George Hoag Family Foundation Marks its 75th Anniversary
The story of the Hoag family parallels the histories of many of the families who made our nation great. People from modest backgrounds who worked hard, availed themselves of opportunities with courage and commitment, and provided subsequent generations with a bounty that was a direct result of their labors.
George and Grace Hoag spent 1896, their first year of marriage, working the Golden Rule General Store together in Wyoming. Their old-fashioned brand of hard work paid off when their store became part of the thriving J.C. Penney chain. George opened stores across Utah and eventually became Vice President of J.C. Penney in New York.
Mr. and Mrs. Hoag had invested in J.C. Penney with their labor and their capital. As the company became more successful, the Hoag family shared their good fortune by donating millions to scores of charities over the years.
Memorial Benefiting a Community
In 1940, the Hoags established the George Hoag Family Foundation with their son, George Grant Hoag II. Later that decade, the George Hoag Family Foundation would become one of the founding benefactors of Hoag Hospital Newport Beach.
In 1944, the Reverend Raymond Brahams and seven Presbyterian Church members set out to raise a half a million dollars to build a hospital to serve coastal Orange County. They secured a site on the bluffs in Newport Beach and, through years of committed community building, raised the needed funds to begin the project. But the timing was against them. With the building boom after World War II, construction costs skyrocketed. When project costs doubled seemingly overnight, they were stalled as they began looking for additional sources of funds.
At the same time, Grace Hoag had been looking for a way to honor her husband George who had passed away in 1948. When she heard about the hospital project, overlooking the city that George loved, she had found her memorial. In 1950, the George Hoag Family Foundation donated the needed $500,000, the equivalent of $5 million in 2015 dollars, and made it possible to begin construction.
Because of the outpouring of support from the George Hoag Family Foundation and the community, the hospital was completed in just two years. When Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian opened on September 15, 1952, there were 75 beds, 68 staff physicians and 60 employees.
The Family that Gives Together
The Hoag family continued to give generously to the hospital and serve as its champions in many ways. Mrs. Hoag provided the funding that built and furnished nurses’ quarters on the Hoag campus so that the staff could have an affordable place to live. She was a very active board member at the hospital, along with her son, George Hoag II. Mrs. Hoag played a vital role at the hospital until she died in 1970 at the age of 100.
George Grant Hoag II was a private investor and member of Hoag’s hospital board from 1950 until he stepped down as board chairman in 1986. He is remembered by employees as being at the hospital all the time. He was energetic and supportive. An optimistic person, he had a passion for helping people. He took this new enterprise, this new venture, personally.
George Hoag, his wife Patty, and the George Hoag Family Foundation, in partnership with the Hoag Hospital Foundation, were responsible for building the $23 million Patty & George Hoag Outpatient Cancer Center in 1990. In 2008, the Hoag family honored its matriarch by establishing the Grace E. Hoag Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair, Hoag Family Cancer Institute, currently held by Burton L. Eisenberg, M.D.
Through the years, the George Hoag Family Foundation has continued to significantly support Hoag in many areas in addition to Hoag Family Cancer Institute. The Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center, the new residential program at the Hoag Addiction Treatment Center, SolMar Recovery and advanced primary care through Hoag Medical Group are a few of the areas the Hoag family has impacted.
“My grandparents and parents dedicated their lives to philanthropy. Today, the Hoag Family Foundation continues its legacy, through the leadership of the Foundation’s third generation, in improving social conditions, promoting human welfare and alleviating pain and suffering,” says Melinda Hoag Smith, president and CEO, George Hoag Family Foundation. “Hoag Hospital was where my father put his heart. We know he would be very proud that what he called ‘Hoag Pride’ is as vital to Hoag today as it’s been since the beginning.”
2015 marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the George Hoag Family Foundation. The main focus of the George Hoag Family Foundation is funding non-profit organizations that support community healthcare programs, social service programs and youth programs in Los Angeles, Orange County and Central Coast areas of California.