Published onChildren's View
“I hope that nobody ever has to use it.” This is perhaps not the sentiment you’d expect from someone whose name crowns a spectacular 250,000-square-foot building. But Stan Middleman’s comment about the newly opened Middleman Family Pavilion on CHOP’s King of Prussia Campus reflects more than his hopes for the structure — it expresses his fervent wish for the health of all children.
In 2020, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia broke ground in King of Prussia, a suburb west of the city, for the building that would represent a vital new chapter in its storied history: a second inpatient hospital.
That same year, Stan Middleman joined CHOP’s Foundation Board of Overseers, a volunteer group whose members serve as champions for the hospital’s mission by leading efforts in philanthropy. A visionary entrepreneur, Middleman founded and built one of the nation’s largest and most successful mortgage companies. He also built a reputation as someone who gives back.
Among other charitable causes, Middleman’s company, Freedom Mortgage, has generously supported the work of the Mortgage Bankers Association Opens Doors Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping families of sick children undergoing treatment remain in their homes through mortgage and rent assistance. MBA Opens Doors partners with hospitals across the country, including CHOP.
As Middleman’s involvement with Children’s Hospital grew, he was moved by the stories of families whose lives had been changed by the hospital. “Since I’ve done this, I can’t tell you how many letters and emails I’ve received,” he says. “The success stories are so interesting and make you feel so good about what you’re involved with.” It turns out, serving on the Foundation Board was only the beginning.
Middleman and his wife, Roslyn, decided to make a transformational gift in 2021 to name the new King of Prussia hospital. The Middleman Family Pavilion was born.
“I couldn’t think of a place that I would rather invest in,” Middleman says simply. “You think about the kids, the actual people who benefit from this. To provide world-class care for someone who can’t do it for themselves is an extraordinarily valuable thing.”
A family helping families
Middleman is quick to point out that “this is a family endeavor,” referring to his wife, their two sons and three grandchildren. Members of the Middleman family have received care at CHOP (see below), yet they also understand that caring for a sick child involves caring for parents, siblings and more.
“It’s one thing what the children go through,” Middleman says. “But then you see what their families go through.”
Beyond the superb medical care patients will receive at the new hospital, the Middlemans were impressed by the attention to services, amenities and physical space designed to create a better experience for families. To Stan Middleman, it only made sense that the building bear not just his name, but that of his family. “I think it means more to be a family place. It brings more warmth to the facility.”
A vision realized, a promise fulfilled
When asked to reflect on his hopes for the new hospital, Middleman has a ready answer: “It’s not so much what goes into the building, but what comes out. Hopefully what comes out of that building is a lot of joy and happiness and lives to be lived — and that's really all you could ask.”
But Stan Middleman thinks big and thinks long-term. He can imagine a day when pediatric medicine has made such strides that the Middleman Family Pavilion — or any hospital — is unnecessary. “I don’t know that we’re that lucky,” he says. “But if things really went our way, nobody would ever walk through the door.”
Until that day, it’s hard to imagine a more welcoming and reassuring door through which to walk.
It’s all connected
One day in the 1960s, a little girl goes out to play in her neighborhood. In an instant, her childhood is upended when she is hit by a car. Her injuries are severe, but fortunately, she lives in Philadelphia, home to the world’s leading pediatric hospital.
At Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, her surgeon is none other than the legendary C. Everett Koop, MD, then the hospital’s Surgeon-in-Chief and later United States Surgeon General. The girl’s mother is a recent immigrant and speaks little English.
During the yearlong course of her daughter’s treatment and recovery, she must navigate a complex healthcare organization, but she takes comfort knowing that her child is receiving the best care available. She takes comfort in something else, too: Dr. Koop, the most eminent of physicians, takes the time to compliment her on how lovingly and skillfully she cares for her little girl. It is a gesture she never forgets. And neither has her daughter, Roslyn Middleman.