John Rangos Gives New $1 Million Gift to Children's Hospital
Hospital Honors him by Mounting Master Portrait
By Evan C. Lambrou
originally published by the National Herald on October 2, 2010
PITTSBURGH, P.A. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh honored Greek American magnate John G. Rangos last week for his philanthropy and unwavering commitment to the Hospital over the past three decades, unveiling a portrait of Mr. Rangos by master portrait artist Benjamin McCready who, among other famous and accomplished personalities, has painted portraits of several U.S. Presidents.
Held this past September 21 in the auditorium of the new John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center, more than 100 people attended the event, which was also punctuated by the announcement that Mr. Rangos is making a unitrust gift of $1 million to the Hospital for research, in addition to the $8 million Children’s has already received from the Rangos Family Charitable Foundation for the new Rangos Building, a state-of-the-art facility which opened its doors in the fall of 2008.
The McCready portrait of Mr. Rangos is now mounted in the main hall of the new John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center at Children’s, stirring testament to Mr. Rangos’ stalwart dedication to an institution which, through his leadership, generosity and support, has become one of world’s leading pediatric care centers.
At nine stories and 300,000 square feet, the new Rangos Building, located in the Pittsburgh suburb of Lawrenceville, has superseded the original one, which is located in the city’s suburb of Oakland (at 100,000 square feet, the original building, made possible through a $3 million donation from the Rangos Foundation in 1990, is still fully operational).
David Perlmutter, chief physician and scientific director at Children’s, emphasized Mr. Rangos’ vision to transform Children’s by helping the Hospital attract top-notch scientists and researchers.
“I really need to express my gratitude to John and his family for their dedication and commitment to this institution. Since I first came here from St. Louis nine years ago, I’ve become thoroughly impressed by your vision of clinical excellence. I came to realize that you not only understand the need for consistent achievement, but that you really have a deep sense of genuine commitment to that ideal. Your imprint on this institution is simply remarkable, and your investment in our research facility has enabled us to assemble a formidable investigative team to tackle some of the world’s most devastating illnesses. None of us can thank you enough, but thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Dr. Perlmutter said.
Greg Barrett, president of the Children’s Hospital Foundation, noted Mr. Rangos’ willingness to take risks, his genuine concern for the wellbeing of children, and his love for America.
“Like Mr. Rangos, I’m originally from West Virginia. I had a chance to speak with him over the phone several times before I came here. I knew right away that I was getting to know someone special. He’s willing to take risks because he knows taking risks can lead to enormous dividends. More importantly, he really loves this country, and he really loves children,” Mr. Barrett said.
Mary Jo Dively, vice chair of the Hospital’s Foundation, echoed Mr. Barrett’s statements, highlighting Mr. Rangos’ generosity and the soft spot in his heart for children suffering from debilitating diseases.
“John has spread his generosity all over Pittsburgh, but nowhere has he done so more than here. He cares about the kids deeply, and he directs his investments very wisely. Most people know him as a hardnosed businessman, but let me assure you that, around children, he just melts. That big, tough guy mask falls right off, and the kindly grandpa face just shines. We are filled with hope by your continued support, and we hope you continue to challenge us in the years to come,” she said.
Both Dr. Perlmutter and Ms. Dively cited Children’s steady increase in funding from the National Institutes of Health, which went from $7 million ten years ago to over $30 million just last year.
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh merged with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 2001. That $500 million transaction was the largest hospital merger in Pittsburgh’s history, with UPMC promising to build a new $250 million hospital for Children’s. The new Children’s Hospital opened its doors on UPMC’s Montefiore Campus in May of 2009.
Mr. Rangos, who played a key role in helping the merger take place, said he felt very honored, and thanked his family for supporting his philanthropic efforts over the years. He also stressed the need to continue supporting medical and scientific research, which will help humanity in both public health and economic terms.
“I’m extremely honored to be here this evening. I can only say thanks to my family, which has been so supportive of me in every way. They deserve the best of everything because they all have a heart of gold. I also want to thank my friends for supporting the Free Care Fund, and I’d like to thank the physicians and scientists for the excellent work they do here every day. The world has taken notice, and I’m very happy to continue supporting this institution, which is now ranked among the top three to ten in so many areas,” he said.
“If we stop to think about it just a little, successfully treating an illness like diabetes would help so many kids have another chance at life, but finding a cure would not only rid them of the disease, it would make another very important impact on America. A cure could increase our country’s GDP (gross domestic product) by 1 percent. It costs us over $450 billion a year to treat people with diabetes. Curing it would eliminate all those costs,” he added.
Massimo Trucco, one of the world’s leading diabetes researchers, was also among those in attendance that evening. The Rangos Foundation’s gift for the original Rangos Building helped establish the Rangos/Trucco Diabetes Center, a dedicated local resource used by scientists and medical professionals in their search for a cure to Type-1 diabetes, commonly called juvenile diabetes.
Speaking with the National Herald, Dr. Trucco said the Children’s Hospital and UPMC community is lucky to have Mr. Rangos’ confidence.
“We need many more people like John Rangos. With the type of funding he provides, you can really attract the greatest talent from all corners of the globe. We have the best doctors from the United States, Canada, Italy, Russia, Spain, China and other countries working here now,” he said.
Dr. Trucco also said he thinks a cure for diabetes is within reach: “I believe a cure is very possible in my lifetime. A facility like this certainly makes it easier for us to get there,” he said.
Master portrait artist Benjamin McCready painted a portrait of John G. Rangos for the main hall of the new Rangos Research Center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. (L-R) CHP Foundation President Greg Barrett, CHP President Christopher Gessner, Mr. Rangos, CHP Chief Physician Dr. David Perlmutter and Mary Jo Dively, vice chair of the CHP Foundation.
Photos courtesy of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
Greek American magnate and philanthropist John G. Rangos Sr. (2nd from left) stands next to his portrait, painted by master portrait artist Benjamin McCready. With Mr. Rangos, from left to right, are Judge Jill Rangos, Nick Rangos and John G. Rangos Jr.