Our Story

The Nemours Children's 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, Del., 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.

1940: The Alfred I. duPont Institute is opened in Wilmington, Del., 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 Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware in Wilmington, Del., 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.

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

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 Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware, opened in Wilmington, Del.

1984: The Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware is completed.

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

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.

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

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.”

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

2014: The 450,000-square-foot expansion of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital opened, featuring the soaring five-story Anthony N. Fusco, Sr. Atrium, all single-patient rooms, doubled-in-size emergency department, underground parking garage and rooftop healing garden.

2014: Nemours CareConnect — our 24/7, on-demand telehealth service — launched.

2018: Our Value-Based Services Organization (VBSO), covering commercial and Medicaid patients across Delaware and Pennsylvania, launched to help transform the current health system from a model that pays for sickness to a model that pays for health.  

2018: The Nemours App launched, providing an integrated, personalized point of access to help families manage their child’s health and keep clinicians in the loop between appointments.

2019: The 40,000-square-foot Cardiac Center at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Florida, is opened.

2019: Nemours Children’s Hospital, Florida welcomed its first ever class of pediatric residents.

The Alfred I. duPont Trust

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 Charitable 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 Estate (Mansion and 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.

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 Estate

Nemours Estate 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 Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware in Wilmington, Del., Nemours was named after the duPont family’s ancestral home in France.

Built from 1909 to 1910, the 47,000 square-foot mansion contains more than 70 rooms, nearly half of which are open to the public. 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 Estate “for the pleasure and benefit of the public.” Open for tours since 1977, Nemours has hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Visitation and Admissions

Nemours Estate is family-friendly and welcomes visitors of all ages. Groups of 10 or more should schedule their visit in advance; for all other visitors, no reservation is needed or suggested. Please note that certain areas in the Mansion, Chauffeur’s Garage, gardens and grounds are not fully accessible. We will endeavor to accommodate visitors needing special assistance.

Nemours Estate, including the Mansion, gardens, grounds and Chauffeur’s Garage, is open for visitation Tuesday to Sunday during the regular season (May 1 to November 13); the Estate is closed on Mondays.

During the holiday season (November 19 to January 8), Nemours Mansion is open Tuesday to Sunday except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day; the gardens, grounds and Chauffeur’s Garage are not open during the holiday season.

For hours, directions and more information, please call (800) 651-6912, or visit Nemours Estate.