Mission & History

Mission, history, vision.

Blood Centers of the Pacific’s Mission is to provide an adequate and affordable blood supply
which meets the health and safety needs of the public; and to conduct medical and scientific research
and education that improves the safety and efficacy of blood transfusions.

Our History

When two San Francisco physicians began exploring ways to supply blood in adequate amounts to people who needed it, the concept of a community blood bank did not exist. Although some hospitals had small drawing stations, there wasn’t a sufficient method of obtaining and storing blood for later use – by both our military and community hospitals.

The two pioneers decided to pursue the idea of a community blood bank. The San Francisco Medical Society (SFMS) granted the fledgling blood bank permission to operate out of the basement floor of an old San Francisco home owned by the SFMS known as the Irwin Mansion.

On June 12, 1941, Irwin Memorial Blood Bank opened its doors to its first volunteer blood donors. “This was the very first nonprofit community blood bank in the nation,” recalled Dr. DeWitt K. Burnham, one of the founders. The physicians kept their promise to the people of San Francisco that never again would a patient be without an adequate supply of blood.

After years of growth, the blood bank expanded its blood collection operations throughout Northern California. Soon, it became clear that a bigger facility was needed for its headquarters and in April of 1955, Irwin opened its new doors at Masonic and Turk Streets in San Francisco, where Blood Centers of the Pacific’s headquarters exist today.

Significant growth and expansion has occurred since 1955:

  • 1997: Irwin Memorial Blood Bank merged with Peninsula Blood Bank
    to become Blood Centers of the Pacific
  • 1999: Blood Centers of the Pacific affiliated with Blood Systems the nation’s
    second largest blood collection organization in the United States
  • 2011: Blood Centers of the Pacific merged with Blood Bank of the Redwoods,
    Santa Rosa to serve Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino Counties
  • 2016: Blood Centers of the Pacific merged with BloodSource, Sacramento

BloodSource and Blood Centers of the Pacific together represent the largest blood supplier in Northern and Central California. Through a network of 22 donor centers and thousands of mobile blood drives, our highly-trained and dedicated professionals work with blood donors to help patients at nearly 100 regional medical centers and beyond. Together, we are part of Blood Systems. Together, we share a lifesaving mission.

Irwin Memorial Photo