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About Kosair Charities


What people are saying about Kosair Charities


“Doctors told us if it weren’t for Kosair Charities, Joshua wouldn’t be with us today.” – Maria, mother of a child helped by Kosair Charities 

“Kosair Charities is so wonderful to help children like Elijah. We can’t say enough good things about Kosair Charities.” – Hilda, grandmother of a child helped by Kosair Charities 

“Without Kosair Charities making this surgery possible, we might have lost our son. We're very thankful” – John, father of a child helped by Kosair Charities 

"The children of this region have no better friend that Kosair Charities," Dr. James Ramsey, President of the University of Louisville 

“Without the support of Kosair Charities and the Shriners in our community, the children’s wonderful new Home of the Innocents Village would not have been possible.” – Gordon Brown, President & CEO of Home of the Innocents 

“Over the last twenty years, Kosair Charities has donated over 90 million dollars providing healthcare for sick and injured children.  Not only has this been a godsend to thousands of families, but they helped spur medical and economic development.” – Jerry E. Abramson, former Mayor of Louisville Metro 

“If it weren’t for Kosair Charities and the Shriners” – Richard S. Wolf, M.D. 

“Kosair Charities drives so many important services, projects and new technology for kids.  This community is unique in that there is not, to my knowledge, a charity that is as large and as generous and as well managed.” – Hank Wagner, former President & CEO, Jewish Hospital Healthcare Services

“We pledge to continue working to deserve trust and respect.  For more than 85 years, we have been the leader in the finding of solutions to the medical problems of children through research and by helping to provide world class medical care to thousands of children from hometowns throughout Kentucky and southern Indiana.”   – Randy Coe, PP, President  of Kosair Charities



Kosair Charities History

(Updated - February 01, 2011)


Kosair Shriners and Kosair Charities


        We are often asked how Kosair Shrine Temple and our charitable arm Kosair Charities Committee, Inc. support the medical care of children. We support the Shriners Hospitals for Children with our time, talent, and treasure. We have two members of Kosair Shriners serving on the board of the Shriners Hospital for Children - Lexington Unit. Two of our Nobles were the chairman of the board of that hospital. One is currently the Vice Chairman. Our volunteers transport children at no charge to and from the Shriners hospitals in Lexington and Cincinnati in our three vans. We have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct support to the Lexington hospital as well as hundreds of thousands in support of the national system. We have one hundred percent of our membership as Permanent Contributing Members of the national system. We are the only temple to achieve this record of support.


Shriners Hospitals for Children


        Perhaps it is best to begin with a brief review of Shriners Hospitals for Children. One can then better understand our unique history and continuing role with children.

        How the Ancient and Accepted Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine and its charitable arm the Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children as it was once known got involved with the charitable medical care of children is an interesting history. Noble W. Freeland Kendrick of Lu Lu Temple in Philadelphia is said to have visited the Home for the Incurables in Philadelphia "for the purpose of taking three or four of the little human wrecks of that institution for an automobile ride." In 1920, Noble Kendrick subsequently encouraged the national membership through his office of Imperial Potentate to "inaugurate a movement among the Shriners of North America for rehabilitating orphaned, friendless, crippled children." (The Book of Boumi, p. 173)

        Reports from Imperial Council meetings of the time indicate that St. Louis was expected to be first chosen for a Shrine Hospital. Ultimately the first hospital unit was built in Shreveport. That hospital was established in September, 1922. Other hospitals followed in Honolulu in 1923; Minneapolis and St. Paul, 1923; San Francisco, 1923; Portland, 1923; St. Louis, 1924; Montreal, 1925; Springfield, 1925; Chicago, 1926; Philadelphia, 1926; and Greenville, 1927.

        A Shriners Mobile Unit was established in Lexington, Kentucky on November 1, 1926. The Shriners Mobile Units were not established as free-standing hospitals built and owned by the Shriners, but in rented quarters in existing hospitals.


Kosair Crippled Children Hospital


        In the 1920s, members of Kosair Shrine Temple and other community leaders believed there was an urgent need to provide medical care to crippled children in the greater Louisville region and throughout the state of Kentucky. They believed a free-standing, specialized care hospital was necessary.

        Our temple was located in Louisville. Louisville was the largest metropolitan area in the state. Louisville had excellent transportation access relative to other areas of the state. The only medical college in the state was in Louisville. Barnett Owen, M.D., of Louisville was the leading orthopedic physician in the state. Dr. Owen was an active member of our temple, taught at the medical college, and practiced medicine in Louisville. He believed the students at the medical college needed training with crippled children. As Noble Kendrick led the national effort, Dr. Owen did in our region. Thus a crippled children hospital and statewide network of support came about in Louisville.

An article from a 1926 edition of Shrine News tells about Kosair's New Hospital for Crippled Children, as well as our various other projects.

(Click to enlarge - use your "BACK" button to return here)


        In 1926 Kosair Shrine Temple opened its own free hospital for crippled children. The name of the hospital was Kosair Crippled Children Hospital. The hospital was owned by Kosair Charities Committee, Inc., aka Kosair Charities, the charitable arm of Kosair Shrine Temple. The hospital had important partnerships in caring with the medical college, the Kentucky Society for Crippled Children, and the Crippled Children Commission of Kentucky.

        Thousands of children were helped by the wonderful work of doctors such as Barnett Owen, Kenton Leatherman, Wayne Kotcamp, Charles Hoffman, Jim Hurt and many others as well as the many medical professionals and general staff at our hospital.

        Many celebrities visited the children including: Bob Hope, Foster Brooks, Muhammad Ali, William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), the Beach Boys, Mel Tillis, and many others. It is of interest that the prize money won by Muhammad Ali in his first professional fight was donated to Kosair Charities to benefit our hospital.

        Kosair Charities Committee, Inc. has provided more than $100,000,000 in charitable support since the 1980s. It is important to note that each member of Kosair Shrine Temple is also a member of Kosair Charities Committee, Inc. Thus each Kosair Shriner can be proud of the medical miracles that occur daily.


Kosair Charities


        Kosair Shrine Temple was and is permitted by the Imperial Council to have such an entity as Kosair Charities Committee, Inc. Kosair Charities Committee, Inc. is a separate charitable corporation under the laws of Kentucky. Interestingly, at one time there were sixteen Shrine Temples with their own charitable organizations including three with hospitals. We are the last one.

        Our charitable efforts affect the lives of countless children and their loved ones. Children from hometowns throughout Kentucky, Southern Indiana, and the nation benefit from the care and compassion found through Kosair Charities. Additional children receive specialized care at the Shriners Hospital Lexington Unit and the entire Shrine hospital system. Medical research we help fund at the University of Louisville School of Medicine will provide care for generations of children yet born. Children in need of long-term care and without hope of a normal life have a modern medical facility thanks to our funding of the new Home of the Innocents, the only such skilled pediatric care facility in Kentucky.

        Our more than $200 million of support since the 1980s of these efforts as well with other child care initiatives gives evidence that Kosair Shriners are continuing the legacy of love and compassion for children that began more than eighty years ago. We believe any claim we make to being noble comes from this work we do for others.

  Randy Coe
Master Mason; 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason; Knight Templar
Past Potentate, Kosair Shriners
President, Kosair Charities Committee, Inc.

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