Seattle Children’s Announces Decade-Long “It Starts With Yes” Campaign Surpassed Fundraising Goal With $1.4B Raised

Caleb’s family moved to three different states searching for experts who could provide the best care for his life-threatening, chronic intestinal disorder. Now Caleb is 10 and loves playing basketball, badminton and video games. He still experiences ups and downs on his medical journey – but thanks to community support, Caleb’s care team helps him thrive at every age and developmental stage. During the Yes campaign, more than 70 patients and their families served as ambassadors, sharing their experiences to inspire our community.

Seattle Children’s launched its $1 billion fundraising initiative,  It Starts With Yes: The Campaign For Seattle Children’s  to transform childhood health and change the odds for all kid-kind.

At the end of 2021, the Yes campaign closed with greater success than expected, surpassing its initial goal of $1 billion, raising $1.4 billion. Last year alone, donors contributed more than $223.7 million – more than any year in Seattle Children’s fundraising history.

Doug Picha, Seattle Children’s Foundation president, oversaw the Yes campaign throughout its 11-year span.

“What I have learned is that every gift has a story, and every gift is a symbol of commitment to our mission. As the Yes campaign closes, we can celebrate exciting discoveries, new buildings, expanded clinical programs and lifesaving pediatric care accessible to more families – all made possible by this historic philanthropic effort from our amazing community of supporters,” said Picha. After more than 40 years of service at Seattle Children’s, Picha retired with the close of the Yes campaign, in December 2021.

Thanks to gifts from the community, funds from the Yes campaign supported more than 100 areas of clinical care and research.

The vast majority of funds advanced Seattle Children’s core mission, which:

  • Enabled Seattle Children’s growth to meet the needs of families by opening two new facilities: Building Cure and Building Care
  • Provided more than $250 million in uncompensated care to support 161,000 medical visits for kids
  • Expanded Seattle Children’s ability to plan for future needs: more than 1,750 visionary families established a legacy through their estate planning to ensure kids with the most complex conditions know Seattle Children’s will be here for them – today and tomorrow

The Yes campaign also funded three key organizational priorities. Generous support of $125 million or more to each of the focus areas below is already making a difference for kids:

Changing the Odds for Kids with Cancer

  • The generous community of donors contributed more than $205 million to accelerate the pediatric cancer program at Seattle Children’s since the start of the Yes campaign. More than $130 million of that total was raised for pediatric cancer immunotherapy research, creating one of the most comprehensive pediatric CAR T-cell programs in the world
  • Supported the building of the Cure Factory™, creating one of the most comprehensive pediatric CAR T-cell programs in the world and supporting the building of a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility inside Building Cure™
  • The support of donors and the success of CAR T-cell immunotherapy research has enabled Seattle Children’s to form Seattle Children’s Therapeutics, which will offer a new approach for developing and testing next-generation cell and gene therapies for a variety of pediatric conditions. Gifts also supported the researchers and scientists at the Ben Town Center for Childhood Cancer Research (BTCCCR) who are expanding our understanding of how the most aggressive childhood cancers start, progress and recur.

Addressing Root Causes of Brain Conditions

  • Scaled up a pipeline of clinical trials, along with new fellowship positions and high-tech imaging devices to continue our efforts to address the root causes of brain conditions and disorders
  • Expanded access to critical mental health services and created alternative paths to crisis care through the new Behavioral Health Crisis Care Clinic, among others
  • Improved access and programs for autism services and relocation of the Autism Center to a new, reimagined space, slated to open in 2023

Building a Healthier Future for Kids through Community Health

  • The community of donors contributed more than $125 million to community health and wellness, in part to establish a second Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) at Othello Square in south Seattle, which is slated to open this year. Patients will benefit from expanded wellness programs and greater access to expert care – closer to home.
  • The OBCC Central District clinic celebrated 50 years during the pandemic and responded to the public health crisis by expanding the safety net for families experiencing trauma, food insecurity and housing instability.
  • OBCC developed an integrated model of care through which families have longer visits with multiple providers, especially for primary care and behavioral health. At the heart of this model is our commitment to developing stronger partnerships with families to promote healthy, thriving lives.

While we close the campaign with much more community support than we ever imagined – and share our deepest gratitude to everyone who contributed – our work is not done. Seattle Children’s will not stop until every child has the hope, care and cures they need to live a fulfilling life. This means continuing to partner with our community to provide care in our region regardless of a family’s ability to pay, dedicating ourselves to equity in healthcare for all kids who need us and seizing the new opportunities philanthropy helped make possible.

“It Starts With Yes” by the numbers:

  • 185,000+ donors from 50 states, 4 territories and 49 countries
  • 151,000+ first-time donors
  • 1,750 families made Legacy gifts
  • 125+ new guilds formed
  • More than 70 patient ambassadors shared their stories
  • Nearly 1 million gifts, 76% of which were under $100
  • Seattle Children’s workforce contributed $10 million

To learn more about the impact of the Yes campaign and other ways to give to Seattle Children’s, please visit our website.