George Harben, who passed away in 2021, has gifted $1 million paid over the next 10 years to the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. Harben was a long-time donor of MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center ,and this annual giving will continue in perpetuity through the Dora Elphick Harben and George W. Harben Endowment.
“I want to cure cancer for children,” said Harben, before he died. He was 99-years-old and was just a few weeks shy of his 100th birthday. Because of George’s annual endowment, in his name and his mother, the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute will be able to continue to be a leader in the areas of research and treatment of various cancers, sickle cell disease and other serious blood disorders.
“George was a very special man. He had a giving heart and wanted to ensure that children were taken care of, especially those dealing with harrowing health issues,” said Rob Gunsalus, president of the MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Foundation. “George was generous when he was alive, and he continues to be generous, even though he’s not physically with us. His philanthropic legacy speaks volumes to the kind of man he was.”
George lived a humble lifestyle, and invested money well. He was never married and didn’t have any children, and knew he wanted to leave behind a generous legacy. He was brilliant with numbers and earned multiple degrees in economics at the University of Southern California. In 1962, Harben approached fledgling financial planner, Tom Shadden, when he wanted to start investing and needed a little help to get started. Harben, who was Tom’s very first client, gave Tom $400 to invest. Over the years, with Tom’s expertise and George’s steady investing, the two successfully built a significant financial legacy as well as a lifelong friendship.
“George was just a very kind and unique man,” said Tom. “He was more than just a client; he was a friend. We got to know each other quite well over the years. And he did the one thing that most people don’t think about – and that’s saving, putting money away, and investing over a long period of time. He was very particular with where he wanted to donate his money. George knew by giving to Miller Children’s & Women’s and Long Beach Medical Center, it would have a lasting effect on the community.”
This is not George’s first major gift to the hospitals. He donated to the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute and named two infusion rooms in memory of his mother.
“We are deeply grateful to donors like George. He was committed to the well-being of patients, just like every one of our employees,” said John Bishop, CEO, MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center and Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. “And because of his thoughtful and long-term gift, we can ensure excellent care close to home. His donation is truly an inspiration to us all.”
The Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute is always looking for support from the community. Every year, it holds a Torch Run, which is an Olympic-style relay race full of inspirational and uplifting moments. Due to ongoing concern for these most vulnerable patients and COVID-19, this year’s Torch Run was cancelled, but you can still support. Donations go toward supporting comprehensive care, research and support programs for more than 800 children a year. These programs, include psychology, social work, late effects, survivorship care, sibling activities, school re-integration, art therapy, child life and research.
If you would like to support the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute, visit millerchildrens.org/cancer