$46.5M - hospital blows by goal
Almost five years ago, under new leadership the Martha's Vineyard Hospital board of trustees hired a consultant to assess if there was enough support among year-round and seasonal residents to raise an estimated $30 million to build a badly needed new hospital. The answer was yes.
Although the cost estimate increased and the goal became $42 million, the commitment of Islanders to support the hospital and the confidence of fundraising leaders that the number would be met did not appear to waver.
At a hospital board meeting Saturday the leaders of the capital campaign committee will officially announce that they have met that goal and surpassed it.
The tally is $46.5 million. A total of $22 million of which is already in the bank.
This week leaders of the capital campaign committee cited confidence in hospital leadership, an understanding of the need for a new facility and the intimate connection that exists between patients and caregivers in a small community as elements in the success of the campaign.
There was that and also the ability of well-connected committee members, led by co-chairmen Warren Spector of Chilmark and Frank Biondi of Edgartown, to enlist some of the Island's wealthiest residents in the fundraising effort.
In a telephone interview with The Times on Tuesday, Mr. Spector, the president and co-chief operating officer of the Bear Stearns Companies Inc., an investment banking and brokerage firm, explained how the campaign exceeded its mark.
Mr. Spector said the committee first had to establish the need, then create confidence in the community about the leadership of the institution, and lastly convince people that they should help, which was the easy part. "We wanted to raise all the money necessary to build the building and as we got closer and closer to our goal, donors that we had solicited in the past started coming through and kept giving us contributions," he said.
The added money provides a cushion against unexpected expenses and a solid financial foundation for the hospital going forward, Mr. Spector said. "The most important thing is we said to the community we would fully fund the project, we would not have any debt on the building when we were finished," he said. "And we will not have any debt on the building when we are finished."
The $46.5 million figure does not include the $5 million Mass General Hospital (MGH) and its parent organization Partners HealthCare System agreed to contribute after hospital trustees announced last fall that the hospital would become an affiliate of MGH. Partners, a nonprofit founded in 1994 by MGH and Brigham and Women's Hospital, both in Boston, includes Newton-Wellesley Hospital, North Shore Medical Center, Faulkner Hospital, McLean Hospital, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
Mr. Spector said the announcement that the Vineyard's private nonprofit hospital, which was founded in 1929, would become part of MGH had no effect on the fundraising effort and was very well received by all of the donors that he spoke with. The affiliation provides a critical guarantee of future quality, he said, irrespective of any changes in management and board members.
Fund raising pyramid
In most fundraising campaigns, the diagram of contributions resembles a pyramid, according to Mr. Spector. A small number of people give significant sums and the base of contributions broadens out from there.
There are approximately 1,700 donors said Mr. Spector, of which 800 are from the Island. The definition of an Island donor is a registered Vineyard voter.
Seven hospital donors accounted for $17.5 million, or 40 percent of the total. The largest single donation is $3 million followed by five donations of $2.5 million and one donation of $2 million. Another eleven donors contributed $1 million or more.
For now, the major donors remain unidentified, but in the future some names could appear in specific part of the hospital or on rooms. Mr. Spector said in all cases any discussion about naming opportunities was always an afterthought. "It was remarkably unimportant," he said, "and I think that is a sign of people recognizing that it is really a community hospital."
Islanders contributed $6.9 million. "We were pretty pleased with that," said Mr. Spector.
Edward Miller of Chilmark and Tuna Kiersted of Edgartown, described by Mr. Spector as "indefatigable, relentless," were part of the campaign to enlist the support of Islanders.
Last year, the committee targeted 6,500 households of registered Vineyard voters by relying on a core strategy that was personal in a community where everything is local.
Ads appealing for contributions featuring well-known Islanders appeared in both Island newspapers as part of a successful campaign titled "A New Beginning, Building for the Next Generation."
At the same time, a committee of Islanders chaired by Mr. Miller hosted a series of small get-togethers attended by hospital CEO Tim Walsh and Tim Sweet, chairman of the building committee.
On Tuesday, Mr. Miller said the success of the local fundraising effort rested in part on the personal service most people experience at the hospital and the hospital's solid business management and profitability. People knew that their money would not be funding deficits, but would be improving the general health care on the Island, he said.
There was also a sense among Islanders that this is their hospital and they needed to be a part of the rebuilding effort and not leave it up to seasonal people, he said.
"The entire campaign committee did a tremendous job under the leadership of Warren Spector and Frank Biondi," said hospital chairman John Ferguson, "However, the success of this campaign would not have been possible without the support of the Island community. Islanders committed close to $7 million to this campaign - a true testament to their belief in our mission to provide quality health care year-round. Along with the generosity of the seasonal community and their willingness to pledge their support to the Vineyard to ensure that everyone on the Island has access to high-quality health care, we will have a state-of-the-art new hospital facility in the not-too-distant future."
Tim Walsh, hospital chief executive officer, said the successful culmination of the campaign represented "a phenomenal vote of confidence in the hospital."
He said the additional $5 million from Partners would make it much easier to move into and equip the new building with the best equipment.
Back from the brink
What a difference five years can make. In the spring of 2002, the hospital was about to begin a search for a new chief executive officer following the sudden departure of Kevin Burchill.
The hospital had ended the fiscal year with an $888,000 loss on operations. At Windemere, which follows a calendar fiscal year, first-quarter budget figures reflected a continued drop in the facility's operating loss of $36,000.
At the time, newly elected hospital chairman John Ferguson, CEO and president of Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, a nationally recognized health-care facility, remained upbeat. He told The Times that the goal was "to get all the pieces to work together."
The board named chief financial officer Tim Walsh to be the new CEO, began hiring new doctors, and planning for a new building.
In June 2004, after more than a year and a half of planning and $8 million in cost-cutting revisions, the hospital board of trustees presented their plans for a new hospital building to the public, including a discussion of the reasoning behind the decision to build on the current site rather than an alternative location.
One of the largest cost savings in the new plan was the decision to drop plans to build a new medical building that would have included doctors' offices and administrative space. Instead, the existing 1974 wooden hospital building was slated for renovation. The old building is not suitable for uses other than as offices, under current hospital building codes, which prohibit wooden structures. Future plans could include replacing the building with a new structure.
Driving the choice to build on the current site is the cost of replicating all of the existing hospital services and facilities, including the Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, estimated in excess of $60 million.
The new hospital, designed by Thomas Miller and Company, a Tennessee consulting and architectural firm, will include private patient beds, state-of-the-art medical facilities, and electronic links to Boston medical facilities and specialists. The physical layout of the building is designed to increase staff efficiency, patient comfort and privacy, and allow for new services and facilities based on a patient-centered health-care system known as the Planetree Model.
In July 2005 the hospital board officially kicked off its public campaign to raise the $42 million needed to build a new Martha's Vineyard Hospital with the announcement that more than $20 million had already been pledged.
The capital campaign was titled: "A new beginning: Building for the next generation."
In June the hospital and its affiliated Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center posted its first-ever combined profit. Hospital leaders hoped to break ground on a new building in the summer of 2006.
Following a long public review, in December 2006 the Martha's Vineyard Commission, the Vineyard's powerful land use regulatory body, approved the hospital plan.
On March 1, Martha's Vineyard Hospital officially became an affiliate of the Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of Partners HealthCare.