Fresno State Bulldogs logo next to Valley Children's Healthcare logo

Valley Children’s and Fresno State:
A Victory for the Valley  


In 2022, Valley Children’s Healthcare and Fresno State officially launched a 10-year partnership that will provide funding for scholarships, increased opportunities for students pursuing degrees in health professions in short supply in Central California, and other collaborative opportunities to strengthen the university’s work in children’s. The agreement also offers unique, game-day experiences for patients and families at “Valley Children’s Stadium.”

Partnering for Our Future

While the naming of the stadium may be the most visible part of the partnership, other components are much more impactful for our communities. Click a component below to explore more.

Two participants at a game day experience eventValley Children's hosts events for our kids during Fresno State Football home games, treating them to tailgate, box suite and on-field experiences. Here are some numbers through the first two seasons:

  • 12 Kid Captains of the Game, who take part in the mid-field, pre-game coin toss.
  • 600 guests at tailgates. These honor different groups of our kids, including members of our Childhood Cancer Survivorship and Epilepsy Support programs, neonatal and pediatric ICU graduates, children with craniofacial and limb differences, and children with autism spectrum disorder. Because of Valley Children's, some of these families were able to attend a football game for the first time ever.
  • 2,400 tickets handed out to patients, families and our staff to attend the game.

Photo of a Fresno State intern and a Valley Children's mentorOur partnership provides funding for scholarships, internships and increased opportunities for students pursuing degrees in health professions in short supply in Central California.

We're currently collaborating with Fresno State to increase the number of nursing school graduates by 50% over the next five years.

We offer a wide range of paid internships in fields from clinical research and physical therapy to business development and information technology services, helping them build the foundation for a career in healthcare. Several interns were subsequently hired for employment after their graduation after the program’s first year. 

Healthy Kids. Healthy Futures. partnership logoHealthy Kids. Healthy Futures. is a partnership of Valley Children's and Fresno State focusing on the health and well-being of kids in the Central Valley to help secure the future of the community for generations to come.

The annual campaign features Valley Children’s staff and providers and Fresno State faculty and students – leveraging public service announcements, social media and long-form videos to promote the importance of physical and mental well-being. 

Learn more at the Healthy Kids. Healthy Futures. website >


Partnership Highlight: Kid Captain of the Game

Kid Captain Mac and George

On September 30, Mac had a once in a lifetime experience when he was chosen to be the Valley Children’s Kid Captains for the Fresno State football game. As Kid Captain, Mac participates in the coin toss on the field alongside Fresno State’s game captains as the Bulldogs prepared to take on Nevada’s UNLV Wolf Pack at Valley Children’s Stadium. Mac also enjoyed other on-field festivities before watching the game in Valley Children’s suite with his family.

“Mac had such a blast, he really felt like he was contributing to the team,” said Mac’s mom, Veronica. “The entire experience, from tailgating to the final play of the game, was a pleasure. We enjoyed watching the game with the ease of access for our son being in a wheelchair everywhere we went.”


Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: An Unforgettable Tailgate

Photo of a participant at a Valley Children's game day experience event

Valley Children’s celebrated Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (which takes place in September) with an unforgettable game day experience, where several childhood cancer survivors and their families attended a tailgate and the first home game of the season.

Among those in attendance was 23-year-old Gladis, who said, “This is my first time at a Fresno State football game, and it is such a nice break from the stress of work and life, to get to bring my friends and hang out with the people who helped with my treatment.”

Jakob, a Fresno State student majoring in public health, explained, “I jumped at the chance to come. It’s always inspiring when I see other survivors, especially ones older than me. It reminds me that I am not the only one, and there is a healthy life to live ahead!”

As patients enjoyed games, a photo booth, music and good food, everyone was excited to take a special moment to celebrate and sing “happy birthday” to fellow survivor Derrick, who was celebrating his 13th birthday that day. Afterwards, everyone made their way through the gates of Valley Children’s Stadium just in time to cheer on another survivor and Kid Captain of the Game, Ethan, who got to participate in the coin toss…and to watch the Bulldogs win!

“When our children with cancer get better, they don't just survive, they thrive,” said Valley Children’s Pediatric Oncology Social Worker Alistair Robertson. “So, while it is a privilege to help our survivors have the best quality of life after cancer, it is a true honor to see them live their lives with resilience, hope and experience the thrill of our hometown Bulldogs take the field!"