The idea to build a hospital for the residents of coastal Orange County dates back to 1944. The Rev. Raymond Brahams, seven Presbyterian church members and one physician formed a corporation called the Presbyterian Hospital of Laguna Beach. They began a fund-raising campaign in the local community and changed the name to the Presbyterian Hospital of Orange County after securing a site on the bluffs in Newport Beach. Unable to afford construction costs following World War II, their search for funds became more critical.
In 1950, the Hoag Family Foundation-established 10 years earlier by George Hoag, Sr., who was an early partner in the J.C. Penney Company, his wife Grace and their son George Hoag II-learned of the hospital project and donated the funds needed to begin construction. With the support of the Hoag Family Foundation and the community, the hospital was completed in just two years and named Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian.
The George Hoag Family Foundation and the Association of Presbyterian Members, as the two founding organizations of the hospital, continue providing leadership as corporate members of the Hoag corporation. These corporate members annually elect the board of directors, which includes representatives from the Hoag community and medical staff, as well as the chief executive officer. When the hospital opened on September 15, 1952, there were 75 beds, 68 staff physicians and 60 employees.