Inspired by the charitable example of the "First Lady of Saint John's", the Irene Dunne Guild was established in 1987.
The Irene Dunne Guild, a support group of more than 120 dynamic and caring women, encompasses one of Saint John’s most vital philanthropic and service groups. Founded in 1987, the Guild has raised more than $17 million for Saint John’s vital programs, equipment and special projects.
The Guild has provided thirty-three years of service and remains deeply committed to strengthening Saint John’s for our community. Like our founder, Irene Dunne, Guild members put their hearts forward, finding innovative ways to raise funds, comfort patients, educate their community and nurture the Health Center's mission of compassionate care.
Irene Dunne was a widely acclaimed actress who was known for her devotion and continuing desire to help others. She achieved great personal satisfaction and public recognition for her involvement with many charitable causes. Click here to learn more about this remarkable woman.
She was one of the first sponsors of the National Heart Committee and in 1948, served as chair of the National Women's Committee of the American Heart Association. The American Red Cross named her a national vice chairman of its annual drive in 1948, the same year she served as national commander of the Volunteer Field Army of the American Cancer Society.
She was a member of the Los Angeles Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women and served as chair of the sponsors committee of the Hebrew University Rebuilding Fun, a subsidiary of the American Friends of the Hebrew University. The National Conference of Christians and Jews honored her with its American Brotherhood Award in 1948 for her "outstanding work in the cause of inter-religious unity".
On June 29, 1949, the University of Notre Dame awarded her the Lactare Medal, a signal honor annually bestowed on the Catholic layman deemed to have best upheld the ideals of the church.
Closest to her heart was Saint John's Hospital and Health Center. Her lifelong support exemplified her love and admiration for the hospital. She was president of the Saint John's Hospital Guild in 1951 and served on the Foundation Board for many years. Named a Life Member of the Board of Trustees, she was truly the First Lady of Saint John's Hospital.
Lending her name to this support group of Saint John's Health Center Foundation has inspired every member of the Irene Dunne Guild to take pride in the work to be done in her name for the benefit of the Health Center.