To Your Health: Philanthropy provides vital hospital support
By Terrence Sykes July 3, 2012 2:16PM
Updated: August 5, 2012 6:13AM
For many hospitals, a significant amount of funding comes through the work of their foundations.
Fundraising performed by foundations not only has a direct impact on the institution, but the community as a whole by enabling hospitals to do more and be more for patients.
For example, the Franciscan St. James Community Foundation’s annual golf outing raised enough money to make the purchase of additional mammogram machines possible. These machines enable the hospital to provide potentially life-saving mammography services to thousands of area women each year.
In health care, we’re faced with declining reimbursements, changing technologies and rising costs. The more funds area hospitals can raise philanthropically through foundations, the better they are able to continue their missions.
Going forward, I think foundations will play an even larger role than they already do.
Many unknowns are putting hospital administrators across the country in a very difficult position when it comes to planning how to balance what services they deliver with the resources required to offer those services. Effective philanthropy efforts can give administrators the ability to provide the kind of care people deem important and necessary.
People everywhere want to know there is local health care expertise and technology in their communities, so that they can feel comfortable and confident receiving care. In the Southland, many people think they must venture into Chicago for quality health care. Philanthropic donations allow communities to make that expertise and technology accessible for all residents.
Supporting your local hospital is critically important and necessary for individuals and the community as a whole. When considering whether or not to give, remember that you never know when an emergency situation is going to happen. And when one does happen, you often don’t get to choose where you’re going to get health care.
Financial donations have a big impact because they allow the institution to put dollars where they are most needed. Sometimes donors may indicate specific intentions, which allows them to help finance something that has particular meaning to them.
Planned giving and estate planning includes vehicles such as charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts and LEED trusts. Like many hospitals, Franciscan St. James is fortunate to have corporate partners who will donate “in kind” gifts.
Not all donating is monetary. People can make an invaluable contribution by giving their time. Auxiliary volunteers bring an untold cost benefit to institutions that is deeply needed and highly valued.
I think it’s important for people to realize that people working in philanthropic endeavors such as hospital foundations uphold standards as directed by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy. We take our work very seriously, doing what is right for the institution and our donors; letting them see the impact of their donations and making sure what happens, happens in the right way.
The single largest fundraising event of the year for Franciscan St. James is the annual gala which will be Sept. 22 at the Hilton Towers in Chicago. This celebration of our mission features entertainment and will honor the work of volunteers, staff and physicians.
Information about the gala or sponsorship opportunities is at (708) 747-4000, Ext. 5470.
Terrence Sykes is executive director of the Franciscan Alliance St. James Health Foundation. Franciscan St. James is a member of the Southland Health Alliance.