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Orange County

Hoag Gets Large Gift

Newport Beach hospital will receive $20 million from bond fund chief Bill Gross and his wife.

January 08, 2005|Jeff Gottlieb | Times Staff Writer

Bond fund manager Bill Gross and his wife, Sue, have donated $20 million to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, the largest gift in the Newport Beach hospital's history.

Hoag officials say they think it is the biggest donation ever to an Orange County hospital and one of the largest to a Southern California hospital not connected to a university.

The money will go toward construction of a seven-story tower that will bear their names and focus on women's health.

The gift provides $10 million for construction, $4 million for digital mammography equipment and $6 million to endow the women's wellness center.

The tower, under construction for three years, will be known as the Sue and Bill Gross Women's Pavilion. It is expected to open in October.

"This represents the commitment of a new generation of leaders and philanthropists who recognize the importance of Hoag hospital to the community," said Michael Stephens, hospital president and CEO.

The building, equipment and furniture are expected to cost about $200 million. The hospital has raised $72 million, exceeding its goal by $22 million. The remainder will come from the hospital's reserves and bonds.

Gross, founder and chief investment officer of Pimco, said he and his wife "are at that point in our lives where we're beginning to give back as opposed to earning and spending."

Gross, 60 and one of the world's best-known money managers, said he has been treated at Hoag's emergency room for kidney stones and other ailments and his wife has had several operations there.

More than a decade ago, the Grosses established the James Hines Foundation to split $100,000 annually among the winners of the Orange County Teacher of the Year awards. The foundation is named after Sue Gross' Shakespearean literature professor at Saddleback Col- lege.

They gave $3 million to the private Sage Hill high school in Newport Beach, most of it earmarked for scholarships for disadvantaged youths. They have also contributed to a hospital that is being built in Congo by professional basketball player Dikembe Mutombo.

Sue Gross, 53, is chairwoman of the Gross Family Foundation.

Bill Gross, a one-time professional blackjack player, helped found Pacific Investment Management in 1971. He earned $26 million when the company was sold to German-based Allianz in 1999. He signed a $40-million annual contract to head the company for five years, making him one of the world's highest paid investment managers.

The women's pavilion will include the wellness center on the first floor, three operating rooms for caesarean sections, a neonatal intensive care unit and six operating rooms.

UC Irvine Medical Center is in the midst of a campaign to raise $50 million toward the construction of a new, $365-million hospital in Orange.

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