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Our History

Go back in time and discover how we became Kosair for Kids. With a proud century-long history-in-the-making, our nonprofit organization began as a hope — rising to meet an urgent need, seeking to provide medical care to crippled children throughout Kentucky. Nearly 100 years later, we continue to strive to help children reach their potential, offering the pivotal support they need to overcome their obstacles. Today, Kosair for Kids leads as the largest charity for children in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

Learn more about each decade below: 

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Kosair for Kids in the 20's

In 1923, the committee incorporated and purchased six acres of land on Eastern Parkway for a children’s hospital. On May 11, 1926, the first ten patients were admitted to Kosair Crippled Children Hospital — a facility for the treatment of crippled children regardless of condition or financial standing. The active and associate medical staff was composed of 102 physicians and surgeons who were recognized as leaders in their particular fields.

Initially, the hospital had 50 beds, an operating room, kitchen, and brace shop. Kosair Crippled Children Hospital grew quickly and by 1934 reached a capacity of 100 beds. During the same year, the hospital became accredited by the American Medical Association.

Iron Lung


In the 1940’s and 1950’s, polio treatment became a high priority, and the hospital was filled to capacity at all times with polio patients. Due to the growing needs of the hospital, in 1952, the W. Barnett Owen Memorial Annex was added and the building was remodeled, making Kosair Crippled Children Hospital a state of the art facility.

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In the late 1970’s, the care for children continued to change, and Kosair Charities Committee began to collaborate with the Children’s Hospital, part of Norton Infirmary, under the advisement of University of Louisville pediatric physicians. As orthopedic care become less prominent, the community required a facility to immediately treat critically ill or injured children.



In 1982, since it no longer had the responsibility of operating a healthcare facility, Kosair for Kids 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 for Kids also began to provide individual help to children outside hospitals through the Kosair Kids® program, which arranges for medical referrals, financial assistance, and transportation. The property on Eastern Parkway, which once served as Kosair Crippled Children Hospital, is now the campus for the Sam Swope Kosair for Kids Center.



The Kosair for Kids Face It Movement was launched in response to the increasing number of child abuse deaths in Kentucky. The movement directly addressed the unacceptable rate of child abuse and neglect in Kentucky with the promotion of best practices in prevention and intervention, engaging the community, and advocating for the improvement of the child welfare system.

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Today, Kosair for Kids is the largest charity for children in the history of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. For nearly a century, Kosair for Kids has helped children reach their potential while overcoming their obstacles. By advancing healthcare, research, education, social services, and child advocacy, our focus is on what children need to succeed.