Children’s National on Feb. 20 honored Amy and Bret Baier with the first annual Joseph E. Robert, Jr. Prize in Philanthropy, created to honor an individual or family who has given back after having a personal experience with the institution.
“Amy and Bret Baier are not only generous philanthropists, but powerful advocates who passionately leverage their communities to build more support for children,” said Dr. Kurt D. Newman, president and CEO of Children’s National. “Through their many contributions — in giving their time, sharing their passion, and leading through their philanthropy — Amy and Bret empower and inspire all of us at Children’s National.”
In accepting the award, Amy said, “As parents of a child who has had three open heart surgeries, a stomach surgery, and seven angioplasties, we are inspired by our son Paul to increase the level of care, technology, and support — not only for Paul, but for all children at Children’s National. After we got our son through his first open heart surgery, we had so much gratitude in our hearts for the doctors and nurses here, and we knew we had a mission ahead of us — we had a new purpose. We were going to be ambassadors for Children’s National better — to continue Joe Robert’s vision to make this the best hospital in the world. Joe set a very high bar, but we are trying every day to make a difference.”
Bret and Amy both talked about how honored they were to receive an award named for philanthropist Joseph E. Robert, Jr. “Joe was a doer,” Bret said. “This was a guy who just got things done. He knew how to make it happen. And philanthropy, giving back, was really on the top of his list.” After Joe was diagnosed with cancer, he said, he was more determined than ever to make a difference, especially for children. Whenever he brought people together, it was “less about looking back at a life, and more about living life, and moving forward, and getting things gone. Joe always had a list — ‘Hey guys, we’ve got to get things done.’ ”
The Baiers, along with Amy’s parents, Paul and Barbara Hills, have made generous gifts to advance the treatment of children with congenital heart disease, as well as other important hospital priorities. Their support has established the Paul Francis Baier Comprehensive Media Room, which enables medical staff to access and review diagnostic images and consult in real time with experts around the world. They have also supported the Cardiac Interventional MRI Project that transformed the treatment of children undergoing cardiac catheterization.
The Prize is named for philanthropist and business leader Joseph E. Robert, Jr., whose generosity and vision helped transform Children’s National to a medical and research system with international reach. His philanthropic support helped create the Joseph E. Robert, Jr. Center for Surgical Care, and he was instrumental in building support to establish the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. See more photos.