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Webster Foundation Pledges $5 Million to Support Cardiac Care Excellence at Rady Children’s

Gift will endow leadership positions and an innovation fund to advance cardiac medicine at the nationally ranked Rady Children’s Heart Institute

SAN DIEGO – Feb. 16, 2024 – The Helen and Will Webster Foundation has pledged $5 million to support the Rady Children’s Heart Institute and the Helen and Will Webster Foundation 3D Innovations Lab to accelerate cardiac care, develop novel 3D technologies, and significantly improve survival rates for children with congenital heart disease and other cardiac conditions.

The Foundation, established by late inventor and entrepreneur Will Webster and his late wife, Helen, was founded to support education and health care causes that benefit young people, with a commitment to investments in technological innovation that advance medicine and improve lives.

Will and Helen Webster

Today, led by sons Rich and Alec Webster, the Foundation carries on the family’s legacy of forward-thinking solutions to benefit patients through transformational giving.

“The Webster Foundation’s visionary support will help us remain a leading center for exceptional pediatric cardiac care,” says Patrick Frias, MD, president and CEO of Rady Children’s. “It will make a difference for countless young patients and their families who look to us for hope and healing when they come to the Rady Children’s Heart Institute. We’re thankful that the Webster Foundation is entrusting us with this mission through its generous gift.”

The Webster Foundation gift will fuel the work of the Heart Institute and its leadership by creating two endowed positions: the Helen and Will Webster Foundation Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery Chair, which will empower the Heart Institute’s division chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery to advance research, clinical trials and patient care programs; and the Helen and Will Webster Foundation 3D Innovations Lab Directorship, which will bolster the lab director’s vision, strengthen the lab’s continuing advancements and help ensure the long-term sustainability of this extraordinary resource.

In addition, the gift will create a new Helen and Will Webster Foundation Pediatric Cardiology Innovation Fund, which will provide critical resources for the Heart Institute to strategically invest in research for the greatest impact, such as seed funding for revolutionary initiatives and programs.

“The progress that has been made over the last several years with the 3D Innovations Lab – watching it grow and support other programs at the hospital beyond cardiology – has been inspiring,” said Rich Webster. “Rady Children’s continues to demonstrate a major commitment to innovation and high levels of service, and that’s why we made the grant.”

The Webster 3D Innovations Lab was created with a previous $1 million gift from the Webster Foundation in 2019. The Lab partners with the Heart Institute and other Rady Children’s programs to develop 3D technology and software that allow physicians to go from evaluating a patient’s anatomy on a screen to holding a physical model in their hands or examining it in a lifelike, simulated environment.

“We’re truly grateful for this partnership with the Webster Foundation, which will impact our team’s ability to give every child who comes to us the best treatment options and support our aim to pursue bold new discoveries in the field,” says Adel Younoszai, MD, co-director of the Heart Institute and division chief of Cardiology. “Ultimately, this is about healing kids’ hearts. The Webster Foundation’s support will benefit children for years to come.”

The Heart Institute is the No. 1 pediatric cardiology program on the West Coast and No. 3 in the nation, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The investment from the Webster Foundation will continue the institute’s upward trajectory and help create brighter, healthier futures for the children of San Diego and beyond.

“My team and I are so grateful for the amazing generosity and support that the Webster Foundation and specifically Rich Webster has provided for our program. We are also very excited about all of the opportunities that this support has and will provide us in reaching our goal to have our patients thrive and become vibrant members of our community,” said cardiothoracic surgeon John Nigro, MD, the Helen and Will Webster Foundation Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and co-director of the Heart Institute. “I’m also so honored and excited to be the first Helen and Will Webster Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Rady Children’s.”

Will Webster’s company, Webster Laboratories, engineered and manufactured heart catheters and developed a device that enabled doctors to diagnose and treat a congenital heart arrhythmia called Wolf-Parkinson-White Syndrome, among others.

“My father’s business was specialized and supported pediatric electrophysiology,” said Rich Webster. “Our foundation is not only about helping young people, but also very much about honoring my dad’s lifetime of work.”

Media Contact:
Ben Metcalf