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Hospital forms foundation

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Betsy Johnson Regional launches annual drive, plans capital campaign.

By Todd Cohen

DUNN, N.C. — Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn has formed a charitable foundation that has launched an annual fund drive and is planning a capital campaign in 2006 that could total $1 million.

Led by a 10-member board of directors chaired by T.C. Godwin, owner of Dunn-based T-Mart Convenience Stories, the foundation also has developed a remembrance-giving program and expects in the next year to hire a full-time executive director, says Pam Tripp, vice president of ancillary services at the hospital and interim director of the foundation.

The board of trustees of the nonprofit hospital, which serves Cumberland, Harnett, Johnson and Sampson counties, decided to form a foundation based on a feasibility study in 2002 by Hilton Head consulting firm Watters & Associates.

The study found significant support for the hospital among area residents, and a desire that it grow, improve its services, bring more specialists to the region and offer more specialty services, Tripp says.

“The board of trustees is anticipating growth of the hospital to meet the needs of the community,” she says. “The foundation will support the hospital to help enhance our primary and specialty health services.”

Formed in 1937, Betsy Johnson is undergoing a big growth spurt that includes a $24 million patient-care expansion opening this year and a $2 million surgical expansion that opened in 2004.

The two projects include construction of more than 64,500 square feet of new space, and renovation of more than 34,300 square feet.

In the past, the hospital raised money each year through several special events, including a golf classic each spring to support a program to manage asthma for children in all primary and elementary schools in Harnett County, and a fall banquet and silent auction to raise money for cancer patients in the community.

But the hospital had not set up a formal structure to handle the numerous donations it received over the years, Tripp says.

The mission of the foundation is to promote awareness of hospital services and goals, encourage residents of the region to get involved in hospital activities, and solicit contributions to promote wellness and health education, and for equipment and construction.

Based on the ongoing advice from Greg Watters of Watters & Associates, the foundation is developing strategies for raising money.

The foundation in January produced a brochure for its new remembrance-giving program, which is starting to receive money.

And the annual drive already has raised $3,000 and received pledges from all members of the hospital and foundation boards.

The drive, which recognizes donors who give at least $100, $500, $1,000, $2,500 and above $5,000, is designed to cultivate individuals who will give each year, and to set the stage for planned giving through wills and estate planning, and for giving through special events.

The foundation board, whose vice chair is Abe Elmore, owner of Elmore Furniture in Dunn, will ask Watters later this year to conduct a feasibility study for a capital campaign next year.

The board at its meeting February 15 set cardiac rehabilitation as the program to be funded by the annual drive this year. That program will be a collaborative effort with WakeMed in Raleigh.

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