CLEVELAND - Even in a good economy, raising $1 billion is an ambitious goal.
But University Hospitals Case Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Thomas F. Zenty announced on Wednesday that the health care system's Discover the Difference campaign goal of $1 billion has been reached in eight years.
That's a year earlier than expected. They reached their target in "one of the worst economic climates we've ever had," he said.
Zenty revealed that an unprecedented gift of $32.5 million from the Rainbow Babies & Children's Foundation made the fundraising achievement possible. But after a thorough analysis of the region's health care needs, University Hospitals is expanding its fundraising goal to $1.5 billion.
"These are transformational achievements for our system," Zenty said.
Over the last several years, University Hospital has used philanthropic funds to rapidly expand the system's clinical and supportive care programs, establish new endowments and complete capital projects. They include: the Seidman Cancer Center, the Ahuja Medical Center, the Angie Fowler Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Institute, the Quentin and Elisabeth Alexander Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Center for Emergency Medicine and Marcy R. Horvitz Pediatric Emergency Center, and the Harrington Discover Institute and Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute.
Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital is recognized as one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country. The Rainbow Foundation, established in 1974 upon the merger of Rainbow Hospital and Babies and Children's Hospital, is an independent organization of women who support the hospital's mission. The foundation's support for Rainbow since then totals $118 million, half of that given to the Discover the Difference campaign.
But it is donations from across the region that have contributed to the $1 billion.
"In 2003, University Hospitals had a donor base of fewer than 8,000," Zenty said. "Today, we have over 60,000 individuals, foundations and corporations supporting our mission - to heal, to teach, to discover. Our gift size is anywhere from $1 to $72.6 million. Everyone who provides us with philanthropic support, from my perspective, is investing in our mission, and investing in work we do everyday."
This year alone, University Hospitals raised a record $150 million. A third of that came from the Harrington family to create the Harrington Discovery Institute. It underscores the commitment to cutting edge medical research.
The "mission" is evolving.
Under health care reform, Zenty feels what University Hospitals needs to do is make certain it is bringing as many "world class services" as they can as close to where people live to receive those services. Zenty said they can project but not predict.
"However, there's a big difference between the business we're in and the work we do. The work we do is carried out by the 20,000 physicians, nurses, caregivers at UH, employees, volunteers, everyone who is so focused on the great care patients receive here. That's what we like to think the billion and a half dollars will be focused on."