Cottage Health Receives $65 Million Donation

By Cottage Health System

Visionary philanthropists Mary and Richard Compton recently increased their gift to the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Foundation, for a total of $65 million to support medical excellence and innovation at Cottage Health. Adding to their prior $15 million gift, a new commitment of $50 million is the largest single gift in Cottage’s 135-year history and will be invested in the health of the Santa Barbara community and the region.

The gift will create and name the Compton Center for Medical Excellence and Innovation, a new center bringing together top clinicians, educators and research investigators to propel clinical and operational innovation — advancing healthcare for patients and families.

“The Comptons’ generosity and commitment to the health of our community is extraordinary,” said Ron Werft, President and CEO of Cottage Health. “This transformational gift and crucial investment in our future allows us to identify and contribute to emerging medical technologies and research for the benefit of our patients and community.”

Based at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, the Compton Center will focus on applying the most promising clinical, educational, research, and digital advances to health care delivery. The Center aims to support Cottage experts and community collaborators in accelerating new projects that will help improve the health of the communities Cottage serves.

Mary and Richard Compton have been longstanding supporters of Cottage Health. Their lead gift to the successful Reaching Higher Together Campaign inspired other donors, helping to exceed campaign expectations. The hospital’s newest patient pavilion was named in their honor. The Mary and Richard Compton Endowment Fund for Medical Excellence and Innovation reflects the significance of ongoing innovation as one of the best ways to attract and sustain top-level medical talent at Cottage and ensure continued high-quality health care in Santa Barbara.

“Cottage Health is eternally grateful to Mary and Richard Compton for their vision for our community,” said Steven C. Zola, chair of the Cottage Board of Directors. “This unprecedented gift will inspire ground-

breaking new ideas and strategies to continue life-saving advances in research and the compassionate care Cottage is dedicated to delivering.

Richard recalls the roots of his philanthropy: “I grew up in rural Michigan and went to a one-room schoolhouse. I became a mechanic, and one day a retired farmer named Ann Dorr requested I come to her house. I thought she needed me to fix her lawn mower or tractor, but instead she said, ‘I’d like to loan you the money to go to the University of Michigan.’”

That remarkable gesture of generosity – to recognize potential and enable it to grow — inspired new and future philanthropy that continues to build forward and change lives.

“When people ask how we chose Cottage for this gift,” Mary says, “The spark came from our friends – some are doctors and nurses – who work or have worked at Cottage. They are some of the brightest and best people you’ll ever meet. And we thought if Cottage recognizes the importance of having such quality people, it must be a forward-looking institution.”

Mary and Richard Compton hope their donation inspires others to give, for the health of our entire community.



Written by CottageHealthSystem

For over 130 years, Cottage not-for-profit health system has been providing advanced medical care for patients throughout California. Learn more at

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