This Convicted Tax Evader Gave $1 Million to St. Louis Area Hospital for Neonatal Care

It's hard enough to take care of a healthy baby. Babies born prematurely or with obvious health difficulties, however, present additional uncertainties, questions, and challenges for parents. With a $1 million gift to St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri, the Saigh Foundation hopes to support families with infants in the neonatal special care nursery. The foundation aims to help St. Louis-area families of ailing infants get the resources they need, both at the hospital and after they take their babies home.

The Saigh Foundation was created by the late Fred M. Saigh, former owner of the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis real estate mogul, and — as repeatedly emphasized in his New York Times obituary — convicted tax evader. 

Whatever Mr. Saigh's earlier problems with the IRS, his foundation is surely doing much to burnish his legacy as a major philanthropist in the St. Louis area. In 2012, the Saigh Foundation donated some $2.4 million to community organizations in and around St. Louis. Among them were various Boys and Girls Clubs (including one named for Herbert Hoover), a number of schools, the Missouri Botanical Garden, Teach for America, and dozens of other groups engaged in educating and assisting children, the sick, people with disabilities, and even dogs. (Yes, in 2012 the Saigh Foundation granted $5,000 to a group called Support Dogs, Inc., which trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities.) These types of grants align well with the Saigh Foundation's stated priorities: a focus on education and health care for populations in special need of assistance.

Given that one in nine babies in the United States is born prematurely, and that we have fallen behind other industrialized countries in terms of newborn wellness, there is a need for investment in neonatal care for the particularly vulnerable. St. Luke's neonatal special nursery cares for infants born as early as 30 weeks of gestation. Its facilities are equipped with ventilators for infants with respiratory problems, baby IVs, and tools to deal with heart defects.

The Saigh Foundation's grant to St. Luke's will enhance the equipment and technology at the hospital's neonatal special nursery. It also will focus on parental education so that guardians can adequately take care of their little ones, who may require specialized care even at home.

The Saigh Foundation solicits proposals for grants on an ongoing basis. Applicants should be based in the St. Louis area and working on projects to improve health and education for children and young people.