St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children in Bayside receives largest donation in its history

St. Mary’s group photo
St. Mary’s Healthcare System in Bayside has received a $20 million dollar donation, the largest gift in the organization’s 150-year history. Photo courtesy of St. Mary’s

A children’s hospital in Bayside, which has served the northeast Queens community for more than 150 years, has received the largest gift in the organization’s history.

St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children announced Monday a $20 million donation from Cindy S. Johnson that will help ensure the financial stability for St. Mary’s and accelerate the launch of innovative programs, including remote services delivery.

St. Mary’s provides a continuum of care to children with medically complex conditions through its in-patient hospital facility in Bayside, as well as home care services and community programs. It is the only provider of rehabilitative and long-term care for children in New York City.

“The families of St. Mary’s will never forget this incredibly generous gift from Cindy Johnson. Her support through the years has been transformative for these children as they face and overcome tremendous obstacles,” said Dr. Edwin Simpser, president and CEO of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children. “This donation will allow us to expand our innovative programs and continue to fund remote service delivery, which has truly saved lives during the pandemic.”

St. Mary’s Healthcare System in Bayside has received a $20 million dollar donation, the largest gift in the organization’s 150-year history. Photo courtesy of St. Mary’s

Johnson is the co-chair of the Board of Directors at St. Mary’s and has served as a dedicated member of the Board for more than 20 years. She and her husband, Tod, established The Cindy and Tod Johnson Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders and have supported the launch of a range of critical initiatives. Her leadership at St. Mary’s has included spearheading efforts to bring a state-of-the-art new building to the hospital’s Bayside campus and guiding St. Mary’s through key restructuring activities and a rapidly changing healthcare landscape.

“There is simply no place like St. Mary’s. For families with medically complex children, it is a safe haven and beacon of hope,” Johnson said. “I’m proud to be able to provide this support so the organization can help even more of New York’s children. This gift will give the talented professionals at St. Mary’s the freedom to design a better model of care for reaching those who need help the most.”

Remote services delivery during the peak of the pandemic allowed children to receive therapy from their homes but St. Mary’s needs resources in order to continue offering those services beyond the pandemic. Offering remote options is also key for healthcare equity because it opens doors to families who would otherwise face socioeconomic barriers to getting their children the treatment they need. More than 90 percent of the patients at St. Mary’s need a level of care that exceeds while their families can afford and what Medicaid is able to cover. Philanthropic support is vital for helping St. Mary’s change the lives of children and their families.

St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children has been the primary provider of long-term and rehabilitative care for New York’s most critically ill and injured children since the 1870s. It is one of a handful of organizations around the country that is dedicated to providing intensive rehabilitation, specialized care, and education to children with special needs and life-limiting conditions.