Be the one that makes a DIFFERENCE.
One Person Can Make a Difference and Everyone Should Try.
–President John F. Kennedy
For almost 50 years, Hacienda HealthCare has expanded by answering the call to address Arizona’s unmet community needs. Our humble beginnings started with the love, compassion and tenacity of one unmarried woman by the name of Ilene Butler. In 1967, she discovered that she would not be allowed to adopt children because she was single. Undeterred, Ilene, who had previously worked with children with special needs, requested that the state of Arizona allow her to become a foster parent to children who had been abandoned by their families and had been institutionalized. Her request was quickly approved for three young children: two with developmental and physical disabilities and a three year-old girl with hydrocephalus (fluid accumulation in the brain).
Delighted to finally be a “mom,” Ilene brought her “little angels” to her mobile home and began a new chapter in her life. Her calling was to provide a loving home for “her little angels,” as she often referred to them. With a big heart and realizing a great need, Ilene opened her home to more children with special needs. She hired nurses and recruited her family members. When she had ten children, she encountered zoning issues at the mobile home park. With the help of her attorney Steve Friedman, she applied for an institutional license and incorporated her business as Hacienda de los Angeles or Home of the Angels. It was a nonprofit 501 C 3 organization. In 2006, the name was changed to Hacienda HealthCare.
By 1970, Ilene had 19 children, 10 employees and several volunteers. She had to lease a larger home in Phoenix, the “Home of the Angels.” As the number of children increased, friends and members of her faith-based community volunteered. Miraculously, a member of her church was willing to donate six acres of land at 1402 E. South Mountain Avenue. Then a group of ladies from the congregation, the “Madrinas,” raised $40,000 to support the construction of the first facility on the western end of the property. Friends, family and the National Guard all joined in the effort, and in 1976, thirty-five children moved into their new 8000 square foot Hacienda home. In 1988, newly applicable federal regulations required the construction of a new facility that was built just east of the original building. These two buildings met the organization’s needs until November 2000.
At that time, Maricopa Integrated Health Services, the county’s health care program, approached Hacienda with a problem. Four of their members who were young children ages 4, 7, 9, and 14 resided in nursing homes where the average age was 74. These nursing homes were designed, staffed and operated for a geriatric population. These young children and the teenager were not receiving the proper care. Hacienda accommodated them and renovated space. In 2003, when there was no remaining space to convert to patient care, the Board of Directors approved the construction of a 58 bed skilled nursing facility for infants, children, teens and young adults. Their doors opened in 2004.
As more community needs were identified outside of the main campus, Hacienda HealthCare opened its first and only free standing sub-acute children’s hospital in Phoenix (Los Niños) in 1994.
Hacienda Children’s Hospital (sub-acute) was built in Mesa to serve the East Valley in 2015. With over 40 programs to date serving over 2550 people every year throughout Arizona, Ilene Butler proved that “One Person Can Make a Difference.”