Charleston, S.C. – May 14, 2015 –The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) today announced a $25 million gift from Charleston businessman Shawn Jenkins to help build the new MUSC Children’s Hospital in downtown Charleston. Jenkins’ gift was made public during the MUSC Board of Trustees meeting on May 14, 2015, and is the largest philanthropic contribution in the Medical University’s history.
During the meeting, the MUSC Board of Trustees voted to name the new facility the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. The University is working to raise at least $50 million in donations to help replace its current MUSC Children’s Hospital, which opened in 1987.
“We have a bold new vision for children’s health,” said MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D. “This wonderful new partnership with Mr. Jenkins and his family will enable this vision to become a reality for our children. We still have work to do, but with the generous support of donors like Mr. Jenkins, this facility will become a landmark for world-class children’s healthcare and will impact every family in our state. We are tremendously grateful and excited.”
Jenkins has lived in the Charleston area since 1989 and is the CEO and co-founder of the Charleston-based software company, Benefitfocus. He said his gift was motivated by a desire to help care for the state’s most vulnerable population: its children.
“I was raised by a single mother, and while I was fortunate to be healthy, we did fret about money. Something could have gone wrong at any minute,” said Jenkins. “The children who come here are at the most vulnerable point in their lives in terms of health and finances. They need someone to stand in the gap with them. My family is fortunate to be able to do that, and we look forward to working together with the community to bring the best healthcare possible to the children of South Carolina and our neighboring states.”
Jenkins said his family never has attached their name to their philanthropic giving. However, after making several visits to the current MUSC Children’s Hospital and interacting with the physicians, nurses and staff, he said it was an easy decision to lend not only their financial support, but also their name and ongoing commitment to the hospital’s long-term success. He and his wife, Jocelyn, and children, Alex, Olivia, and Ryleigh, are excited to celebrate the positive impact the hospital will bring to the community and the opportunity it provides to continue making a difference in the community throughout the years.
“We made this commitment as a family, and it has already enriched our lives and inspired us to show our support in other ways as time goes on. It’s a beautiful thing,” said Jenkins. “I feel so blessed to be able to be a part of the new Children’s Hospital. With this major milestone, I feel like we’re just at the beginning of a journey that will bring this community together and achieve a positive impact on the future of our state’s children for generations to come.”
The University expects to break ground in 2016 and open the doors to the new hospital in 2019 on the Corner of Calhoun Street and Courtenay Drive. It will replace the 28-year-old Children’s Hospital currently located on Ashley Avenue, providing much needed space for the thousands of patients and families served by MUSC each year. The new facility will provide more spacious, family-centered amenities and expanded services, including an expanded neonatal intensive care unit, an entire floor dedicated to the care of children with cancer, and the most comprehensive pediatric heart center in South Carolina.