About Us


The Maria McArthur Children’s Medical Foundation was established for the continuation and expansion of the charitable work that Maria McArthur and her daughter Heather McArthur started with the children of in El Salvador in 1998.

In the summer of 1998, while on a family trip to El Salvador, the country of her heritage, Maria McArthur first became aware of the deplorable medical situation that the child patients at Benjamin Bloom Children’s Hospital in San Salvador, El Salvador were forced to endure. She was shocked when she discovered the lack of medicines and medical supplies that were available to the suffering children who were patients there.

The impoverished conditions that Maria McArthur witnessed firsthand at this hospital were in sharp contrast to the well equipped and supplied hospitals in Boise, Idaho where she worked as a medical interpreter.   Maria McArthur was to learn, to her great dismay, that the Benjamin Bloom Children’s Hospital was woefully lacking in even the most basic pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and necessary medical supplies required to save lives.

15 year old lukemia patient

15 year old Lukemia patient

Observing this great need, Maria McArthur felt compelled to change this situation by whatever means available to her.  In November of 1998, she and her daughter Heather organized a ten day trip for thirteen Boise State student volunteers including themselves as well as several adult volunteers and a doctor and his wife to Benjamin Bloom Children’s Hospital in San Salvador, El Salvador. On this first trip, these volunteers brought medicine, medical supplies, blankets and Christmas toys for the children.  They also brought with them an overwhelming desire to help these desperately sick children.

This was the first of many trips that Maria McArthur organized for the purpose of  bringing medical aid to the children at Benjamin Bloom Children’s Hospital. Over the next few years, her self-appointed charitable medical aid mission was expanded to include the gravely ill children at Divina Providenca Hospital as well as other medical groups and clinics in El Salvador.

Terminal patient spending last days in the hospital.

Terminal patient spending last days in the hospital.

Maria McArthur paid for many of these trips as well as a large part of the cost of medicines and medical supplies with her own money.  Whatever costs she was unable to cover were paid for by contributions from members of her family, personal friends, community leaders and professionals from her large network of contacts in the medical community.

By 2006, Maria McArthur had spent most of her savings in this charitable work.  Nevertheless, by now her extensive charitable work with the sick children in El Salvador’s hospitals had come to the attention of the general public through newspaper and television stories.

As a result of this publicity, several professionals in the field of nonprofit public charities urged her to establish a public benefit corporation to further expand her charitable work with the children of El Salvador. With their encouragement and guidance, Maria McArthur founded THE MARIA MCARTHUR CHILDREN’S MEDICAL FOUNDATION (the Foundation), a California Public Benefit Corporation, tax exempt status 501(c)(3) under the Internal Revenue Service code on February 24, 2009.

Carlos Rivas Salguero, MD, Medical Director of Divina Providencia

Carlos Rivas Salguero, MD, Medical Director of Divina Providencia.

The Foundation’s mission is to supply Benjamin Bloom Children’s Hospital and Divina Providencia Hospital in El Salvador with palliative medications for pain management and desperately needed everyday hospital supplies and equipment.  This project is being accomplished by working closely with Carlos Rivas Salguero M.D. who is the Medical Director of Divina Providencia Hospital as well as Chief of Oncology for Benjamin Bloom Children’s Hospital.

Maria McArthur and Dr. Rivas have labored together on this charitable work for well over ten years. During this time, they have established a very professional and close personal working relationship.  In his role as medical director as well as department chief of these two hospitals, Dr. Rivas is in a key leadership position.  From his unique position, Dr. Rivas is the person most knowledgeable about the overall medical needs of all of his young patients suffering in both of these hospitals.

Divina Providencia Hospital Volunteers

Divina Providencia Hospital volunteers.

Through the Foundation, Maria McArthur works along with Dr. Rivas in developing a prioritized list of the most critical medical items needed by the young patients in these hospitals. Utilizing this list as a guide, the Foundation solicits funds and obtains grants to purchase these items. Coordinating the Foundation’s efforts with those of Dr. Rivas, the officers of the Foundation purchase and distribute these critically needed medicines and supplies directly to the patients who are in the most need of them.

From the Foundation’s international headquarters in Ben Lomond, California, solicitation for funds is done in person, telephone and through the internet by the officers and the directors. The officers of the Foundation also actively apply for grants from foundations that are able and willing to award grants to further help the Foundation’s charitable work.

Over 85% of the Foundation’s efforts are directed toward fund raising while the remaining 15% of the time is spent purchasing and distributing pharmaceuticals and medical supplies at these two children’s hospitals.

The Foundation also offers support and advocacy for the children in it’s local community.

Maria McArthur

Maria McArthur

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