Children’s Hope Inc. was founded in 1997 by American Airline captain Jack Arnold in response to the growing need for a “hospital hospitality house” to provide lodging and accommodations for the parents and families of critically ill children.
The initial needs assessment conducted discovered that Lutheran Children’s Hospitals alone has over 2,000 pediatric admissions annually with nearly 50% of those families traveling from outside Allen County. Of those families, nearly 25% have no health insurance or inadequate coverage. The emotional trauma of a medical emergency or catastrophic illness is often exacerbated by the expense of unplanned hotel stays, meals out and often unreliable or unavailable transportation. These statistics reinforced the need for our home and were the genesis for a $1M capital campaign. With the support of over 20 area foundations, a dozen building suppliers and scores of volunteers, a six-bedroom hospitality house became reality in December 2003. Since we opened our doors we have served over 8,500 families.
In 2007 Children’s Hope House entered a formal relationship with the Mad Anthonys Children’s Foundation and became the major beneficiary of the Mad Anthonys Charity Classic for Children, and we changed our name to Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House. In September 2013 we completed an $800,000 renovation and expansion project which added 4 additional guest rooms and over 2,700 square feet. This expansion increased our capacity to serve an average of 500 individuals annually to over 750 individuals each year. In addition, the number of overnight accommodations provided annual grew from 1,600 to over 3,000. We continue to be an independent hospital hospitality house and are primarily funded by grants, fundraisers, and corporate generosity.
In 2013 we obtained ownership of the Lutheran Hospital Gift Shop. All proceeds from Gift Shop operations help fund our program and services provided to the families we care for. In 2016 we hosted the National Hospitality Home Conference and helped educate and inspire over 80 Hospitality Home Professionals from around the country.
In March 2017 we merged with the Indiana Burn Council (IBC). IBC was also providing hospitality accommodations to families receiving specialized burn care at St. Joseph Hospital. This merge expanded our ability to serve more families in need of hospital hospitality services from around the region. These suites are located in a medical office building on the St. Joseph Hospital campus in downtown Fort Wayne. It has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, washer/dryer, and a living space for the families to unwind after a long day at the hospital. Because of its location, these suites are an ideal space for large families or serve as an overflow option from our Dupont and Lutheran locations.
In 2018 the Dupont Hospital NICU expanded their patient capacity. In response to this growing need from NICU families and with great community support, we renovated an existing medical office space on the Dupont Hospital campus which allowed us to open the doors to a third, fully-furnished hospitality suite in August 2019. This location boasts four additional private guest rooms, a common kitchen area, showers and laundry facilities.
Our history shows the longevity and growth for the Children’s Hope House over the years. We are privileged to be able to serve families in need in three different locations around Fort Wayne. These strategic expansions and merges have allowed us to have a great impact over our 17-year history and set us up for success in the future.