Le Bonheur’s charitable roots date back to 1923, when a group of women began making clothes for underprivileged children living at Leath Orphanage in Memphis. As Le Bonheur Club membership grew, so did its commitment to children. Soon, the Club began attending to the health care needs of children in the orphanage. By providing transportation to doctors’ appointments, women of the Le Bonheur Club became well known to local pediatricians.
In 1944, when the Pediatric Society had an idea for a hospital dedicated solely to children, they contacted Le Bonheur Club. After raising $2 million to build the facility, members of the community and Le Bonheur Club gathered on June 15, 1952, to open the doors to the hospital. As Le Bonheur Club’s president released red balloons with keys to the hospital attached, the celebration served as a promise that no child would ever be turned away from Le Bonheur.
“The doors of Le Bonheur will never be found closed and will forever hereafter be open to those who come in need, seeking its help.” – Mrs. Howard Pritchard, 1952, Le Bonheur Club president
Le Bonheur’s History at a Glance
1923 – Le Bonheur Club is formed.
1944 – The Memphis Pediatric Society approaches club members with a dream: building a hospital dedicated to children.
1946 – A goal of $2 million – ambitious in a post-war economy – is set to build a children’s hospital in Memphis.
June 15, 1952 – Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital opens its doors.
1970s – Le Bonheur becomes the primary pediatric teaching partner for The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Department of Pediatrics.
October 1995 -- Le Bonheur joins the Methodist Healthcare family.
2005 – Plans are announced to build the new Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
2006 – The Family Partners Council is formed, helping Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital collaborate with patient families as part of the care team.
Feb. 14, 2008 -- Le Bonheur breaks ground for the new hospital
June 15, 2010 – Le Bonheur hosts Grand Opening celebration.
December 2010 – Le Bonheur moves patients into new hospital.
2011 – Demolition and remodeling of the old Le Bonheur begins.
June 2011 – Named a Best Children’s Hospital by U. S. News & World Report.
September 2011 – Trauma program receives Level 1 Designation by the American College of Surgeons.