Children’s Hospital foundation adds actor Joe Manganiello to its board

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The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation announced today that actor Joe Manganiello has been named to its board of trustees.

With the announcement, Mr. Manganiello, a Mt. Lebanon native who starred in the film “Magic Mike” and the HBO series “True Blood,” became the board’s 36th voting member, according to foundation president Greg Barrett.

Mr. Barrett said Mr. Manganiello’s role will be mostly a fundraising one and that he brings “national and international” attention to the hospital’s mission. But Mr. Barrett was quick to note that Mr. Manganiello will have a seat on the board for more than just his fundraising potential.

“He brings a real passion to this. He is very excited about it,” said Mr. Barrett. “The board was interested in him and liked the leadership he showed during our 125th anniversary gala. He was our honorary co-chair, and he became a really important piece of that. That anniversary was our test for him, and he proved that he had the commitment [to the hospital]. This [announcement] was a recognition of that.”

In a statement, Mr. Manganiello said “it has always been my plan” to use his platform “to help the children’s hospital of my hometown.”

Mr. Manganiello, who is married to actress Sophia Vergara and was recently named to play the villain Deathstroke in DC Comics’ next solo Batman film, said: “This world-class institution is a place for hope and healing, and a place that makes things fun for kids who are dealing with so much. One day, you can see Batman washing the windows and the next day attend an art therapy session. I want to spread the word so everyone will know what an amazing place this is. That is why I became involved in the first place and why I’m honored to have been asked to increase my role as a board member.”

Mr. Barrett said he has been impressed by Mr. Manganiello’s attitude and personality.

“I met him about six years ago, and I didn’t really know who he was,” Mr. Barrett said. “He called me out of the blue. I was new to Pittsburgh, and he said he was coming to town to help his brother open a nightclub. When I get there, I see a line — literally a block long — of people, mostly women, to see Joe. They stayed for hours and he stood there and let everyone take a picture with him. I’ve never seen someone so patient. He’s a real gentleman.”

Mr. Barrett said the board welcomed the news.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” Mr. Barrett said. “Not because he’s a star. We have a lot of Pittsburghers on this board that have done well. We wanted him because of the heart he brings to it.”

Anthony Conroy: aconroy@post-gazette.com, 412-263-4823.