Mystery Revealed: Why This Billionaire Lavishes Cash on Danbury Hospital

In 2013, the Danbury Hopsital, part of a network of hospitals and medical research centers under the Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN), received an anonymous $10 million gift. Now, the hospital has received an additional $20 million and the donor has stepped forward: Dr. Peter Buck, the 83-year-old billionaire physicist and co-founder of Subway. The $5 footlong chain has sat atop the worldwide restaurant-chain hierarchy since 2011, when it surpassed McDonald's in number of stores.

Of course, if you drew up a list of Danbury area residents with a sizeable net worth ($3.1 billion for Dr. Buck) or you happened to get your hands on Danbury Hospital's inpatient/outpatient records, perhaps you saw this coming. Last year, Dr. Buck was battling illness and spent some time at the hospital, though he claims his gift has nothing to do with being nursed back to health. Nevertheless, there are other resaons for Dr. Buck's gift, and they start with his late wife, Carmen Lucia Buck.

Since its inception in 1999, the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation has been active in several key areas. The foundation is big into education, especially charter schools, conservation and health. When she was still living, Carmen Lucia Buck took a leadership role in the foundation, and had a track record of supporting Danbury Hospital, establishing the first endowed chair at the hospital in the field of Oncologic and Gastrointestinal Surgery. Since Carmen's passing in 2003, the foundation has kept up its giving and has pumped some $8 million into the hospital, funding a robotic surgery center and a chair in surgery 14 years ago. Even last year, the foundation gave a $10,000 gift to a dental x-ray project at Danbury. 

While the foundation has more than $300 million in assets and keeps its causes diverse, a constant has been giving to the City of Danbury and Danbury Hospital.

This latest $30 million to Danbury Hospital was doled out in two parts and was contingent upon the hospital meeting its $50 million campaign goal. The first $10 million went toward construction of a new patient tower which, like a lot of other gifts by Dr. Buck, is named after his late wife.

Once the hospital met its campaign goal, the foundation provided the other $20 million and Dr. Buck revealed himself as benefactor. As a result of the gift, Danbury Hospital now has a completed 30-bed state-of-the-art critical care unit, a larger emergency department, a dedicated imaging center, and a specialized pediatric unit.