Capital campaign fundraising: How big-name donations can rally community support

Aspen (Colo.) Valley Hospital, is undergoing a head-to-toe renovation, one that reflects the changing needs of patients.

"By the time it's built, nearly every area will be either new or newly renovated space," says Deborah Breen, president of the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation.

The hospital's journey started about nine years ago when the board formally assessed the physical, technological and cultural needs of the hospital, Ms. Breen says. The hospital was originally built in the mid-1970s and hadn't been deeply renovated since then.

"We needed to move to a model where patients are able to receive care in private rooms that can accommodate family members as well as technology at the bedside that didn't exist in the 1970s," Ms. Breen says.

Acknowledging the need for more technology-based and patient- and family-centered care, the board launched a $156 million master facilities plan focused on constructing state-of-the-art facilities and enhancing clinical expertise, all while forging ahead with the vision of leading the Aspen community to becoming one of the healthiest in the nation.

The $156 million plan is being partly funded by a philanthropic campaign with a minimum goal of $60 million. The hospital has already received a handful of lead gifts to bolster support and capital to fund the hospitalwide renovation, several from prominent figures. One such gift came from the Lauder family in memory of Evelyn Lauder, the wife of Leonard Lauder. Mr. Lauder is the son of cosmetic businesswoman Estée Lauder. The Lauder family's gift helped build The Evelyn H. Lauder Patient Care Pavilion.

Lynda and Stewart Resnick, prominent businesspersons with ties to the Aspen area, gave a significant gift which will help build The Resnick Family Center for Emergency Medicine. Most recently, the Crown family, owners of the Aspen Skiing Company, gave a gift in honor of Renée and Lester Crown. The gift was made by the Crown children in honor of their parents and will recognize them in The Renée and Lester Crown Center for Specialty Care.

Such capital projects aren't possible without these large gifts for the obvious reasons. But the gifts also can help raise awareness of the project within the community and spur action from other community members, Ms. Breen says.

"When you're approaching a capital campaign of this magnitude, it's only going to happen if we garner the support from our community," she says. "There are certain leaders in this community that others really look to see what they're supporting and what they do. From that, they make their decisions, and the Crown family is one of those inspirational families. They're not just here owning the ski mountains, but they're here in the community."

Community is a key characteristic and pillar of success in a town like Aspen, Ms. Breen says, adding that the hospital and its expansion plan for the future are directed toward, and dependent upon, community awareness and involvement.

"When [donors] make a decision to make an investment in an organization like Aspen Valley Hospital, I think that sends a really powerful message to the rest of the community," Ms. Breen says. "It's a real vote of confidence in our hospital that they're endorsing the direction we're moving in and they see how that's translating to a superior delivery of care. [By donating,] they're saying we are giving a lot of thought to the patients of today and tomorrow."

Adds Ms. Breen, "Our job is to tell our story, and then we need to align the interests of our donors with the needs of the hospital. And the needs of the hospital are driven by what our community needs."

More articles on capital campaigns:

Kaleida Health to Start Building $270M Children's Hospital
Johns Hopkins' Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Gets $65M Gift
Raising the Bar for Raising Dollars: Do's and Don'ts for Today's Hospital Philanthropy


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