Samerian Foundation, Inc., makes $3.8 million donation to Riley Hospital for Children

Posted by: Riley Children's Foundation  | Monday, May 2, 2016

The Samerian Foundation, Inc., has made a $3.8 million donation to Riley Children’s Foundation ensuring comprehensive care is available for Indiana’s children with mental and behavioral health needs. Cindy Simon Skjodt announced the gift at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in recognition of May being Mental Health Awareness Month.

The existing behavioral health program for children within IU Health is housed at Methodist Hospital. Relocating the adolescent program to Riley Hospital will sustain and expand care, providing the most appropriate environment and comprehensive medical support network for children and teens, including Indiana’s only pediatric level 1 trauma center and full access to medical specialty and subspecialty services.

Patients are scheduled to move to the new Simon Skjodt Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit at Riley Hospital in July, at which time the Methodist Hospital location will close.

Fitting tribute to Mental Health Awareness Month

In announcing her family’s gift, Cindy Simon Skjodt, who has a master’s in marriage and family therapy, spoke of her commitment to the cause: “We want to ensure that all Indiana children have access to the care Riley provides. Children with autism, eating disorders, and severe behavioral issues need our love, care and support – as does any child. This donation serves to fight the stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care.”

President and CEO of Riley Children’s Foundation Kevin O’Keefe stressed the statewide significance of the Simons’ gift: “Children and adolescents need access to and should receive excellent behavioral care and treatment. This level of care should be equal to other areas of primary and specialized care that are readily accessible to Indiana children and families. We are grateful that the Skjodt family understands and has generously contributed to this unique need.”

Matthew Cook, President and CEO of Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, explains how the unit will redefine and elevate care: “Establishing a top notch behavioral program and facility at Riley, Indiana’s only comprehensive children’s hospital, is the ideal solution for families who may be struggling to help their children. We are directly meeting this significant need by delivering solutions of care.”

Simon Skjodt Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit

The Simon Skjodt Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit will provide a state-of-the-art environment and similar feel as the Riley Simon Family Tower. The unit is devoted to the inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care of up to 20 patients each day. Patients require highly specialized surroundings devoted to safety and emotional, mental and physical healing. The unit will provide:

  • Bright, cheerful space and welcoming environment, with similarities to the Riley Simon Family Tower;
  • Modern classroom space with technology – including a Smartboard – which allows for interactive teaching for children with autism, and better communication with schools to facilitate children’s educational needs;
  • Dedicated programming space for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) patients – including a low stimulation room with sensory swings – to ensure a calming atmosphere;
  • Modern kitchen with working ADA compliant appliances to allow for activity therapy groups that require cooking or baking;
  • Modern kitchen also provides dedicated family centered care table space for dieticians to provide nutritional education to patients with eating disorders.

Prior Simon Family Support

In 2007, the Simon Family made a gift of $40 million toward the completion of the 10-story Simon Family Tower at Riley Hospital for Children. In 2013, Cindy Simon

Skjodt gifted $2.1 million to Methodist Health Foundation to upgrade the adult inpatient behavioral health unit and enhance education programs for mental health professionals.

This $3.8 million gift from the Samerian Foundation, Inc., supports Riley Children’s Foundation’s fundraising priority dedicated to pediatric research and patient care.

The Samerian Foundation, Inc., is named for Cindy Simon Skjodt and Paul Skjodt’s children, Samantha, Erik and Ian.

About Riley Children’s Foundation

Riley Children’s Foundation supports Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, Camp Riley and the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home. As Indiana’s only comprehensive hospital dedicated exclusively to the care of children, Riley Hospital has provided compassionate care, support and comfort to children and their families since 1924. Each year children from all 92 Indiana counties turn to Riley Hospital and its regional clinics throughout the state more than 300,000 times. Riley Hospital’s partnership with Indiana University Health and its strong affiliation with the Indiana University School of Medicine make Riley Hospital the leader in pediatric care in the state and the region. For more information, visit