Norfolk Southern donates $250,000 to Children’s Hospital of Georgia to support pediatric behavioral health

People pose for a check presentation
Written by Lisa Kaylor

Representatives from Norfolk Southern, members of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia Philanthropy Board, and Georgia Speaker of the House Jon Burns were all in Augusta today to present the Children’s Hospital of Georgia with a donation of $250,000.

The funds will be used to support the Kisner Foundation & Friends Center for Pediatric Development, Behavioral Health and Wellbeing, which is expected to begin construction this fall. The center will bring together a variety of pediatric mental and behavioral services already offered at Children’s Hospital of Georgia in partnership with Augusta University into one location. It will offer a multidisciplinary approach to care tailored to each child’s needs and will include services like testing and evaluation; referrals for psychotherapy, mental health services; physical, occupational and speech therapy; and connections for parents to ancillary services.

“Norfolk Southern is honored to support the Children’s Hospital of Georgia with a $250,000 donation for the vital development of a mental and behavioral health center. Our commitment to investing in initiatives that build strong, thriving communities aligns perfectly with the hospital’s mission to provide top-tier pediatric care. We believe that enhancing mental health services for children is a critical step toward fostering overall well-being and resilience for future generations,” said Kristin Wong, Director Corporate Giving at Norfolk Southern.

The center will cost about $6 million to build. Along with construction costs, donations are used for programs already in place that will move into the completed center, such as testing materials for autism, learning disabilities and developmental delays.

“We offer those services now but they’re scattered across our campus. We envision a place where we can bring these services together to make it more convenient and more accessible for our patients and their families. The money you’re donating today is going to help us move forward faster with that renovation,” said Dr. Valera Hudson, Pediatrician-in-Chief of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

Hudson, who is also the department chair of pediatrics in the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, emphasized that the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, and thereby the Kisner Center, will serve children in Augusta and across Georgia.

Jon Burns, the Speaker of the House for the Georgia House of Representatives, thanked Hudson for her tireless efforts to serve children across the state and pledged to continue his support of initiatives that improve the mental health care for children. He also thanked his wife, Dayle, and fellow Children’ Hospital of Georgia Philanthropy board members King and Beth Rocker for their efforts in helping to facilitate Norfolk Southern’s support, as well as board member Carol Parrish and state representatives Jodi Lott, Gloria Frazier, Butch Parrish and Karlton Howard.

“Public dollars can’t do it all. It takes partnership between the private sector and the public sector,” he said. “It takes a group of people working together to get things done.