Russian Gift of Life USA (RGOL), was founded in the late eighties, initially as a volunteer auxiliary to the Rotary Gift of Life program organized in 1975 to provide life-saving heart surgery to children from developing countries. Volunteers provided non-clinical support including transportation, translation, housing as well as emotional and spiritual support to children brought to America for life-saving heart surgery from Russia. The program remained at a grassroots level until philanthropist Kurt Weishaupt started funding heart surgeries – especially for children from Russia.
In 1991, Russian Gift of Life USA incorporated as a separate nonprofit entity. Over the years, and because of the support of donors and the generous posthumous bequest of Andre Guevorguian and his mother Tatiana, its mission evolved and expanded to partnering with volunteer medical teams to provide free pediatric cardiac surgeries, training and medical resources to develop regional pediatric cardiac centers. These medical missions have enabled the centers to perform increasingly complex surgeries locally.
To date, Russian Gift of Life USA has saved the lives of more than 1000 children and supported the training of more than 50 local medical team members.