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Philanthropist Jessica Brandt Makes Transformational Gift to Build the Morgan Rae Center for Hope, Enabling Expansion of Children's Hospital’s Child Abuse Pediatrics Programs

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Philanthropist Jessica Brandt Makes Transformational Gift to Build the Morgan Rae Center for Hope, Enabling Expansion of Children's Hospital’s Child Abuse Pediatrics Programs

The $1.5M commitment is the largest individual gift in the hospital’s history, and will help expand vital programming to care for children who are victims of abuse and human trafficking.

NEW ORLEANS – Children’s Hospital New Orleans is proud to announce plans to construct the new Morgan Rae Center for Hope, which will house the hospital’s Audrey Hepburn CARE Center, Child Advocacy Center, and provide space for community partners who work collaboratively to serve some of the state’s most vulnerable children, adolescents, and teens. In addition, the CARE Center serves as a resource for professionals and agencies across Louisiana, providing training and education on child abuse and trafficking, and serving as subject matter experts.

This vital program provides medical evaluations, forensic interviews, and therapeutic treatment, serving more than 1,300 children and adolescents each year from across Louisiana and coastal Mississippi.

“We know that there are more kids out there who need our help but are limited by space and ability to expand services in our current facility,” said Lucio A. Fragoso, President and CEO of Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “We need a new home for this exceptional community program and are incredibly grateful that Jessica Brandt is answering the call for help with her truly transformational gift that will enable us to help many more children and adolescents in need.”

Mrs. Brandt has generously agreed to fund a new ‘Center for Hope’, with a $1.5M commitment that will house Children’s Hospital’s child abuse pediatrics programs – allowing for up to 2,000 children to be cared for each year, along with expansion of the team of providers and staff.

“The Morgan Rae Center for Hope is named in loving memory of my late great granddaughter, Morgan Rae Hartline,” said Jessica Brandt. “I am proud that her legacy will help provide a new home for the CARE Center and Child Advocacy Center, which help start the healing process for children who have suffered injustices that are hard for many of us to hear about or comprehend. The Center for Hope will help more children in our community get the care and support they need.”

The new Morgan Rae Center for Hope will be located on Children’s Hospital’s Calhoun St. Campus, adjacent to the CARE Center’s current location, and just steps from Audubon Park. The Center will double the program’s square footage, allowing for more children to be cared for, and growth of the dedicated team of child abuse pediatricians, case managers, social workers, and forensic interviewers. The home-like design of the new Center will align with best practices by offering a state-of-the-art training and observation space, conference rooms for multidisciplinary case review, an interactive waiting area, large outdoor play space, and dedicated parking.

This year, the CARE Center will have performed more than 1,300 medical evaluations, served more than 150 young victims of human trafficking, and referred more than 150 children and adolescents for counseling services, all from across 32 different parishes in Louisiana along with portions of the Gulf South and beyond. Construction of the new Center is expected to begin in the Spring and will reach completion in October of 2024.

To learn more about the Children’s Hospital’s community benefits programs, including the CARE Center, visit