Our Story

The Nemours Journey

Nemours' founder, Alfred I. duPont, firmly believed that “it is the duty of everyone in the world to do what is within his power to alleviate human suffering.” Mr. duPont’s words and his legacy of compassion have lived on for more than 70 years through the care and services provided to children and families at Nemours.

Our journey began in 1936 with the formation of The Nemours Foundation under the terms of Mr. duPont’s will; it began to deliver on his vision in 1940 when the Alfred I. duPont Institute, a pediatric orthopedic hospital in Wilmington, Delaware, opened its doors.

Today, Nemours has grown to become one of the nation’s largest integrated pediatric health systems, providing hospital- and clinic-based specialty care, primary care, prevention and health information services, and research and medical education programs aimed at improving the lives of children and families throughout the Delaware Valley and in Florida.

Nemours: Through the Years

1935: Through his last will and testament, Alfred I. duPont, industrialist, scientist, musician, inventor, and philanthropist, established a Trust which provided for the formation of The Nemours Foundation, named for the duPont family’s beloved homeland in France.

1936: The Nemours Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to the health of children, is incorporated in Florida.


The Alfred I. duPont Institute

1940: The Alfred I. duPont Institute is opened in Wilmington, Delaware under the medical direction of Alfred R. Shands, MD. The Nemours Foundation’s first health care institution; it quickly becomes world renowned for clinical and research in the field of pediatric orthopedics.

1968: G. Dean MacEwen, MD, succeeded Dr. Shands as medical director of the Alfred I. duPont Institute.

1976: Nemours Board of Directors expanded the Institute’s mission to encompass more pediatric diseases.

1979: First phase of the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, is completed.

1981: Nemours established Nemours SeniorCare to provide programs and health services including dental, vision, and hearing, for low-income seniors throughout the state of Delaware.


Hope Haven Children’s Hospital

1981: Nemours purchased the Hope Haven Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.

1982: Nemours announced its first President & CEO, W. Jeffrey Wadsworth.

1983: Nemours Children’s Clinic, a complementary outpatient and ambulatory care facility adjacent to the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, opened in Wilmington, Delaware.

1984: The Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children is completed.


Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children


Nemours Children's Clinic in Jacksonville, Orlando and Pensacola.

1991: Nemours Children’s Clinic, a comprehensive pediatric subspecialty ambulatory care system, is opened in Jacksonville, Florida.

1995: The award-winning KidsHealth.org is created through the Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media, offering millions of parents, kids, and teens trusted health information from leading pediatric experts.

1996: Nemours Children’s Clinic is opened in Orlando, Florida.

1996: Nemours Children’s Clinic is opened in Pensacola, Florida.

2002: Nemours Board of Directors expanded the Foundation’s mission, adding “leadership” as an avowed part of its purpose and deleting the limiting words “acute” and “chronic.”


Nemours Health & Prevention Services

2002: To support the expanded mission, a new operating division, Nemours Health & Prevention Services, is chartered to articulate and promote holistic health and preventive care for children, beginning in Delaware. Learn More »

2005: Nemours celebrated the fifth anniversary of deploying a fully integrated electronic medical record, integrating an unprecedented 20 specialties across our children’s health system.


Nemours BrightStart!

2005: Nemours BrightStart! is launched in Duval County, Florida, to provide free screening and intervention services for preschoolers at risk of reading difficulties. Learn More »

2005: Nemours announced plans to seek regulatory approval to build a freestanding children’s hospital in Orlando, Florida.

2006: Nemours Board of Directors welcomed six new members, who in addition to Richard Christopher (who was appointed a year earlier) formed a majority of “non-Trustees” to help fully realize the design of Nemours as a leading children’s health system.


Nemours Children's Hospital

2008: Nemours received regulatory approval to begin construction of a medical campus and freestanding children’s hospital in Orlando, Florida.

2009: Nemours broke ground on the Lake Nona medical campus in Orlando, Florida.


"Sky-breaking" at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children

2011: Nemours celebrates “sky-breaking” for the Expansion of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital in Wilmington, DE.

2012:
 Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida, is opened, making Nemours the only pediatric health system in the nation with two freestanding children’s hospitals.

 

The Alfred I. duPont Trust


Jessie Ball duPont and Alfred I. duPont

Upon his death, Alfred I. duPont left behind an estate valued at $40 million and a Last Will and Testament with specific instructions for the creation of a charitable corporation primarily devoted to providing health care services to children.

The Alfred I. duPont Testamentary Trust was established in 1936 to carry out the wishes of Mr. duPont including support of The Nemours Foundation for the preservation and public enjoyment of the Nemours Mansion & Gardens in Wilmington, the care and treatment of disabled children, and the care of low-income seniors throughout the state of Delaware.

Through the generosity of the duPont legacy, the careful guardianship of the Trust assets by the Trustees and the oversight and supervision by the Board of Directors of The Nemours Foundation, Nemours has grown to become one of the nation’s largest children’s health systems — honoring Mr. duPont’s vision through compassion and care for more than a quarter of a million children
each year.

Learn More About the Alfred I. duPont Testamentary Trust »


It has been my firm conviction throughout life that it is the duty of everyone in the world to do what is within his power to alleviate human suffering.”

— Alfred I. duPont

Nemours Mansion & Gardens

Nemours Mansion & Gardens is the 222-acre estate of the late industrialist and philanthropist, Alfred I. duPont, founder of Nemours, and his wife, Jessie Ball duPont. Adjacent to the grounds of the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, Nemours was named after the duPont family’s ancestral home in France.

Built from 1909 to 1910, the 47,000 square-foot mansion features more than 70 rooms, including a music room, nature conservatory, and a two-lane bowling alley. Fine antiques, famous works of art, beautiful tapestries and other treasures decorate the mansion. The surrounding grounds boast one of the finest examples of a formal French garden in North America.

In his will, Mr. duPont requested his trustees maintain and preserve Nemours Mansion & Gardens “for the pleasure and benefit of the public.” Open for tours since 1977, Nemours has hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors.

In 2008, a massive restoration effort of the mansion and gardens was realized. More than 120,000 hours spent by conservators and craftsmen were logged in the three-year effort. One new addition, a Visitor’s Center, was also constructed and provides guests an introduction to Alfred I. duPont’s life and his legacy of philanthropy.

Nemours Mansion & Gardens is open for tours May through December. Led by expert guides, the tour takes a minimum of two hours and includes a comprehensive view of the mansion and surrounding gardens.

Call 1-800-651-6912 for tickets or more information.