You can attempt to count Dr. Charles Darby, Jr.’s many accomplishments that have directly benefitted our community, including the founding of MUSC’s Children’s Hospital in 1987, the invaluable roll he’s played in generating more than $101 million in philanthropic funding for pediatrics programs over the past 30 years, the $1 million he helped secure for The Boeing Center for Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles in Children and Families, or his influence on the expansion of both the Ronald McDonald House and Trident United Way’s Success by Six program. But don’t try to quantify the number of people whose lives have been saved or drastically improved as a result of his efforts; it simply can’t be done.
Although Darby is a top talent in a field where quantifiable results reign supreme, it would be impossible to garner an accurate gauge of his wide-reaching impact, because his work as a pediatrician, advocate, administrator, and philanthropist has not only directly benefitted an extraordinary number of children and their families, but has inspired a legion of other committed caregivers and do-gooders to make a positive difference in the world. Moreover, as lead fundraiser and head cheerleader for the children’s medical research center at MUSC, which bears his name, Darby has been a catalyst for medical breakthroughs that are saving lives now and will continue to advance health care, in this state and beyond, for countless young patients from all walks of life. “There is value and importance in helping one or two people at a time,” notes the esteemed physician, “but selecting to do things that are going to make a change for a large number of people is, for me, much more appealing.”
Career of Caring: (Clockwise from top left) Darby with his five children; with granddaughter Amelia; receiving the SC Great Friend to Kids Award from Columbia’s EdVenture Children’s Museum; accepting a South Carolina Resolution for his lifetime of dedication to improving children’s health care
Darby has partnered that penchant for big thinking, say his colleagues, with hard work and enormous persistence, along with great resources, a generous spirit, and tremendous heart. “He is truly a visionary,” explains Maggie Michael, director of MUSC Center for Child Advocacy and executive director for SC Children’s Hospital Collaborative, who has worked with Darby for more than 15 years. “He has always been passionate about all children having the same standard and quality of care.”
Known as Charlie to his friends, the father of five and grandfather to 16 shares his passion for early childhood health and education advocacy with Joyce—his wife of 55 years and partner in humanitarian outreach. In addition to their myriad philanthropic efforts, they established the Darby Family Foundation at the Coastal Community Foundation in 2001 to facilitate the family’s charitable giving for years to come through grants that support health and education programs.
Darby balks at the idea that he is being awarded for his achievements over a “lifetime.” After all, he’s still going strong, and there are many more big things on his rounds—most importantly, raising the support to build a state-of-the-art children’s hospital building at MUSC. “Charlie is continually reinventing himself,” says Michael. “He’s continually seeking new challenges. He just never quits.”
Dr. Charles Darby, Jr.
Darby, a 1954 Citadel alumnus, was a star football player while attending the military university.
In 1998, Darby and his wife, Joyce, were among three couples to found Trident United Way’s Tocqueville Society—a group that today has grown to 118 members.
Darby was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by Governor Jim Hodges in 2001.
In 2010 Darby received the “Child Advocate Award” from the South Carolina Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The doctor’s advocacy has resulted in more than $101 million being raised in funding for MUSC’s pediatrics program over the past 30 years.
The Darbys are also involved in supporting the Association for the Blind, Charleston Horticultural Society, Charleston Library Society, Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, The Citadel Foundation, Lowcountry Open Land Trust, Medical University of South Carolina, Porter-Gaud School, Ronald McDonald House, St. Johns Country Day School, and Trident United Way.