A Utah family is donating $35 million to Primary Children's Hospital in the hope of inspiring others to open their wallets to improve children's health care in the growing southern end of Salt Lake County.

Todd Pedersen, founder and chairman of Vivint Smart Home, and his wife, Andie Pedersen, said they were looking for the best long-term service project for their family.

After speaking to businesswoman and philanthropist Gail Miller about Primary Children's Hospital's initiative to improve health care for kids, "I think we all felt strongly about it, and I think at that point, it was a no-brainer," Andie Pedersen said Monday as the couple and others announced the donation at the construction site of the hospital's new Lehi location.

Katy Welkie, CEO of Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital and vice president of Intermountain Children's Health, noted this year marks the 100th anniversary of the hospital "and its mission to care for and support the children of the Mountain West."

In January 2020, the hospital announced "a promise to build a model health system for children in Utah, in the Mountain West, that would serve as a role model for the entire United States," she added.

The Lehi location is now halfway complete, she said, and the building is expected to open in early 2024 to serve children in the area.

Andie and Todd Pedersen "want something that will have a real, lasting and life-giving impact on kids for decades to come," Welkie said.

Gail Miller talks with Todd and Andie Pedersen after the announcement that the Pedersens are helping support an initiative to build the nation’s model health system for children on Monday in Lehi.
Gail Miller talks with Todd and Andie Pedersen after the announcement that the Pedersens are helping support an initiative to build the nation’s model health system for children on Monday in Lehi. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Details of how the $35 million will be used were not released on Monday, but hospital officials said they will announce more next month. An inpatient tower at the Lehi hospital will be named for the Pedersens, Welkie noted, explaining that the hospital wouldn't have been possible without people like the Millers and Pedersens.

Miller said one of her family's guiding principles — though lofty and "probably unattainable" — "is to go about doing good until there's too much good in the world."

"But there's no harm in trying," she said.

Miller emphasized the importance of the new hospital, as new homes "are popping up everywhere" around it.

The hospital will help patients like Harper Morgan, 10, who stood smiling with Miller as she spoke during the news conference. Harper was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 4 years old.

"She remembers being scared after learning about her diagnosis, and when she first started going to Primary Children's Hospital," Miller said.

It was a scary experience for Harper to be at the hospital with people she didn't know. "But the staff immediately put her at ease, and once she became familiar with the doctors, she trusted them," Miller said.

Now Harper is done with her cancer treatment, and "she is full of life and energy, and her dad calls her a total warrior."

Harper lives near the new hospital, and once the Lehi location opens, she won't need to go to Salt Lake City if she needs follow-up treatment, Miller noted.

Gail Miller stands with Harper Morgan, who is a patient at Primary Children’s Hospital, as they announce a major donation from the Todd and Andie Pedersen family to help support an initiative to build the nation’s model health system for children on Monday in Lehi at the construction site for the new hospital.
Gail Miller stands with Harper Morgan, who is a patient at Primary Children’s Hospital, as they announce a major donation from the Todd and Andie Pedersen family to help support an initiative to build the nation’s model health system for children on Monday in Lehi at the construction site for the new hospital. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

"This new hospital campus is a key piece of a much larger vision, and it's going to distinguish Utah and the intermountain area as a model for integrated, high-quality pediatric care," Miller said.

Harper presented a gift to the Pedersens that she said is from her "favorite Halloween movie."

"Should we be scared?" Todd Pedersen quipped, before Harper presented the couple with a painting she created of "The Nightmare Before Christmas."

Andie Pedersen said her family wanted to donate their money to inpatient treatment so they can visit patients and get to know them.

Todd Pedersen said he tries to emulate what his parents taught him about "doing good for others … not just financially … how we care for others, the time we put into others, the respect that we give them."

"For me, it is so cool to live in a community where ... we have people surrounding us thinking about the future of this community and the future of the children of this community in regards to this Primary Children's Hospital," he said.

His wife said they were at a place in their lives where they wanted to give before building a new home or spending money in some other way.

The new Primary Children’s Hospital in Lehi on Monday. The hospital announced a major donation from the Todd and Andie Pedersen family to help support an initiative to build the nation’s model health system for children.
The new Primary Children’s Hospital in Lehi on Monday. The hospital announced a major donation from the Todd and Andie Pedersen family to help support an initiative to build the nation’s model health system for children. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

"I guess we all felt like this should come before anything else in our life," she said.

Todd Pedersen said they've had friends and immediate family who have benefited from the services of Primary Children's Hospital. They wanted to set an example for other families in the community who have been "blessed" financially, of which he noted there are many in Utah's tech sector.

He described the donation as an investment that serves "as many people in the biggest way possible."