Rest Haven Children’s Health Fund got its beginnings in 1909 in San Diego largely through the efforts of Mrs. Florence “Ma” Mead for the purpose of treating people with tuberculosis and was initially known as the Society for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis. The Society incorporated in 1910 and in 1920 became a “Preventorium”, a convalescent facility devoted to the welfare of children with or exposed to tuberculosis and its legal name became Rest Haven Preventorium for Children. When the preventorium was no longer needed due to the tuberculosis epidemic dramatically improving, the preventorium was closed.
Upon disposition of the physical facility in 1953 and from the proceeds of the sale, Rest Haven Preventorium established an endowment fund for children in San Diego County designed exclusively to help children in need with health problems when no other financial resources were available and to assist agencies in the acquisition of equipment. Later, the fund was expanded to include children in Imperial County.
In 1998, Rest Haven began doing business as Children’s Health Fund. The spirit and mission of Rest Haven’s beginnings have persevered for more than 106 years due to the dedication and commitment to ensuring all children’s health needs are met and is known, today, as Rest Haven Children’s Health Fund.
Rest Haven’s mission is to provide funds for health related services for children in San Diego and Imperial counties when no other funds are available. Funds will also be provided to assist health care development and to purchase needed services. To fulfill this mission, Rest Haven provides one time or short term funding for all health related needs including developmental health, physical health and mental health for children who meet our eligibility requirements. Rest Haven additionally provides funding in the form of “Special Grants” to nonprofit organizations serving children at risk who have a larger funding need and share our mission and vision.
Rest Haven’s vision is that the health needs of all children in San Diego and Imperial counties will be met. The following values drive our mission and vision:
- All children are entitled to adequate food, shelter, health care and education.
- Providers should focus on prevention so that all children may reach their maximum potential.
- Public resources should be utilized first, whenever possible, to ensure the welfare of children.
- Rest Haven will collaborate with public or private community partners to meet the health needs of children.
Board of Directors
Rest Haven’s volunteer Board of Directors meets twice a year. The Executive Director coordinates all individual emergency grants, Special Grants, and all aspects of Rest Haven’s operations. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors.
Rest Haven’s Board of Directors and the year they were appointed to the Board:
- Christine Bryant Nelissen, Chair, Retired President & CEO, 2007
- Alison F. Gildred, Vice President, Community Volunteer, 2007
- Mark Emch, Treasurer, Chief Financial Officer, Retired, 2018
- Stephen O’Kane, Secretary, Community Health Consultant, 2010
- David N. Allsbrook, Retired Public Official, 1993
- Derek Danziger, President, OPR Communications (San Diego), 2023
- Randall Gorman, Commercial Real Estate Finance & Investment Advisor, 2012
- Steven B. Johnson, Public Affairs and Marketing Consultant, 2023
- Scott Noya, Real Estate Attorney, 2012
- Mary M. O’Connor, D.D.S., Pediatric Dentist, 2015
- Raymond M. Peterson, M.D., Retired Pediatrician & Regional Center Director, 1977
- Karrin Ryan, Market Administration Manager. 2012
- Phyllis Snyder, Community Volunteer, 2010
- George J. Stratigopoulos, D.D.S., Dentist, 2015
- Harold Tuck, Retired Public Official, 2003
- Paul R. Wozniak, M.D., Neonatologist, 2009
Rest Haven would like to acknowledge and thank the San Diego History Center for providing all of the historical pictures above from the Rest Haven Preventorium Collection, Booth Historical Photograph Archives.