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Giving is part of this family’s faith — and lifestyle

By The Health News Team | September 23, 2022
The Arnold family of San Diego.

Along with volunteering at Sharp, (l-r) Aaron, Lisa, Ben and Ava, shown here together at a birthday celebration, have made several gifts, including a $1 million leadership gift to launch ENVISION. Photo credit: Robin L. Wood

In Judaism, there is a concept called “tikkun olam,” which is often translated as a call to “repair the world.” In general, it is the belief that we are all called to help relieve the suffering of people in need.

Lisa and Ben Arnold, devoted supporters of Sharp HealthCare, have taken that message to heart, both in philosophy and in action.

“For us, tikkun olam is not only part of our faith, but also part of how we're raising our children — to really be physically involved,” Lisa says. “For example, for our daughter Ava’s bat mitzvah project, we didn't just serve lunch to homeless people, our whole family made all 250 lunches and served them.”

Lisa believes that we all have something to give, whether time, talent or treasure — or a combination of the three. And she says it’s vital each person brings what they can to the table to help others.

San Diego philanthropist Lisa Arnold with her daughter, Ava, at Sharp Grossmont Hospital

Lisa Arnold (on right) and her daughter, Ava, (center) brought lunches to Sharp Grossmont Hospital Emergency Department caregivers during the pandemic — just one of the many ways the Arnold has family shown their support of Sharp.

A lifetime of giving
One of the ways Lisa and Ben, founder and CEO of Arnold Family Corporation, a South Carolina-based development company, have given to their communities from South Carolina to San Diego is through their foundation, the Lisa & Ben Arnold Family Tzedakah Fund. Their donations provide support to charities, particularly those that enhance quality of life through health care and education.

After giving birth to their son, Aaron, now 16, Lisa and Ben recognized the change they could bring about for their South Carolina community. Aaron was born 8 weeks prematurely and spent 4 weeks in the hospital’s newborn intensive care unit (NICU). Lisa, however, was discharged from the hospital just 2 days after giving birth.

The arduous travel to and from the hospital to visit Aaron each day as well as the inability to stay with him throughout the day, due to the open-concept design of the NICU, was — along with their appreciation for their infant’s care — the catalyst for their involvement. The Arnolds didn’t just make a significant donation toward the redevelopment of the NICU, Lisa also joined the hospital board of directors and launched a women’s leadership board.

“I realized women make 90% of the health care decisions for their family,” Lisa says. “I could bring my friends and other local women in, have a doctor join us to talk about a health topic, eat lunch, socialize a little bit, learn something new and raise money.”

The Arnolds also issued a challenge gift to the local children’s hospital. They matched every donation made up to $500,000 and the total campaign raised $1.2 million.

A quick trip — then a move — brings the Arnolds to Sharp
On a trip to the West Coast, Lisa decided to visit Bill Littlejohn, senior vice president and CEO of the Sharp HealthCare Foundation. She had heard about his renowned reputation in health care philanthropy and asked him for a tour of Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns. She was, she says, “in awe.”

“I was very impressed by everything happening at Sharp Mary Birch,” Lisa remembers. “And, lo and behold, two years later, I moved out to San Diego and picked up the phone to call Bill. I said, ‘Bill, it’s Lisa Arnold — I'd love to have lunch.’ And this is the story of how I became connected to Sharp.”

Soon after, Lisa’s experience on the board in South Carolina led her to become a member of the Sharp HealthCare Foundation Board. She currently serves as the board’s vice chair as well as chair of the board’s Stewardship Committee.

“When I became stewardship chair, I spent the next year touring every Sharp hospital and going to every event there is for each of Sharp’s foundations,” Lisa says. “While Sharp HealthCare is big in terms of the sheer volume of patients we treat and the number of people Sharp employs, each Sharp hospital and entity has been able to maintain its own individual identity. But we are ‘One Sharp’ — truly a community partner in the health and well-being of all of San Diego and always striving to deliver The Sharp Experience.”

Recognizing blessings and managing them well
Along with her dedicated volunteerism, Lisa and Ben have made several generous gifts to Sharp, including $250,000 for the Sharp Mary Birch Neonatal Research Institute and Nemeth NICU Follow-up Clinic. What’s more, the Arnolds have helped launch ENVISION: The Campaign for Sharp HealthCare with a $1 million leadership gift for the Sharp Prebys Innovation and Education Center (SPIEC).

ENVISION is a 10-year comprehensive campaign with a goal of raising $250 million in support of Sharp's $2 billion investment in San Diego's health care future. The campaign aims to provide clinical and technical innovation, enhance knowledge and learning, create an extraordinary patient experience, and deliver this world-class care to every community.

The SPIEC, set to open in spring 2023, will be a dedicated facility for simulation, demonstration and technology innovations that enhances outcomes for individual patients as well as improves caregiver skills. With 70,000 square feet of state-of-the-art spaces, the SPIEC will provide an auditorium and conference rooms for sharing advanced clinical procedures from infection prevention to lifesaving interventions.

“There’s a saying I often reflect on: ‘Stewardship is recognizing blessings and managing them well,’” Lisa says. “I think that applies to everything. How do we take care of each other as a community? Are we good stewards of everything that we are blessed with? It is about what we do, not just what we give.”

The Arnolds — Lisa, Ben, Ava and Aaron — are doing a lot. “This is how we fix the world,” Lisa says. “This is tikkun olam.”

Learn about supporting the ENVISION campaign and the Foundations of Sharp HealthCare.

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