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History of Saint Francis Foundation

The History of
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.

  • 1938 St Francis Sign

    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.

  • 1969 12 story tower

    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. Since 1979, the Saint Francis Foundation has provided more than $90 million in vital funding for programs and services that benefit Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and the communities it serves.

  • SFF Entrance

    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.

  • Mayor Newsom with Bella Farrow

    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.

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

  • SFF Lobby

    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.

  • Child smiling

    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…
  • CT Scanner

    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.

  • The Foundation provides funding to build and expand the Hospital’s acclaimed Spine Center, increasing access and outcomes for a practice model targeting chronic pain and back relief.

  • The expansion and refurbishment of the Gwendolyn Walsh Emergency Department -- made possible through a Foundation gift of $11 million -- nearly doubles capacity at the City’s second busiest emergency room serving more than 30,000 patients a year, and enables expanded expertise in heart, neurology, orthopedics, and surgery services.

  • The Foundation invests $7 million in the expansion and upgrades of the Hospital’s Radiological Suite, including the MRI, CT and Ultrasound equipment and patient services.

  • The Foundation’s $5.5 million capital campaign results in the renovation of the Hospital’s existing Surgical Operating Rooms and the construction of nine new advanced surgical suites, including monitors, EKG and diagnostic sensors for anesthesia.

  • The Foundation launches a $4.7 million capital campaign to expand and renovate the Bothin Burn Center. Catholic Healthcare West changes its name to Dignity Health as part of a system-wide governance restructuring.

  • The Saint Francis Foundation partners with the Hospital and convenes a diverse group of non-profit, private, and public agency partners to develop a multi-year strategic approach to improve health outcomes in the Tenderloin. Over the next five years, the Foundation provides essential administrative support and programmatic funding to the Tenderloin Health Improvement Partnership (TLHIP).

  • The new Bothin Burn Center opens, doubling the size of the world-renowned burn care and rehabilitation center and funding equipment to integrate outpatient treatment at the Hospital. Foundation donor Lisa Nash makes a major gift to create the Center’s Nash Family Day Room, a fully equipped relaxation area for burn unit patients and their visitors.

  • Gender Institute Sign

    The Gender Institute opens with the support of world-renowned doctors and surgeons. The Foundation has funded this groundbreaking Institute since its inception, providing grants for surgical equipment, physician and staff training and education, and community peer-to-peer navigation services. The world-class facility provides a comprehensive continuum of care to transgender patients and their families throughout the pre- and post-operative process.

  • Dignity Health merges with Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) and rebrands as CommonSpirit Health.

  • With Foundation support, the Hospital opens the first COVID-19 Critical Care Unit in San Francisco. The Foundation allocates funding to the Hospital throughout the pandemic, including providing needs-based grants to 150 employees suffering from financial hardship. In response to evolving surgical innovations, the Foundation funds the first da Vinci® XI robot for minimally invasive robotic surgeries.

  • Cynosure Cynergy Laser

    The Foundation purchases the state-of-the-art dual wavelength vascular for the Bothin Burn Center, enabling burn scar resurfacing for post-operative patients, as well as a Virtual Reality Headset – an innovative approach to mitigating pain during burn dressing changes. The Foundation allocates significant support in response to mounting behavioral and mental health challenges in the community, funding programs at Curry Senior Center, Glide, Larkin Street Youth Services, Mental Health Association of SF, LYRIC, San Francisco Community Health Center and others.

  • da Vinci Speaker

    More than $5.1 million in Foundation grants provide the Hospital with state-of-the-art medical equipment, procedures and training, including the Hospital’s second da Vinci® Robotic Surgery System, Rapid AI Stroke technology, all-new orthopedic surgical and impact drills, and advanced education for Bothin Burn Center nurses.