The word philanthropy means “love of humankind.” Nowhere is that more evident than in not-for-profit hospitals that typically began when a group of concerned citizens raised funds to ensure their community could access the best care available.
Hospitals particular those in California face insurmountable odds. In an environment of ever-increasing regulations, unfunded mandates, demand for services and rising costs that outpace smaller increases in reimbursement, philanthropy is becoming more and more critical.
Smart Business spoke to Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D., president and CEO of MemorialCare Medical Centers and chair of the California Hospital Association, to learn about hospital philanthropy.
How important is philanthropy to hospitals?
Many hospitals report a negative or just break-even bottom line. Even those achieving slim profits know it’s not enough to cover infrastructure, equipment, education, staffing and research. Hospitals are postponing capital spending, technology acquisitions and renovations due to inadequate operating margins. And state seismic regulations force hospitals to make multimillion-dollar facility investments or risk closing.
The burden of meeting the health needs of California’s 13.2 million uninsured and under-insured also weighs heavily on nonprofit hospitals, as revenues from government and other payers decline.
How does philanthropy support hospitals?
In 2006, U.S. health care institutions raised $7.9 billion. Philanthropic gifts support facility improvements, essential equipment upgrades, wellness, education, screenings and much more. They allow us to provide groundbreaking clinical research, enrich medical and health education, enhance patient programs and fund capital expansion.
Philanthropy makes a difference. Every week premature babies are saved, elderly patients comforted, bones mended, illnesses diagnosed and lives saved thanks to the generous philanthropy of individuals, corporations and private foundations in our caring communities.
Philanthropy elevates a life of success to a life of significance. We see people making that choice every day: children raising $11 for cancer research through a lemonade stand, adults funding charitable trusts and annuities, others making outright major gifts, board members providing expert leadership, hundreds of volunteers and organizations sponsoring fund-raising events all appreciate the value of having high-quality patient care close to home and want others to receive the same, today and in the future.
Can you share examples of philanthropy?
Well over $200 million in gifts, grants and bequests given to MemorialCare Foundations help distinguish our hospitals among the top medical institutions in the country.
When Long Beach Memorial opened in 1907, physicians and community members each donated $200 to begin what is today the second largest community hospital campus in the West. Philanthropists were responsible for the state’s largest children’s hospital when the late Earl and Loraine Miller’s generosity helped to build the Miller Children’s Hospital in 1970. Their own foundation continues with a lead gift of $5 million for Miller Children’s Hospital’s $151 million expansion.
Saddleback Memorial began when Leisure World citizens, envisioning a world-class hospital in South Orange County, raised $500,000, and developer Ross Cortese donated nine acres. It opened in 1974 the first community health facility serving the growing Saddleback Valley. Philanthropy helped build Meiklejohn Critical Care Pavilion with the gift from philanthropists Louise and the late Bill Meiklejohn, the largest in Saddleback Foundation history. A $190 million plan will further expand the medical center, services and technological capabilities. Gifts to Saddleback Memorial-San Clemente helped fund heart programs and technology. Funding for Orange Coast Patient Care Pavilion offers advanced diagnostic and treatment facilities for cancer, surgery, obesity and other services at Orange Coast Memorial.
In fiscal 2007, our medical centers provided $146 million in charity care and community benefits. We support charities like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Habitat for Humanity, where over 200 MemorialCare leaders refurbished a home in Santa Ana.
How can employers help?
Corporate philanthropy is effective for companies trying to meet consumer expectations for the role businesses should play in society, says a recent McKinsey global survey. Employers and their work force help provide ‘that extra measure of care’ through many philanthropic channels individual gifts, corporate grants, payroll deductions, in-kind gifts, major gifts, estate and planned gifts, endowments, tributes, corporate giving, fund-raising events, sponsorships and more. One example, ‘Partnerships in Excellence,’ a group of business owners and executives, supports capital equipment needs at Long Beach Memorial/Miller Children’s. No matter the size of a gift, we are indebted to those who choose a life of significance through their philanthropic commitments.
BARRY ARBUCKLE, Ph.D., is president and CEO of MemorialCare Medical Centers (www.memorialcare.org) and chair of the California Hospital Association. Reach him at email@example.com or (562) 933-9708. MemorialCare Medical Centers include Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Anaheim Memorial Medical Center, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach.