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Sweet Charity

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton and philanthropist Haim Saban.

Media magnate Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl, have pledged $40 million to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, which officials there have called the largest single gift of its kind to a children’s hospital in North America.

The gift is one part of charitable commitments worth $100 million to health care and education in the United States and Israel that the couple announced on June 22.

The Sabans’ gift to CHLA, a USC-partner hospital, is designed to stimulate pediatric medical research and advance the search for solutions to some of the most complex and vexing medical issues affecting children and adolescents.

“Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is able to make a difference in the lives of children and their families, not only in Los Angeles but throughout the United States and around the world because of people like Cheryl and Haim Saban,” said Walter W. Noce Jr., CHLA president and CEO.

U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), other elected officials and special guests joined members of the CHLA board of trustees on June 29 at the hospital to rededicate its Research Institute of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and the new 88,500 square-foot, state-of-the-art research laboratory facilities as the Saban Research Institute building.

The Saban commitment is the lead gift in the recently announced $500 million campaign for CHLA.

Cheryl Saban was the first member of the CHLA board of trustees to make a commitment to the campaign, pledging $1 million when trustees met in April 2000 to consider the feasibility of a fund-raising drive for new facilities, as well as for endowment, program and annual support.

“Medical research, which is too often under-funded, is so critical to the continued well-being of all children,” said Cheryl, a children’s advocate who has been a member of the board of trustees for seven years and is a member of the Los Angeles City Commission for Children, Youth and their Families.

“We believe there is an extraordinary opportunity here to invest in scientific discovery at Childrens Hospital, making a significant difference in the rapidly changing world of medical research, with the emphasis on finding better ways to treat, prevent and cure pediatric illness and injury,” she said.

Haim Saban, chair and CEO of the Saban Capital Group Inc., a private investment firm, added, “We believe that advances in research, which ultimately will help millions of children worldwide, will be possible through this partnership with the physician-scientists at Childrens Hospital.”

The gift is expected to dramatically advance scientific investigations at the Saban Research Institute, which is engaged in pediatric research in crucial areas such as cancer, cardiovascular research, developmental biology, infectious diseases, bone metabolism, imaging research, diabetes, community health and gene, immune and stem cell therapy.

“This gift comes at the ideal time as plans for a major expansion of our research efforts are underway,” said Yves A. DeClerck, vice president of research and director of the institute.

“We are deeply appreciative of the Saban family’s generosity, foresight and support of our vision,” said DeClerck, a professor of pediatrics, biochemistry and molecular biology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

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