Kosair Shriners and Kosair Charities
We are often asked how Kosair Shrine Temple and Kosair Charities support specifically the medical care of children. Kosair Charities has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct support to both the Lexington hospital as well as in support of the national system. Kosair Shriners have one hundred percent of their membership as Permanent Contributing Members of the national system.
Shriners Hospitals for Children
In 1920, Noble Kendrick visited Home for the Incurables in Philadelphia, and as Imperial Potentate subsequently encouraged a movement among the Shriners of North America for rehabilitating orphaned and crippled children. The first hospital unit was built in Shreveport in September 1922. Other hospitals followed at 10 other locations nationwide. A Shriners Mobile Unit was established in Lexington, Kentucky on November 1, 1926, within rented quarters in existing hospitals.
Kosair Crippled Children Hospital
In the 1920s, members of Kosair Shrine Temple and other community leaders believed there was an urgent need to provide medical care to crippled children in the Louisville region and throughout Kentucky. They believed a free-standing, specialized care hospital was necessary. Louisville was an ideal location for several reasons, including:
- A local Kosair Temple was located in Louisville
- The largest metropolitan area in the state
- Excellent transportation access
- Site of the only medical college in the state
- Barnett Owen, M.D., the leading orthopedic physician in the state, resided there
An active member of Kosair temple, Dr. Owen taught at the medical college and practiced medicine in Louisville. As Noble Kendrick led the national effort, Dr. Owen led a hospital effort in our region. In 1926, Kosair Crippled Children Hospital opened, owned by Kosair Charities Committee, Inc., (aka Kosair Charities) the charity of Kosair Shrine Temple.
In 1982, after the merger of hospitals and no longer having the responsibility of operating a health care facility, Kosair Charities was able to broaden its scope of support. It began providing grants to support pediatric programs such as The Kosair Charities Pediatric Convalescent Center at the Home of the Innocents. Kosair Charities also began to provide individual help to children outside hospitals through the Kosair Kids program, which provides assistance for medical, equipment, and therapy bills of children. The property on Eastern Parkway, the original Kosair Crippled Children Hospital, is now the campus for the Sam Swope Kosair Charities Center.
In 2013, Kosair Charities opened its East Campus on Bluegrass Parkway, as well as began the The Face It Movement to end child abuse and neglect. In 2020 a third campus in Shelbyville opened its doors. Kosair Charities currently houses nearly a dozen non-profits in lease-free space across three campuses and typically grants nearly $20 million to approximately 100 nonprofits annually.
Today, Kosair Charities is the largest charity for children in the history of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. For nearly 100 years, Kosair Charities has been exemplifying their mission of protecting the health and well-being of children.
Kosair Shriners are continuing the legacy of love and compassion for children that began more than eighty years ago. Shriners believe any claim we make to being noble comes from this work we do for others.