Gift of $1 million will help UCLA support young patients and their families

Chase Child Life Program specialist and child
Part of the Suslow's gift will go to UCLA's Chase Child Life Program, which assists pediatric patients with their emotional and social needs during hospital stays. (Photo from fall 2019)

UCLA has received $1 million from Ken and Linda Suslow to continue providing critical supportive services for children, their families and other patients.

Half of the gift will support the work of the Chase Child Life Program at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, while the other half will establish the Suslow Family Patient Emergency Assistance Fund at UCLA.

Launched in 1968, the Chase Child Life Program serves as a national model for helping young patients and their families cope with the stress and anxiety of hospital stays and medical procedures. Program specialists tailor therapeutic activities — such as bedside play, music therapy and art creation — to children's social, emotional and educational needs, while helping parents and siblings understand how to best support their loved ones.

UCLA Health’s new Suslow Family Patient Emergency Assistance Fund in the department of care coordination and clinical social work will be used to cover food vouchers, local housing for patients' families staying near UCLA, transportation, medical supplies and other items identified by the care team. Addressing these needs helps produce better outcomes for vulnerable pediatric and adult patients.

Important at all times, such assistance has become even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has magnified anxiety about health and financial stability. Recognizing these growing needs, the Suslows were eager to support holistic care, particularly when considering how lucky they have been to raise two healthy sons and empathizing with families facing serious illnesses and injuries.

"There's more to treating a child than just the medicine or surgery — they're real kids with real emotional needs that go well beyond the physical healing," Ken Suslow said, reflecting on the programs he and his wife are supporting at UCLA. "We're so fortunate to be able to play a small part in the work by donating to such worthy causes, especially in this environment. COVID-19 has really centered us on what's most important."

Ken Suslow is founding managing partner of Sandbridge Capital LLC, a consumer private equity firm, and serves as chairman and CEO of Sandbridge Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: SBG).

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