12-year-old Gerry Sarnoff (second from left) recruited friends to raise money for the Sanatorium, naming their group Children’s Auxiliary Tuberculosis Sanatorium, or CATS. When Sarnoff died of cancer just before his 15th birthday, CATS was renamed the Gerry Sarnoff Memorial Auxiliary.
One hundred years ago, City of Hope was founded on the compassion and generosity of individual supporters just like you.
Our story began in 1913 when a poor young tailor, alone and in pain, died from tuberculosis on a Los Angeles sidewalk. Saddened by the tragedy and spurred by the desire to help others with the disease, volunteers established the Jewish Consumptive Relief Association (JCRA) and raised funds to build a free hospital, dedicated to treating those with tuberculosis.
Within two months the JCRA had raised enough money to secure 10 acres in the San Gabriel Foothills. The “Los Angeles Sanatorium” hospital had just two tents, one for patients and the other for a nurse.
Soon, hundreds of local fundraising auxiliaries had formed to support what would soon become City of Hope. The Workmen’s Circle was the first national group to support the Sanatorium, and its first donated building was dedicated in 1915.
By 1920, the growing Los Angeles Sanatorium was treating 205 patients.
In 1929, the WarnerFilm family donated a projection room to present motion pictures for patients twice a week. Then, in the 1930’s, the WarnerFilm family donated the Warner Memorial Clinic for surgical tuberculosis treatments, followed by the Warner Garden in 1931.
Two years later in 1933, executive director Samuel Golter traveled across the country, raising awareness and support from labor unions. The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union responded with funds for a patient library in 1935 and the Morris Hillquit Memorial Hospital in 1938.
The 1940s ushered in a new wave of support—and a new direction for the Sanatorium. In 1942, the Sportsmen’ Club organized the first annual “Fight for Lives” prizefighting fundraiser.
Then, in 1946 Samuel Golter announced his vision to expand the tuberculosis sanatorium into a national medical center for research, education and treatment of cancer and other major diseases.
Bob Hope hosted the First Annual Philadelphia Dinner in 1947, bringing together East Coast supporters for an evening of entertainment and fundraising for City of Hope.
In 1949, the first “Film Star World Series” benefit event was held at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. That same year, auxiliary delegates voted to change the institution’s name to “City of Hope” to reflect its expanded scope.
Cancer became a focus for City of Hope in the early 1950s. In 1954, donors started the Little Helpers children’s initiative to maintain a children’s wing for leukemia patients. But as a new influx of patients flooded this pilot medical center, a substantial increase in capacity was needed.
Fortunately, events and telethons helped spread the word about City of Hope in the 1960s. And in the 1970s, City of Hope board president, Mannie Fineman, helped to formalize professional industry group support.
By 1984, more than 500 auxiliaries, industries unions and other organizations were City of Hope supporters. And the philanthropic movement continued to grow. In 1993, over 30,000 people in 200 cities participated in the 5th annual “Workout for Hope” aerobic fundraiser supporting HIV/AIDS research. “Walk for Hope,” established in 1994, has had tens of thousands of participants, walking to raise money for breast and gynecologic cancer research.
Board president Mannie Fineman presents the “Spirit of Life” award to industry group supporters from Ralph’s Grocery in 1977.
At the beginning of the millennium, Spirit of Life® Award events, along with a new generation of auxiliaries, like New York’s “Teens for Hope” and “Future of Hope” chapters, continued the work.
Many members of these groups are second- and third-generation supporters carrying on our mission.
From Helford’s Clinical Research Hospital to the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center … from the Amini Transfusion Medicine Center to the Beckman Center for Cancer Immunotherapeutics & Tumor Immunology … our donors have forever changed research, treatment, and compassionate care at City of Hope.
City of Hope was founded by donors 100 years ago and today, our future is in your hands. You and the rest of our outstanding supporters have made the last hundred years possible. We hope you will continue making this legacy of hope possible for the next hundred years and more.
A Profile of Hope
Donors have always been the foundation for everything we do at City of Hope. Each of our generous supporters — like you — has his or her own unique story and connection.
Peter Zarcades, a native of Greece, was diagnosed with tuberculosis while he was still in college in 1955. He was treated at City of Hope, where he was so touched by his experience that he knew he wanted to give back. “I feel extremely indebted to City of Hope for what they did for me … Once I was able financially, I started donating money to City of Hope every year.”
Peter’s time at City of Hop proved to be emblematic of everything he loves about the U.S.: “I’ve been totally enamored with this country since I arrived. There were opportunities and kindness everywhere. Institutions like City of Hope reinforced that thought. It was another way of showing me that this is really a wonderful country.”