George Argyros, his wife, Julia, and his family are worth around $1.95 billion according to Forbes. The 79-year-old real estate mogul is at the helm of Arnel & Affiliates, which owns thousands of apartments in Orange County, California, as well as some 2 million square feet of commercial real estate in Southern California. Argyros made his money in sunny SoCal, so it's no surprise that some of the family's philanthropy focuses on the region. They're strong local arts patrons, and last year, they pledged $13.5 million to Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa.
The Argyros family are also strong supporters of educational and health institutions in Orange County. Via their Argyros Family Foundation, they've steadily supported Argyros' alma mater Chapman University, as well as UCI Foundation (home to the Julia & George Argyros Ambulatory Surgery Center at the Gavin Eye Institute), and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County Foundation, among others. They've also supported the Hoag Hospital Foundation. In 2013, the Argyros Family Foundation gave $2.5 million to expand educational nursing initiatives at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian.
Some of the forces behind this billionaire family's interest in health are personal. Julia's sister was a nurse for some four decades, and the family got a close perspective of just how important nurses are in patient care. In Julia's words, "my sister, Connie Jones, was a nurse for over 40 years. I saw how hard she worked, how dedicated she was to nursing and how important it was to her that her patients receive the best care... of course doctors deserve and should receive recognition for their contributions to healing. But in the end, it is often the nursing care that patients talk about the most."
Not long ago came news that the family was continuing their support of nursing education at Hoag Hospital. George and Julia Argyros announced a $7 million gift to Hoag Hospital Foundation to increase the number of scholarships for Hoag nurses. Awarded through the Julia Argyros Center for Nursing Excellence, the money is providing continuing education scholarships for nurses throughout the Hoag system. With this gift, the family has given $10 million in support its nursing programs.
It's worth mentioning that when compared with giving for new hospital wings or underwriting medical research, nursing doesn't tend to excite many big individual donors. This is why the Argyros' interest in this area is critical.