Cancer research and treatment center City of Hope received $50 million — the single largest philanthropic contribution to City of Hope Orange County — from the charitable arm of homebuilder Lennar Corporation.
City of Hope said it will use the money from the Lennar Foundation to help continue building a cancer campus in Irvine, California, which is slated to open in 2022.
"With this gift, we will achieve the nexus of unsurpassed medical expertise, future-focused communities, groundbreaking technology and innovation, all for the single purpose of saving lives," City of Hope President and CEO Robert Stone said. "This partnership supports a system of care delivery that provides state-of-the-art treatments, the latest scientific and medical discoveries, and unprecedented access that will serve as a model across the country."
The cancer care provider first started its $1 billion campus in Orange County in 2019. At the time, City of Hope said it chose the location because about 20% of county residents sought advanced care outside of the region. The project was originally slated to open at a much smaller scale in 2025, but expanded in scope after the provider found that residents needed preventive services and access to clinical trials in addition to cancer care.
Annette Walker, the president of City of Hope Orange County told Modern Healthcare in January 2020 that there were about 3,200 patients who drove from Orange County to the City of Hope's main campus in Los Angeles, often a four-hour commute.
"Add that to the complexity of having cancer," Walker said at the time. "When we did the review of how Orange County would benefit most from City of Hope, it was super-specialized cancer care as well as research. We came to a vision that is resulting in a $1 billion investment in the form of a cancer center; a specialty cancer hospital, which would be the only specialty cancer hospital in Orange County; as well as a network that will surround those to give comprehensive cancer care throughout the county."
A portion of the money will also go to funding research between City of Hope, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial health systems to develop cancer precision medicine approaches in an effort to eliminate health inequities.
The site of the new center was once an air base, which Lennar Corp. bought in 2005 from the Department of Defense, according to the Los Angeles Times. Lennar eventually spun off real estate company FivePoint Holdings in 2009 as a separate company that now owns most of the land. The development now also incudes a 194-acre sports complex and thousands of residential homes with restaurants, hotels and retail stores.