When you speak with Bill and Nancy Thompson, what immediately comes across is their passion for philanthropy and their palpable sense of excitement at its impact.


For over 15 years, Bill and Nancy have been passionate about serving children and families whose lives are affected by disabilities and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Early on, Bill and Nancy made an effort to show their kids—who now have children of their own—the real work that was being done with the family’s support so they could feel its importance firsthand. “Giving back and having a chance for our kids to experience that is very powerful because they’re the next generation,” Bill says. “We have eight grandkids and they’re going to get the same message. And as a result, we think that this culture of giving can be sustained for many years to come.”


Building on this impact, the Thompson Autism Center at CHOC Children’s, named in honor of the Thompson Foundation’s $10 million founding gift, opened this January. The Center is devoted to addressing three main areas of care: evaluating children as early as possible in order to promote better outcomes; engaging children whose behaviors diminish quality of life for them and their families; and establishing a long-term support system for children with complex care needs. “We have seen the difference that having the right care makes in children’s lives, in their parents, their siblings. It touches so many people,” Nancy says.

Bill believes in the healing power that innovative care can have in the lives of families facing ASD. “There’s nothing like the news that comes from diagnosis and, ultimately, treatment and therapy, to give hope to families dealing with complicated, life-changing neurodevelopmental disorders,” Bill says. “That’s why this center is going to provide an opportunity for families right here in our community, offering help and hope for the future. We’re just very lucky to be able to work with a partner like CHOC.”


Bill and Nancy know the quality of care at CHOC firsthand because they have had grandchildren treated here for serious medical issues. “The level of care, the level of respect that was given to our family…CHOC is just a very special place,” says Nancy. “Walking through the halls of CHOC was amazing—seeing all the children, parents, families, everybody treated with so much care and love.”

Bill continues: “CHOC, without question, leads the way for children’s health. That, to me, is the most powerful element of our partnership. We are absolutely certain this Center is going to be successful. It will deliver what our vision is for autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders here in Orange County.”