It was a meeting in 2008 that opened Michael Linn’s eyes to the enormous and positive impact philanthropy can make. Texas Children’s received a $1 million commitment to establish the Matthew Linn Endowed Fund in Congenital Heart Surgery, and a wonderful partnership began.
After Mike moved his company, LINN Energy, to Houston, it was not long before a friend of Texas Children’s offered to introduce him to Dr. Charles D. Fraser, Jr., chief of Congenital Heart Surgery and now surgeon-in-chief at the hospital.
The friend knew of the heartbreaking loss Mike had experienced in 1989 when his son Matthew died at the age of seven after undergoing surgery in Boston to repair a congenital heart defect. But she also knew that Dr. Fraser could show Mike something amazing.
Dr. Fraser invited him to visit the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital. There, Mike saw children who only the day before had undergone successful Fontan procedures — the same procedure his son had 19 years earlier — and who were on their way home the next day.
This is what inspired that first gift to Texas Children’s. Since then, Mike and his wife Carol have actively and tirelessly championed the hospital’s mission, making additional gifts themselves, serving as incredible advocates for the hospital, building relationships in the community, and encouraging others to give generously as well.
Mike has served on Texas Children’s Board of Trustees for several years, and he and Carol have recently accepted the invitation to serve as chairs of Promise: The Campaign for Texas Children’s Hospital. The Promise Campaign is Texas Children’s answer to the growing need for dedicated, specialized pediatric health care in Houston and surrounding communities.
At its campus in the Texas Medical Center, Texas Children’s has outgrown the space it has to serve patients and their families. In 2014, it was unable to accept 253 transfers from other hospitals because there was simply no room. For Carol and Mike — and for everyone at Texas Children’s — turning away patients just isn’t an option.
“When you add 8,000 families a month to the population base, we have to grow with it,” Mike said. “We take the sickest kids, and we should not ever turn anybody away because we don’t have any room. We can’t say ‘No’ — that’s not who we are. We’ve got to step it up and do something so we don’t turn these kids away.”
Stepping it up is something that comes naturally for Carol and Mike, and that’s why they are chairing the Promise Campaign. Two primary areas of focus are the construction of a new Pediatric Tower at the hospital’s Texas Medical Center Campus — which will house additional and larger critical care units and operating rooms, freeing up space to expand the Emergency Center — and the construction of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, soon to be the only dedicated pediatric hospital serving communities north of Houston.