UCSF to build new hospital following $500 million donation

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UC San Francisco is set to build a new hospital at its historic Parnassus Heights campus thanks to a $500 million donation from a San Francisco Bay Area benefactor. 

The money comes from the Helen Diller Foundation and brings the total amount donated to UCSF from the foundation to more than $1.15 billion. It also places the Diller family among a handful of American philanthropists who have donated $1 billion or more to a single U.S. academic institution.

The earthquake-resistant structure, which will replace the aging Moffitt Hospital, is expected to open its doors to patients before 2030. 

“This incredible commitment sets the stage for a 21st century hospital that will play a critical role in patient care for San Franciscans and our community, as well as patients from around the nation and the globe who come to UCSF for care…” said UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood.

The new hospital will be part of a growing regional health system that includes UCSF Medical Center, the top-ranked hospital in California and among the top five nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-2018 Best Hospitals survey. 

The hospital and outpatient complex at Parnassus Heights will be renamed the UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center at Parnassus Heights. 

“Helen Diller appreciated UCSF’s excellence as one of the world’s leading health sciences universities,” said Phyllis Cook, foundation executive officer. “She would be so proud of this commitment to clinical services in the Bay Area made in her memory.”

Diller, who died in 2015, was a lifelong philanthropist, advocate and mentor. This latest donation is the third major contribution to UCSF by the Diller family over the past 15 years.

“Helen Diller often said that ‘It’s never too late, too early, or too often to give back and make the world a better place,’” said Dr. Peter R. Carroll, professor and chair of UCSF’s Department of Urology.

Born and raised in San Francisco, she met her future husband, Sanford Diller, while both were attending UC Berkeley. Sanford Diller, who died last week at age 89, attributed his success to hard word and discipline.

After practicing law for several years, Sanford Diller switched careers and began investing in and developing commercial and residential real estate. In 1965, he founded the Prometheus Real Estate Group, which grew into one of the largest apartment development and investment companies on the West Coast, expanding to more than 15,000 units in the Bay Area, Seattle, and Portland, Ore.

Through their foundations, the Diller family has supported Jewish causes, education, science and the arts, including Judaic studies programs at both UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz; an international Judaic teen leadership program; education from the K-12 to postgraduate levels; renovation of children’s parks in San Francisco; and San Francisco’s de Young Museum, Museum of Modern Art and Legion of Honor Museum.