Written by Torrance Memorial Foundation Board Member, Jack Baker
When I was born, my parents lived on a West Virginia dairy farm where my
father grew up and worked. During my childhood, the family moved to Los
Angeles where I arrived later as a young college graduate. After time
spent in military service and graduate studies, I entered law school at
USC, dependent on the generosity of alumni who subsidized my tuition.
I aspired to practice law in the real estate industry and was hired by
a fellow Trojan law alumnus to work in his small real estate investment
company as its only other attorney. A few years later I became his partner
and founded a commercial real estate development company headquartered
here but with a focus on East Coast properties. We created development
offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston and other cities. For four decades
I worked away from California, commuting by air from Los Angeles and residing
in Palos Verdes by choice.
Because of this bizarre business structure, sometimes my wife tells me
I am not really from around here and am unfamiliar with local street names.
To counter this fact-based accusation, I remained a faithful USC Law School
donor and supporter. In part due to this allegiance and fundraising track
record, I received an invitation to join the Foundation Board at Torrance
Memorial Medical Center. It was my first direct contact with the South
Bay business community and Torrance Memorial leadership team. Service
on the board for two terms has been quite a valuable education.
Everyone knows the role of a hospital is disease prevention and treatment.
But I have learned that Torrance Memorial is the South Bay’s community
panacea—a word from Greek mythology referring to the goddess Panacea,
representing healing and cures.
I have also learned that clinical medicine as a discipline cannot function
in a social vacuum. Society determines the type and quality of medicine
being practiced in a community. It is the members of society who freely
determine what resources are available for the training of health care
professionals and the delivery of health care to patients across all medical
In the South Bay, Torrance Memorial Foundation comprises our representatives
who produce the resources reliably year after year for our community welfare.
This foundation is second to none. In 2019 the Foundation raised more
than $16.3 million in philanthropy.
Torrance Memorial holds a strong position in the community, as demonstrated
most recently by its affiliation with Cedars-Sinai providing additional
expert care, a newly opened Hunt Cancer Center centralizing oncology services,
and breaking ground on a medical office building in El Segundo opening
in 2021. Generous donors make these distinctive achievements possible.
It is a privilege for me to be a member of the Foundation Board and to
serve its valuable goals.