Jim and Viki Coufos Give Back to Hoag in More Ways than One
On their first date, Jim and Viki Coufos went to a Dodgers game. It seemed appropriate: Jim was born in Brooklyn, NY, former home of the Dodgers, and Viki grew up in Los Angeles where the team currently resides.
After marrying in 1995 Jim and Viki adopted a baby, Christian, who is now 11 and the joy of their lives. They turned their attention to helping others in hopes of giving back and making the world a better place, something they’re instilling in their young son. And, they’ve become generous and faithful supporters of Hoag, a relationship they believe will continue for years to come.
The two, who moved to Newport Beach in 1999, discovered the hospital somewhat by accident. Christian broke his arm in 2002 and received excellent treatment in the Emergency Department. Later, Viki’s mother experienced a life-threatening bout with pneumonia.
“She was critically ill, and everyone at Hoag was amazing,” Viki said. “If it wasn’t for the fast action and wonderful care of Hoag’s doctors and nurses, she wouldn’t be here today.”
Along the way, the Coufos’ neighbor, Hoag Foundation board member Kenneth L. Beall, urged them to get involved. With their mutual appreciation for nurses, the Choose Nursing, Choose Hoag initiative was a natural place to start. Jim currently chairs the Choose Nursing, Choose Hoag Committee, which Viki hopes to join, and is also vice chair of the Foundation Board of Directors.
“I’ve heard lots of stories about what a great hospital Hoag is,” Jim said. “Hoag is special and one of the things we’ve always noticed is that the nurses are uniformly terrific.”
Choose Nursing, Choose Hoag
The Choose Nursing, Choose Hoag task force is charged with raising awareness in the community that nursing education is vital to solving the continuing nursing shortage. Members are dedicated to funding professorships at nursing schools and helping Hoag retain and develop top nurses through scholarships for career advancement.
As committee chair, Jim’s vision is straightforward: to continue the great job that his neighbor and predecessor, Ken Beall, did after founding the task force.
“In particular, raising money for education and community projects is an important priority,” he said. “I want to continue driving the committee forward and elevating the awareness of nursing in hopes of improving the overall level of nursing within the community.”
His work with the Foundation board also is important to him. “More than just a board in name, it’s a group of community leaders that is well prepared, forward thinking and really cares,” he said. “Its mission is to raise funds for Hoag so that the hospital can continue moving forward with its many great programs. It does that very, very well.”
Reaching into the Community
The other entities that Jim and Viki give their time, energy and resources to support include KOCE public television in Huntington Beach, whose board Jim sits on; the Gladney Center for Adoption in Ft. Worth, TX, which facilitated Christian’s adoption and allows the couple to encourage expectant or adoptive mothers; Anna’s Linens, whose corporate board Jim is a member of; and Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, where Jim also is a board member. Additionally, Jim recently commissioned a glass mosaic of Viki, with the artist’s proceeds supporting nursing at Hoag.
The couple’s aim, simply, is to support progressive organizations that do good work. Hoag is one. “Hoag has a terrific vision, something that’s important in good times and in bad,” Jim said. “The hospital has been ahead of the curve in looking for ways to operate both efficiently and in advance of the changes that are coming in health care, but it does so while remaining a leading-edge facility with the newest technology.”
Giving in Difficult Times
Why give during a time in history when many people are reducing their spending? “There’s probably more reason to give now as others are cutting back,” Jim said, matter-of-factly.
In fact, the couple also have established the James & Viki Coufos Foundation, which supports various other projects that the two believe are important. Their hope is that Christian will someday continue their work with the family foundation.
“Our wish is to give back to society,” Jim said. “I’ve been very, very fortunate. I didn’t grow up with much, I’ve had reasonable success, and Viki and I have made a decision to give back.”