Elizabeth and Bruce Dunlevie donate $80 million to improve the health of mothers and babies

The gift will help advance the science and practice of maternal-fetal medicine and fund new facilities to increase access to care at Stanford Medicine.

- By Jennifer Yuan

Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie
Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health

Elizabeth and Bruce Dunlevie have made an $80 million gift to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and the Stanford University School of Medicine to launch a bold new clinical and research program that will transform the health of mothers and babies.

The gift will help advance the science and practice of maternal-fetal medicine, and fund new facilities to increase access to care. 

“Our family has been fortunate to live and work in Silicon Valley and in close proximity to Stanford for several decades, and we’ve been grateful beneficiaries of the excellent care delivered by Packard Children’s Hospital more than once,” said Bruce Dunlevie. “Knowing from personal experience how transformative world-class medical treatment can be for mothers and babies, we’re thrilled to help advance the state of the art in medical science for maternal-fetal research, and to give every mother and baby the highest-quality medical care.”

“This gift represents an opportunity of a lifetime,” says Yasser El-Sayed, MD, the Charles B. and Ann L. Johnson Professor in the School of Medicine and obstetrician-in-chief at Packard Children’s Hospital. “Our team at Stanford and Packard will put our hearts and souls into building the most dynamic, productive and innovative program possible — one that fully leverages the new facility and translates discoveries into clinical impact for families locally and globally.”

A legacy of mothers helping mothers

Packard Children’s Hospital was founded on the vision of one mother, Lucile Salter Packard, who believed in the importance of caring for expectant mothers and their babies together. More than 100,000 babies have been born at the hospital since its 1991 opening. The Dunlevies’ gift builds on Lucile Packard’s legacy.

“My journey with this hospital started as the mother of a child who needed life-saving care, and my family is forever grateful for Lucile’s vision and the care teams who ensured this hospital was here for us when we needed it,” said Elizabeth Dunlevie, who is board chair at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health and a board member at Packard Children’s Hospital. “For all of us, the year 2020 has driven home the importance of health, of providing a healthy start for all families. With this gift we want to help ensure access to Packard’s quality of care for all mothers and babies, across socioeconomic boundaries, now and in the future.”

“The impact of this incredible gift will be felt for generations — for the mothers and babies we help and, perhaps even more importantly, for those we will never have to treat because of new discoveries and cures made possible by this investment,” said Paul King, president and CEO of Packard Children’s Hospital and Stanford Children’s Health. “My heart is full knowing that Elizabeth and Bruce’s gift embodies Lucile Packard’s intent for this hospital to be both a leading academic medical center as well as a community hospital available to all who need us.”

A new home for labor and delivery

In 2017, Packard Children’s Hospital opened its new Main Building, which serves most of the hospital’s pediatric patients. Now it’s time to reimagine the beloved original building, known as the West Building, as the primary home for services for mothers and babies.

The Dunlevies’ gift provides $50 million to launch a transformation of the first floor. Over the next few years, the hospital will build a new state-of-the-art labor and delivery unit with 14 private suites. For mothers requiring hospitalization prior to delivery, the hospital will also build a dedicated maternity antepartum unit. The new units will enhance the patient experience while supporting the most complex maternal and fetal care. 

A rendering of a room in the antepartum unit to be constructed with funding from the Dunlevies' gift. The new unit will be for mothers requiring hospitalization prior to delivery.  
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

This project is just the beginning. The Dunlevies’ gift kick-starts an ambitious renewal throughout the West Building. The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health is seeking additional philanthropic support to expand and enhance the neonatal intensive care units and postpartum maternity rooms in the coming years.  

“Through Elizabeth and Bruce’s profound commitment, we will be able to learn more, move faster and make a bigger difference for the sickest mothers and babies,” said Cynthia Brandt, PhD, president and CEO of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. “They are setting an example of true philanthropy, of love and concern for others. As we launch a fundraising campaign for mothers and babies, we hope that many more community members will join us in this important mission.”

Advancing the science of maternal-fetal medicine 

The Dunlevies’ gift also provides $30 million to further develop a world-class maternal-fetal medicine program at the School of Medicine. The hospital already treats complex fetal disorders. Yet with nearly two-thirds of the expectant mothers at Packard Children’s Hospital being high-risk, there is potential to do more for mothers with underlying conditions such as heart disease, cancer, epilepsy and diabetes, and for pressing obstetrical issues, including preterm labor, placenta accreta, hemorrhage and cesarean-delivery prevention.

The program will recruit additional faculty to accelerate discovery — starting from basic science to understand the earliest part of human development, translating findings from the lab into clinical care and disseminating strategies to improve maternal outcomes across California, the nation and the globe. 

“In our mission to advance precision health, there is no better place to start than at the beginning,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, the dean of the School of Medicine. “During the crucial period from pre-conception through pregnancy and a baby’s first days, we have the opportunity to improve the trajectory of entire lives. So many families will benefit from the people, programs and facilities that will receive support from the Dunlevies’ visionary gift.”

“We are so fortunate to have Elizabeth and Bruce as long-standing champions of Stanford University, Stanford Medicine and Packard Children’s Hospital,” said Marc Tessier-Lavigne, president of Stanford University. “Their wisdom and hard work are invaluable to advancing our shared missions to improve human health. In these deeply challenging times, the Dunlevies’ philanthropy provides welcome hope for the well-being of current and future generations. We are immensely grateful.”

Bruce has served on the board of trustees of Stanford University and as chairman of the board of the Stanford Management Company. As chair of the public spaces task force at Packard Children’s Hospital, Elizabeth shaped the family-friendly artwork, gardens and experiential details of the Main Building as well as recent updates in the West Building.

The Dunlevies’ prior gifts to Packard Children’s Hospital and Stanford Medicine have included generous investments for the Vera Moulton Wall Center for Pulmonary Vascular Disease, the Dunlevie Family Professorship in Pediatrics, the Dwight and Vera Dunlevie Professorship in Pediatric Cardiology, the Elizabeth Wood Dunlevie Professorship and the Dunlevie Garden. 

About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit med.stanford.edu.

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