Primary Children’s Hospital launches largest-ever giving campaign to enhance children’s health

Primary Children's Hospital launches largest-ever giving campaign to enhance children's health

Primary Children’s Hospital celebrates $464 million that has already been donated toward the Primary Promise initiative to enhance children’s health. The minimum fundraising goal is $600 million for the campaign. (Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com)

Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Primary Children’s Hospital aims to bring in $600M in donations to enhance the health of children throughout the Intermountain West, as well as increase access to care across the multistate region.

The Intermountain Healthcare hospital launched its philanthropic initiative called Primary Promise on Thursday, adding that $464 million has already been collected from donations since 2020.

The nonprofit health care system is seeking to create a model health care system for children in the country and address needs in the growing population of children throughout the geographic region — including physical and emotional needs that are increasingly complex.


There is not a better place to invest $1 to help the lives of children, and the impact of that dollar for today and in the future.

–Spencer Zwick


“These growing needs, combined with Intermountain’s close relationship with the communities it serves, creates an opportunity to create a holistic health system for children that will support more kids than ever for the next 100 years,” officials said Thursday.

Primary Children’s recently celebrated 100 years in operation, and choose the symbol of a rocket for that celebration. Katy Welkie, the hospital’s president and CEO and vice president over Intermountain Children’s Health, said this initiative is putting fuel in that rocket ship.

Welkie said the hospital is seeing more patients every day, patients whose needs are more complex and specialized.

“We knew we needed to do something to address these needs. And we know that our children are our future. They are everyone’s future and we believe that it’s essential that we grasp this once-in-a-generational opportunity now to create a better physical and emotional health for children — for all children,” she said.

Primary Children’s Primary Promise initiative has goals for care in three areas:

  • Strengthen Primary Children’s Hospital, including innovative programs like the newborn intensive care unit, fetal center and cancer center.
  • Address emerging health needs, which can include societal issues like food instability and access to behavioral health programs.
  • Extend the pediatric hospital’s specialized influence to more areas to keep children close to home through a new hospital in Utah County, telehealth services and more local clinics.

“The Primary Promise is fundamental to our philosophy of the child first and always, we will never forget that,” Welkie said. “It is really foundational.”

Helping children

Steve Lund, co-founder and executive board chairman at Nu Skin Enterprises, talked about his experience after his son, Tanner, was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors at Primary Children’s Hospital were able to help Tanner live for three years after the diagnosis.

The hospital, he said, is a sacred place, that helped him and his family on the worst day of their lives.

“We have a community that cares about kids and cares about families and cares about people who are having the worst days of their lives,” Lund said. “And this staff … these remarkable people all around us, in battalions, are here to be the point of the spear for our community’s response to people having the worst days of their lives. That’s what makes this place so special.”

Steve Lund, co-founder and executive board chairman at Nu Skin Enterprises, with his son Tanner, who died from cancer.
Steve Lund, co-founder and executive board chairman at Nu Skin Enterprises, with his son Tanner, who died from cancer. (Photo: Lund family)

He said the three years they had with Tanner after his diagnosis was a result of the efforts of people at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Lund said the hospital represents the best that humanity has to offer, and it is his hope that the services can be made available to tens of thousands of people, through Primary Promise and other efforts.

Fundraising efforts

Welkie said community leaders and pediatric experts came together in January 2020 to consider what work needs to be done and determined the vision would cost, at a minimum, $600 million.

“It’s a big number and it’s gonna take a big journey to get there, but we know when we bring people together, around children, amazing things can happen,” Welkie said.

Gail Miller, a philanthropist and board member at Intermountain Healthcare, said it is exciting to see how far they have come, but to reach the final goal, they will need help from the families and individuals that Intermountain Healthcare serves.

Primary Promise is now a public campaign, and Miller asked for help from the public to raise the final $136 million.

“It represents the most significant investment in the delivery of health care for our children in this state and in the Intermountain West in a generation,” Miller said. “This is your opportunity to be part of an exciting adventure.”

Spencer Zwick, co-founder and managing partner at Solamere Capital, said the value of each dollar given to Primary Children’s goes “a tremendously long way.”

“There is not a better place to invest $1 to help the lives of children, and the impact of that dollar for today and in the future,” Zwick said.

He invited anyone to become a part of the effort, and said it is more impactful than anything else they can do. Zwick said both small and large contributions are needed to finish fueling the rocket.

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Emily Ashcraft joined KSL.com as a reporter in 2021. She covers courts and legal affairs, as well as health, faith and religion news.

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