatric unit and devoting space for the renowned Bothin Burn Center, today the largest dedicated burn center in Northern California serving more than 500 patients each year.

  • A new 12-story tower is added to the Bush Street footprint to meet the increasing demand for the Hospital’s surgical and rehabilitation services. The Tower houses all in-patient services and facilities.

  • Noted physicians Jean Haddad, Gerry Gary and Hugh Vincent establish the Saint Francis Foundation, converting the Hospital’s endowment fund into an independent, physician-led charitable organization. The new Foundation enlists an esteemed group of Bay Area business leaders and philanthropists to support its mission.

  • The SFMH Center for Sports Medicine is founded by world-renowned orthopedic surgeon James G. Garrick, MD. The Center is the longest-running hospital-based athletic injury treatment program in the U.S., serving anyone suffering from sports-related injuries or pain, including Olympic skaters, professional and college athletes, ballet dancers and gymnasts, and ordinary citizens.

  • Pierotti Pavilion

    The Pierotti Pavilion opens thanks to the support and generosity of long-time benefactors Roland and Alice Pierotti. The new Pavilion cements the Hospital’s standing as a high-quality patient care institution serving the entire San Francisco Bay Area, with specialty areas for urgent care, sports medicine, pulmonary medicine, oncology, radiology, and emergency and lab services.

  • The Foundation embarks on the Project 84 capital campaign, ultimately raising more than $3.5 million for Hospital renovations and improvements. The campaign results in new surgical pre- and post-operative care areas, a larger Bothin Burn Center, and the new Psychiatric Unit.

  • The Saint Francis Foundation hosts the first Hob Nob on the Hill, a mainstay of San Francisco’s holiday season founded by Foundation donor and board member Bella Farrow. The event is conceived following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake to galvanize community support for the Hospital’s patient and crisis services.

  • With San Francisco the epicenter of the global AIDS epidemic, the Saint Francis Foundation steps forward with critical funding to establish HIVCare, an integrated research and patient care approach to the crisis, founded by an interdisciplinary group of SFMH physicians and staff.

  • The Saint Francis Oncology Center opens, providing cancer care services incorporating Cyberknife technology, Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy, Advanced Imaging Simulation and Orthovoltage Radiotherapy.

  • The Foundation oversees the donation by SFMH physicians and brothers Ben and Jess Shenson of 48 original oil paintings by renowned California artist Theodore Wores. The artworks are placed on public view in the Drs. Ben and Jess Shenson Memorial Gallery in the Perrotti Lobby.

  • Rally Family Visitation Services are started at the Hospital. The Foundation provides annual funding to this innovative supervised visitation program serving more than 900 Bay Area children and their parents each year.

  • The Foundation launches the Sports Medicine Fellowship for primary care physicians.

The 2000s…
  • The Foundation provides $1.9 million for an updated a state-of-the art CT Scanner which provides faster, more efficient 3-D imaging and fluoroscopic techniques.

  • In recognition of the 100th anniversary of Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, the Foundation and Catholic Healthcare West help ensure a continuum of care outside of the Hospital setting, with support for nonprofits including Glide Health Clinic, St. Anthony’s Free Medical Clinic, Curry Senior Center and the Bay Area Woman and Children’s Center.