Community Leaders Spearhead Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s $8.5 million Campaign

NORTHAMPTON – As president of a bank with an established relationship with Cooley Dickinson Hospital, William Stapleton says he would have supported CDH’s new building project regardless of how he felt about it.Not that there is any question about where he stands. “We feel very strongly about this project, and I’m trying to get everyone I can behind it,” said the head of Northampton Cooperative Bank, which has two board members who are also on the CDH Board of Trustees.

The relationship between the two institutions, as well as Stapleton’s personal commitment to the hospital’s health, are two of the reasons he was chosen to co-chair a capital campaign that seeks to raise $8.5 million for Cooley Dickinson’s ongoing $50 million expansion project.

David Scott, selected as the other co-chair for the campaign, was well aware of Cooley Dickinson’s role in the community during the years he served as chancellor of the University of Massachusetts.

“We relied heavily on Cooley Dickinson Hospital for our students, as well as many of our faculty and staff, and I got to know about the important work it did,” Scott says. “But now that I’m involved in the campaign, seeing it up close, I think it’s amazing what the hospital does. [CDH President] Craig Melin says they want to build a model community hospital, and I think they have been incredibly creative and innovative in what they’re doing and what they plan to do in the future.”

Such enthusiasm from the co-chairs will go a long way toward helping the campaign succeed. “Their energy, and the way they’ve taken ownership of this effort, have invigorated the entire campaign,” says Diane Dukette, CDH’s executive director of development.

Scott says he has long been impressed with the way Cooley Dickinson is invested in its community. “The wave of the future is for organizations to build a culture of collaboration and cooperation, and I see Cooley Dickinson Hospital at the forefront of that.”

He also notes the impressive amount of free care CDH provides to the uninsured, and believes it is significant that Cooley Dickinson was among the first hospitals nationwide to join with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to work toward higher-quality, safer medical practices. He has also seen the hospital’s work from the inside, on occasions when family members were patients. In short, whether on a personal or community-wide level, Scott recognizes how valuable a top-notch hospital is.

“Education and health care are two of the most important hallmarks of a community,” he says. “They are what attract people to live here and what make them want to stay.”

“This campaign will take the hospital from being very good to being excellent, and preeminent in the area for delivering crucial services,” Stapleton says. “And that benefits not only the hospital and its staff, but local citizens, local businesses and the whole county. A county without a vibrant hospital doesn’t even bear thinking about.”

While Stapleton and Scott will both work with businesses and other groups to share their vision of where Cooley Dickinson Hospital is going, they have already been inspired themselves by some of the people closest to the hospital family.

“I’ve seen the enthusiasm among the physicians, staff and employees leading up to the campaign,” Scott says. “One can’t help but be energized by it.”

It’s an energy they expect will be contagious in the coming weeks and months.

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