The Blank Family Legacy | Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines
Blank Children's Hospital

The Blank Family

A Legacy of Giving

A.H. and Anna Blank created the Raymond Blank Memorial Hospital for Children in 1944 in honor of their son, Raymond, who died at the young age of 33. Raymond Blank was the youngest Eagle Scout in America. He participated in the Geneva Peace Conference as a young reporter and was appointed by President Roosevelt to head the State Polio Foundation. During that time, he helped open a polio ward at Iowa Methodist Hospital. For most of his life he shared a deep love and concern for the well-being of all children. When he died, his family honored his memory by building Iowa's first children's hospital in 1944 - the Raymond Blank Memorial Hospital for Children.

Blank Children's Hospital was the only civilian hospital built during WWII because polio was raging across the state of Iowa. Today, it remains a treasure for Iowa's ill and injured children.

Since the beginning, the Blanks were a fixture at Blank Children's Hospital. A.H. Blank was known for his generous holiday parties for patients. Because the Blank family was in the movie theater business, they had connections at Disney. When the hospital opened, Mr. Blank made a call to Walt Disney requesting that some of his artists come to the hospital and paint murals. Those murals adorned the play room, where children were able to play and have fun. Throughout the years, those murals have been moved and placed behind Plexiglas for protection. Today, murals greet patients and families in the NICU, play room and in a conference room.

Other major supporters at Blank Children's Hospital were Myron "Mike" and Jackie Blank, Raymond's brother. Mike and Jackie continued the family tradition of giving with love. They understood the special needs of children's hospitals and why they required community support. Mike and Jackie were the first two persons to step forward when the Governing Board of Blank Children's Hospital determined the need for a "new" expanded, family-centered children's hospital in 2001. Their generosity spear-headed a successful $8.4 million capital campaign, the largest central Iowa hospital campaign ever. Their generosity continues to live on today and into the future. Because Myron and Jackie were such dedicated supporters, when Myron died in 2005 he left Blank Children's Hospital a $5 million estate gift from his will.  That gift helped launch the Blank Children's Hospital Wishes Endowment Campaign.

Their generosity is evidenced in every part of our city and state - the zoo, the art center, university programs for talented and gifted, to name a few. But nowhere is their leadership and love for giving more appreciated than at Blank Children's Hospital. The smiles on our young patients' faces each and every day are testimony to how grateful we are.