Newswise — Investor and film producer Gary Magness and his wife, director-producer Sarah Siegel-Magness, have made a $1.5 million donation to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) on behalf of The Gary Magness Family Foundation. The gift establishes The Gary Magness Family Foundation Endowed Music Therapist position, which will allow CHLA to recruit and retain a full-time certified music therapist for the Mark Taper-Johnny Mercer Artists Program, expanding the capacity of the program to better meet the needs of patients recovering from life-threatening diagnoses.

“We are grateful to the Magness family and the generous commitment they have made to fortify one of our hospital’s most beloved programs,” says Paul S. Viviano, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “Programs like the Mark Taper-Johnny Mercer Artists Program differentiate the care provided at CHLA from that of other health care facilities and support positive health outcomes for children who require comprehensive pediatric care.”

Prior to this gift, the program found it challenging to fulfill the numerous referrals from physicians, nurses, support team members and families due to limited funding and staffing. Team members must prioritize requests to provide supportive therapeutic interactions for patients with the most severe diagnoses. This gift will enable the team to better serve more hospitalized children experiencing a wide range of medical conditions. 

“Philanthropic support like this gift from the Magness family helps ensure that supportive treatment services like music therapy, which complement a patient’s medical care and can have a profoundly positive impact on patients and families, are more readily available to the children who need them most,” says Alexandra Field, manager of CHLA’s Expressive Arts and Therapies department.

The Magness family has seen firsthand the impact music therapy can have on patients and families. Sarah and her daughter Camryn, a pop singer and actress, and Sarah’s brother Warren, visited the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit where they observed a CHLA music therapist at work; Camryn was able to join in on a music therapy session.

 “Our family knows the healing power the arts, especially music, can have on a person,” says Siegel-Magness. “Camryn and I witnessed a music therapy session in the NICCU and instantly, our lives were changed. We were so moved by the session. We both agreed this type of treatment should be available to any child who wants it.”

For hospitalized children, music can be an incredibly effective tool. Multiple research studies have found that music therapy’s benefits include:

  • Increased weight gain and decreased length of stay for infants in the NICCU
  • Improved mood for patients following a music therapy session
  • Reduced pain perception, which can lead to a decreased need for anesthesia and pain medication
  • Increased treatment compliance
  • Improved family bonding and attachment for young children and infants
  • Decreased stress and anxiety

The Magness family lives in Denver, Colorado. Gary Magness is the chairman of the Magness Investment Group LLC headquartered in Denver. He and his wife are co-founders of Smokewood Entertainment. The couple’s credits include producing the six-time Oscar nominated film “Precious” and the film “Judy Moody and The Not Bummer Summer.”

Camryn Magness, known to her fans as Camryn, has toured with One Direction and Fifth Harmony, and has appeared in several films and TV shows. She is also known for her philanthropic efforts in the city of Denver, which have included volunteering at winter coat drives and performing at children’s hospitals.

The Gary Magness Family Foundation has supported numerous charitable organizations, including Alliance for Children’s Rights, The Eva Longoria Foundation, Food Bank of the Rockies, Habitat for Humanity, a native Brazilian tribe called the Xavante, Vanderpump Pets Charity and the Jane Goodall Institute. The foundation is also a major contributor to the Whole Kids Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Whole Foods Market. Their contribution provides funding for salad bar equipment for 400 schools across the United States. Teaching children the value of fresh fruits and vegetables aligns with the Magness family’s passion for improving access to good food for families.

About Children’s Hospital Los Angeles 

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is dedicated to creating hope and building healthier futures for children. Founded in 1901, CHLA is one of the nation’s leading pediatric academic medical centers and is acknowledged worldwide for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. The hospital relies on the generosity of the community to support its groundbreaking pediatric research and the complex care it provides for critically ill and injured children.

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