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Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO Lauren Moore at a donor event in advance.

How Lauren Moore Helped Build VCU’s Children’s Tower 

As president and CEO of Children’s Hospital Foundation, Lauren Moore has worked tirelessly to raise funds to help build the Children’s Tower.

Lauren Moore’s childhood as a Navy brat and her high school volunteer duties for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital laid the foundation for her work as President and CEO of  Children’s Hospital Foundation. 

“When you move quite a bit, you have to assimilate to new environments,” says Moore who hails from Tennessee. “That has served me well. I have a genuine curiosity about people, and I am able to communicate things to the community. I got my start in child life at St. Jude and discovered how important it is to think about life through the the eyes of a child.”

Moore and her husband, Elliott, moved to Richmond in May 2011. The couple’s two children – Clara Nell, six, and Henry, four – were born at VCU Medical Center.

“They are CHoR kiddos now,” she says. 

Since taking on her responsibilities with the foundation, Moore and her family try to balance life the best they can, often juggling ballet, soccer, swimming, and vacations with work.

“It’s taxing, but when you love what you do and work to set your boundaries for family –then it all works,” she says. “My husband is great and supportive of me and my career. I am fortunate.” 

Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO Lauren Moore with her family.
Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO Lauren Moore with her family.

Setting Kids on a Healthy Trajectory

Moore started her career in development right out of college at the University of Tennessee. Later, after a move to Minnesota, she worked for the University of Minnesota Medical Foundation Development Office, raising money for its children’s hospital. 

“Higher education fundraising was wonderful, but I didn’t feel the same attachment that I did in the medical space,” she says. “I am in awe of the work that medical teams do. Setting kids on the right trajectory for life has filled me up.”

Moore started working for VCU Health in fundraising positions in 2012 and moved to her current position with the foundation four years ago. During that time, she has been overseeing fundraising for Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s new Children’s Tower, a space dedicated to pediatric care.  

Children’s Hospital Foundation is the fundraiser and fiduciary for CHoR. “We pass funds raised to the institution to impact programs,” Moore says. “We are an important arm of the hospital. We have a closely knit relationship. Without our foundation or the donors adding fuel to the engine, CHoR’s progress wouldn’t be as quick.”

Moore says she appreciates working in a position where she can see and have direct impact on the organization through fundraising. “We help connect donors to the needs of CHoR,” she says. “I like seeing the new providers the hospital is bringing to our community and hearing the stories of families the donors have helped.”

She also loves getting to know the stories of the donors and what they are passionate about. “Donors are doing something that fills them with joy [when they donate to CHoR], and I get to help facilitate that,” she says. “It’s happiness and joy for the donors and the institution.”

Often, donors are families that have been impacted by a health crises and want to give back. “It’s very personal for them,” she says. 

Creating a Children’s Tower of Wonder and Healing

The concept for a children’s hospital in Richmond has been in the making for three decades.

“This has been the dream of the community, community pediatricians, and patients. Families have advocated for it,” says Moore, adding the new Children’s Tower will open for patient care on April 30. 

The tower includes seventy-two inpatient beds in all private rooms, an emergency department, Level 1 trauma center, and a helipad. A healing environment, it will also include an indoor garden, multi-faith chapel, performance space, Ronald McDonald House, indoor gym, and more.

“As parents, we want the best for our kids and when it comes to the degree of speciality provided by Children’s Hospital of Richmond, this is where you go,” Moore says. “We are 100 percent committed to kids and families. There’s a misconception because we are in the city we are hard to get to but the reality is there is parking — valet parking for the emergency department and easy self-parking.” 

The new Children’s Tower design focuses on the James River with specific color palettes and mascot animals for each floor. The floor has a river motif that flows along the corridors. There will also be a mural featuring all the mascot animals, all chosen by kids and in the theme of the James River. Think bears, foxes, dragonflies, birds, deer, and more. 

“The Children’s Tower needed to be child-like, but not childish so our designs were created to provide a sense of calm and fun while inspiring kids to explore and learn about nature,” Moore says. 

The tower also has a three-story atrium with an indoor garden that patients and families can access. Patient rooms will include customizable lights that give kids the opportunity to choose a color that fits their mood. 

“The people that helped with the design were moms, dads, and caregivers. I give credit to the hospital teams for listening to the right constituency groups to make this what it needs to be,” Moore says, noting that the indoor gym was a suggestion from parents. “Kids helped us pick our colors. They are bright, bold, and fun. Having an environment that you can engage with kids and families is a real art.”

It’s all about creating a “whole environment that contributes to successful outcomes and excellent experiences,” she adds. “It’s the little things that make a huge difference.”

Feature photo: Children’s Hospital Foundation President and CEO Lauren Moore (right) with Dr. Shari Barkin, MD, MSHS, at a donor celebration event in Richmond. [Wayne Berger photo]

An award-winning writer based in Richmond, Joan Tupponce is a parent, grandparent, and self-admitted Disney freak. She writes about anything and everything and enjoys meeting inspiring people and telling their stories. Joan’s work has appeared in RFM since the magazine’s first issue in October 2009. Look for original and exclusive online articles about Richmond-area people, places, and ideas at Just Joan: RVA Storyteller.

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