Barbara Sinatra is dead at the age of 90 but her life story and legacy will go beyond the idea that she was married to the legendary crooner and American icon, Frank Sinatra.

She will be remembered not only as “Lady Blue Eyes” but also as one of the founders of the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, an organization which provides services and assistance to children who are subjected to abuse and neglected.

Barbra Sinatra Children’s Center

In 1986, Barbara and Frank Sinatra co-founded the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center located at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California.

In an account Barbara gave to The Desert Sun, she recalled that her friend Barbara Kaplan suggested a project as well as shared some stories with her on the subject of child abuse. Sinatra said that during those days such issues were something that people completely hid or put “under the rug”. Sinatra also said in the same interview that the realization that child abuse at that time was prevalent astounded her. When she met some of the victims, these eventually “did it” for her.

How the idea started

Barbara Sinatra decided to help Kaplan raise the $27, 000 needed to continue to provide therapy for the abused children. They organized a celebrity art auction, which according to Sinatra raised about $60,000.

Much more than what they needed at the time.

The ensuing success of their fundraising the following year started the idea of building a children’s center. Eventually, they were able to raise the funds needed for construction, which allowed them to purchase the site where the center now stands.

No Children Turned Away

According to an account of John Thoresen, the director of the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center, Barbara Sinatra wanted the center to be child-friendly and not turn away a child because they can’t pay for services.

In order to achieve this objective, the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament was organized in order to raise funds. This gala and golf tournament attracted some of the biggest stars in the business over the years. This year, this fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 10-12 at Bighorn Golf Club.

With the death of Barbara Sinatra, the board running the Children’s Center is confident that its assistance to abused children will continue. According to Thoresen, the Center currently has a $9 million endowment and the people who are running it are committed to making the center a legacy of Sinatra’s vision.