SJF Website_Norton Gift

Norton's create the Norton Thoracic Insitute with $19M gift

When John and Doris Norton’s made the historic $19-million gift to St. Joseph’s Foundation in 2014 to establish the John and Doris Norton Cardiothoracic and Transplantation Institute, it reflected the couple’s long commitment to Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

The Nortons’ history with St. Joseph’s stretches back to John’s birth at the hospital in 1929. Seven years later, the young Norton was raced back to the hospital for a dramatic emergency tracheotomy, which saved his life during a deadly bout with strep throat. The couple birthed their two sons and daughter at St. Joseph’s, and, in true family tradition, their grandchildren were born there as well.

“St. Joseph’s is dear to my heart, and we’re proud to be part of St. Joseph’s family,” said John, who has served on the Barrow Neurological Foundation Board of Trustees and the St. Joseph’s Foundation Board of Directors before passing away in 2016.

“We are blessed to be able to help the hospital and its foundations,” added Doris, who has been a member of the Barrow Women’s Board since 1988 and has carried forward the philanthropic tradition of supporting services at St. Joseph's through the Norton Family Foundation.

Compelled by vision of an elite thoracic center

“We were compelled by the vision of Dr. Bremner to contribute to the expansion of lung and thoracic services and research at St. Joseph’s,” said John. “The new institute will quickly take its place among the few truly elite medical centers of its kind anywhere.”

SJF Website_Norton Gift

Indeed, it did and continues to do so. In 2017, Norton Thoracic Institute soared to No. 1 in the nation for the number of lung transplants performed at St. Joseph's, in addition to maintaining higher than average one-year survival rates. In the years since that milestone, the institute has launched liver and kidney transplant programs, which are thriving to meet a growing need for such services in the Phoenix community and beyond.

Longtime St. Joseph's benefactors

The Nortons have been longtime community benefactors, supporting not only St. Joseph’s and Barrow but also the University of Arizona, the Phoenix Art Museum and other Arizona nonprofits.

SJF Website_Norton Gift

  • In 2006, they gifted $1 million to St. Joseph’s Foundation for the creation of the John and Doris Norton Healing Garden—a one-acre outdoor sanctuary with walking paths, colorful artwork, sculptures, water features, flowers and other desert plants—built in the shadow of the Barrow Neuroscience Tower.
  • In 2011, the couple contributed what was then the largest gift ever made to St. Joseph’s Foundation—$4 million to establish the Doris Norton Scholars program, providing scholarships for third- and fourth-year students in the Creighton University School of Medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
  • The following year, they contributed another $1.3 million to renovate a building on the St. Joseph’s-Creighton campus for administrative offices, a student lounge and gym.
  • More recently, Doris donated an additional $5 million to support vibrant medical education opportunities in Phoenix with the development of Creighton University, which is destined to create a pipeline of physicians, nurses and other health care professionals at a time when the city of Phoenix, the state of Arizona and the nation are facing an imminent shortage of health care professionals.

“I’m delighted to support this expanding partnership between St. Joseph’s and Creighton University,” said Doris Norton. “We’ve always believed St. Joseph’s is the leading hospital in the Valley. Knowing that Creighton mirrors the same commitment to educating outstanding health care professionals makes this the perfect union. We’ve always felt blessed to be able to support St. Joseph’s and the education of those advancing in the health care profession, and I hope others will join us in this effort.”

CLICK HERE > Share humankindness with a gift today!