Colonel Procter’s gift inspired a culture of discovery that changed the course of medicine. Today, those who support the medical center with a gift through their estate are recognized as members of our William Cooper Procter Legacy Society.


A Legacy of Transforming Care

“Giving back through a legacy gift makes me feel even more tied to our mission.”
--Brian Wildman, senior business director, Patient Services

This year marks a special milestone in our history of research discovery—the 90th anniversary of the opening of our Research Foundation building in 1931. This put Cincinnati Children’s on the map as a leader in innovation and the first hospital in the world with a research facility fully dedicated to pediatric care.

The catalyst for that achievement was a transformational gift from the president of our Board of Trustees at the time, William Cooper Procter. Colonel Procter, the grandson of the co-founder of Procter & Gamble, was a visionary leader who believed that great care can’t happen without great research. He gave a gift of $2.5 million—valued at nearly $40 million today—to establish and endow our Research Foundation, ensuring that dedicated resources and permanent support would be available for generations to come.

Some of our life-saving research discoveries sparked by his generous support include:

  • Albert Sabin’s oral polio vaccine, which all but eradicated the devastating disease.
  • The first functional heart-lung machine—an invention that opened the door for modern heart surgery.
  • Artificial lung surfactant, which continues to save the lives of thousands of premature babies every year.
  • Hydroxyurea—a medication normally used in patients with cancer—discovered to dramatically improve the health and quality of life for kids living with sickle cell disease.
  • A mobile app that utilizes language processing to help identify kids and teens who may be suicidal.
  • Organoids—a cutting-edge discovery that will help us better understand disease, develop new personalized treatment and, ultimately, generate tissue for those who need transplants.
  • Leading the national response to the pandemic as one of four sites in the country participating in clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine for adults and kids.

And, as we look to the future, we know that our greatest discoveries are yet to come.

That’s because so many friends, grateful patient-families and our colleagues choose to leave their own legacy by making a gift from their estate to support the work we do each and every day.

“As we look to the future, we know that our greatest discoveries are yet to come.”

Susan Wiley, MD, director, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, is an advocate for legacy giving.

Legacy gifts include donations made through wills, trusts, life insurance, retirement assets and more. There are many ways to give ways to give, and those who do are recognized as members of the William Cooper Procter Legacy Society.

Members of the society receive a subscription of our special donor magazine, For the Children, and other important publications. They’re also invited to attend exclusive events, including our annual Evening with Champions and Pediatric Pioneers—where we share behind-the-scenes highlights of our most innovative research developments. And, members receive a personalized report detailing new advances at Cincinnati Children’s and news about how the medical center will benefit from their gift.

“The Thomas Center exists today because of philanthropy,” says Susan Wiley, MD, director of our Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and the Thomas Center for Down Syndrome. “Legacy gifts are heartfelt, and they support programming that allows us to provide the very best care and make change in our community and beyond.”

“I feel so strongly about the work we do. Giving back through a legacy gift makes me feel even more tied to our mission,” says Brian Wildman, senior business director for Patient Services. “I wanted to support the institution that changed my career—and life—for the better.”

Legacy gifts are as vital for the next century of innovation as Colonel Procter's was for the last. No matter the size of the gift, every donor—past, present and future—makes an impact for the kids and families who rely on us for care.

To learn more or to join the William Cooper Procter Legacy Society, visit

“Legacy gifts are as vital for the next century of innovation as Colonel Procter's was for the last.”

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