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DALLAS – Children’s Health℠, the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas, announced today that Brent E. Christopher will become the new president of Children’s Medical Center Foundation, the fundraising arm of the health system, following the upcoming retirement of its current president, Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D. Christopher returns to Children’s Medical Center Foundation where he previously served as director of development from 2002 to 2005.
“We are delighted to welcome Brent Christopher back to Children’s Health,” said Christopher J. Durovich, president and chief executive officer of Children's Health. “We recognize the great acumen and leadership he brought to his role with Communities Foundation of Texas, and we look forward to his leadership within our organization.”
Since August 2005, Christopher served as president and chief executive officer of Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT), one of the leading community foundations in the country. During his 11-year tenure, Christopher was recognized as a transformative leader and guided CFT through a period of unprecedented growth in its impact for good in the lives of people across North Texas.
Under Christopher’s leadership, CFT substantially increased its scale and effectiveness with assets growing from $647 million to a record-high $1.1 billion, making it one of the largest of nearly 800 such foundations across the country.
“We are grateful for Brent’s leadership, dedication and vision and what he has done to boost the power of philanthropy in our region through his tenure at CFT,” said Frank Risch, CFT board chair.
CFT’s board has named trustee James E. Bass to chair its search committee that will identify a new president and CEO.
In 2009, CFT initiated North Texas Giving Day, which last year reached a new milestone of raising $33.1 million on one day to benefit over 2,000 nonprofits in the North Texas region. It has become the nation’s largest single day of community-wide giving and helped to encourage the development of online giving days across the United States.
“Serving the community through CFT has been an unbelievable, extraordinary privilege,” Christopher said. “I look forward to the next chapter of my career, and I am truly honored to rejoin the team at Children’s Health as I continue to work with donors and leaders throughout Dallas and North Texas.”
To support the mission of making life better for children, Christopher returns to Children’s Medical Center Foundation to sustain the progress made and invigorate its next stage of success. The Foundation’s success is essential to support major strides in world-class care that the system brings to more than 280,000 children each year, including research at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern, vital support services (such as on-site schools) needed for families in crisis and the many activities undertaken at Children’s each year to fortify the health of the entire community.
“As we move into our second century of service, Brent Christopher will support the next generation of the Foundation. His successful track record poises the Foundation for continued growth,” said John Eagle, chairman of the board, Children’s Medical Center Foundation. “We are very fortunate to have Brent, with his expertise and many years of dedication to the community, back at Children’s Health.”
Christopher will build on the success the Foundation experienced under Dr. Wildenthal’s leadership.
“We celebrate the extraordinary progress made in Children’s Health fundraising efforts under Kern Wildenthal’s leadership,” Durovich said. “He not only dramatically increased the amount of funds raised, but also helped forge close and lasting bonds between our institution and scores of civic leaders and philanthropists. We have been fortunate to have had Kern’s leadership in our efforts, and now to have Brent Christopher rejoin our team. Each of them is pre-eminent among a small, select group of individuals who have brought strategic vision, insight, and integrity to the institutions they have led, as well as having track records of great success in raising funds to advance the missions of their organizations.”
During the three years Wildenthal has served as president of the Foundation, philanthropic contributions totaled more than $150 million – a notable increase over the largest previous three-year total of $99 million.
“It has been a great privilege to work with the staff and board of Children’s Medical Center Foundation, and with Chris Durovich and the leadership team of Children’s Health,” Wildenthal said. “Our hospitals and health system already rank high among America’s leading pediatric centers, and our rate of improvement is exceptional. In partnership with the pediatric specialists who practice at Children’s Health, and with the solid philanthropic support of the communities we serve, Children’s is rapidly becoming second-to-none.”
Christopher will begin his term as president starting in July of 2016, when Dr. Wildenthal retires at age 75, after three years of service as the head of Children’s Medical Center Foundation and 40 years in leadership positions within the Southwestern Medical District.
Children’s Health is the eight-largest pediatric health care provider in the nation and the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas, providing a full spectrum of health care services—from daily wellness and primary care to specialty visits and critical care. Holding eight disease-specific care certifications from The Joint Commission, Children’s Health has been consistently named one of the nation’s top pediatric providers by U.S. News & World Report. The Children’s Health system includes the flagship hospital Children’s Medical Center Dallas, as well as Children’s Medical Center Plano, eight specialty centers, 20 Children’s Health Pediatric Group primary care practices, nine Our Children’s House rehabilitation facilities, home health, physician services and the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern. For more information, please visit www.childrens.com.
Children’s Medical Center Foundation serves as the fundraising arm for Children’s Health, the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas. The Foundation partners with individual donors, corporations and organizations to help the comprehensive team of physicians, scientists and medical professionals at Children’s Health fulfill its mission to make life better for children. Children’s Medical Center Foundation raises, manages and distributes funds to support Children’s Medical Center Dallas and Plano, eight specialty centers, nine Our Children’s House rehabilitation facilities, a network of 20 primary care pediatric practices throughout North Texas and the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern. For more information, please visit give.childrens.com.
Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) works with families, companies and nonprofits to strengthen our community through a variety of charitable funds and strategic grant making initiatives. CFT is committed to serving and understanding donor needs, expertly handling complex gifts, wisely managing charitable funds, and leveraging its community knowledge to increase charitable impact. The foundation professionally manages more than 900 charitable funds and has awarded more than $1.5 billion in grants since its founding in 1953. www.cftexas.org