Inspiring Change

The transformative impacts of philanthropy in health care took center stage Aug. 24 at the Friese Family Tower Donor Event, a celebration of the community's steadfast support, held in the weeks before the new tower’s official opening. Bringing together community donors, hospital leaders and project stakeholders, the evening commemorated the profound gratitude for the contributions that made the new state-of-the-art patient care facility at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center a reality.

The Providence Tarzana Foundation Board of Directors: Back row, from left: Susan Hirsch Wohl, Nick Lymberopoulos, Valerie Benzimira, Adam Saitman, Greg Goetzman, Paul Pepperman, Steve Fazio, Nicole Fazio (spouse), Marty Evanson, Donna Stillo, Steve Getzoff, Ralph Baca, MD, Matthew Rinnert. Front row, from left: Pam Kessler, Jeff Levine, Fred Scholder, Lynne Zuckerman, Jerry Einziger, MD, Claire Marks, Nancy Norris, Marilyn Lund-Silva, Claudia Wallack Samuels, PhD, Jodi Tenenbaum

Through the Tarzana Reimagined renovation and expansion, the hospital is investing in its community, joined by local donors who’ve generously pledged significant donations. As a not-for-profit health care organization, Providence relies on donations and ensures that every dollar received supports the mission of serving the community.

Most notably, a $50 million gift to Providence Tarzana Foundation has transformed the expansion and renovation of the hospital. This donation marks the largest ever to a Providence hospital in California and is among the largest anywhere in the 51-hospital health system. The gift was bestowed by the dedicated and civically engaged Donald Friese family, who made their fortune in Southern California and are continuing a long tradition of humanitarianism.

“Don and Andrea Friese gave the most precious gift of all to their local community—the gift of health and well-being,” says Matthew Rinnert, chief philanthropy officer at the Providence Tarzana Foundation.

The Reimagined project is the largest health care investment in the history of the San Fernando Valley, and its centerpiece is the new five-story tower named in honor of the Friese family.
“As we gained momentum for this project, people were able to see the real value of having a world-class health care facility in their backyard,” Rinnert says.

Left: A family night out: Don Friese (far right) with his granddaughter Ellia, grandson Ryan, and son D.J. Friese, president and CFO of the Friese Foundation.

Right: On Aug. 24, generous donors and friends of Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center gathered for a pre-opening celebration of the Friese Family Tower. Scheduled to open on Oct. 1, 2023, the new patient tower will include an expanded emergency department, spacious all-private patient rooms, and state-of-the-art imaging technology.

The Frieses’ generosity opened new horizons for the Tarzana Reimagined project, allowing the foundation and donors in the community to shift the focus to even greater possibilities.

“It’s such a powerful thing to see a project like this come together that inspires people in so many different ways, from those in the community to our caregivers and physicians,” Rinnert observes. “When people are inspired at that level, magical things can happen.”

Having exceeded its donation goal, the hospital is determined to “live up to our end of the bargain,” Rinnert emphasizes. The foundation is now raising funds for a destination heart program as well as a new stroke center, opportunities that wouldn’t yet be considered if not for the benevolent contributions already made to the Reimagined project campaign.

“Our mission is caring for the poor and vulnerable, and we’re so grateful that generous members of our community recognize there’s something truly special going on here and are inspired to give,” Rinnert says. “And what an incredible thing it is to be involved in—this will benefit generations to come.”

The donor appreciation event served as a reminder of the immense impact philanthropy has on shaping health care, and Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center is committed to carrying this spirit of giving forward, emboldened by the belief that even greater achievements lie ahead. 

Left: Don Friese (left) smiles as he greets Chief Philanthropy Officer Matthew Rinnert with a hug.

Right: Tom Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai, Erik Wexler, president and COO of Providence, and Laureen Driscoll, chief executive for Providence South Division, enjoy a pre-program high five in celebration of the upcoming Friese Family Tower opening.

Previously published in the Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center’s Health Matters Fall 2023 Issue.

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