CDH Campaign Co-chair: Banks Step Up Giving to Neighborhood Hospitals

NORTHAMPTON — As co-chairman of Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s $10.8 million Caring for the Future campaign, Northampton Cooperative Bank Pres-ident and CEO William T. Stapleton has noticed a significant increase in donations from Western Mass. banks to the hospitals located in their neighborhoods.

“In the past few years, Western Mass. banks have raised the bar for contributions to community-based hospitals,” said Stapleton, former chairman of the Mass. Bankers Assoc. and a bank executive who has worked in the industry for 36 years. He attributed this growing trend to the banks’ decision makers — primarily their trustees — recognizing the importance of locally available health care and state-of-the-art hospital facilities.

“Members of our boards recognize the place of a hospital in their community,” he said, adding that they are providing lead gifts to help finance multi-million-dollar hospital expansion projects.

CDH, a 125-bed community hospital, is seeing evidence of this trend first-hand. In its Caring for the Future campaign that was announced in April of 2005, Northampton Cooperative Bank was the first bank to pledge $100,000, doubling a gift made to the Campaign for Cooley Dickinson Hospital in 1997.

“As the second-largest employer in Hampshire County, Cooley Dickinson Hospital is crucial to the economic and employment base of the county,” Stapleton noted.

“When you put those two factors together, the hospital’s growth and expansion becomes an overwhelmingly compelling issue, and it should be supported.”

Northampton Cooperative Bank is not alone in its commitment. More than 18 months into the hospital’s $10.8 million campaign, $980,000 of the contributions have come from the following banks: Easthampton Savings Bank, $400,000; Florence Savings Bank, $400,000; PeoplesBank, $60,000; Bank of America, $40,000; and Bank of Western Massachusetts, $20,000.

For Easthampton Savings Bank President and CEO William S. Hogan Jr., ESB’s pledge in May of 2005 marked the single-largest contribution in its history. He said the gift coincides with the significant role CDH plays in the community. Noted Hogan, “the stability and medical success of our community hospital directly benefits the residents.” Nine years ago, Easthampton Savings Bank pledged $100,000 to the Campaign for Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

Other area hospitals are seeing increased campaign support from banks located in their communities. In April, Greenfield Savings Bank helped get Franklin Medical Center’s Second Century Campaign off to a strong start with its landmark gift of $500,000. Greenfield Savings Bank President Joseph Poirier stated in a press release that Franklin Medical Center’s staff and medical team, and the hospital’s role as a major part of the economy’s infrastructure, were key factors in the bank’s decision to offer the match.

In June, Country Bank for Savings presented a check for $750,000 to Wing Memorial Hospital’s building expansion project.

Stapleton said he is extremely pleased at the level of support from the banking community. Their support, he added, played an integral part in the hospital’s ability to leverage a $900,000 Kresge Capital Challenge Grant, the fifth-largest grant ever awarded to a Massachusetts hospital. The Kresge Foundation seeks to strengthen nonprofit organizations and the communities they serve. CDH is being challenged to raise $4 million by September 30, 2007 to secure the $900,000 grant. To date, $800,000 has been pledged.

With 100{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} participation from locally owned Hampshire County banks, Stapleton remains optimistic that non-local banks will support Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s campaign.

Recently recognized by Newsweek magazine and CareScience for improvements in patient care, Cooley Dickinson Hospital seeks to become a model for health care delivered at community hospitals. The hospital’s four-story, 116,000-square-foot expansion project will be completed in April 2007 and will include a wing of 32 patient rooms, the Kittredge Surgery Center, a new Joint Replacement Center, as well as more space for laboratory services and central sterile supply.

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