Forsyth Medical Center targets donors

By Todd Cohen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Forsyth Medical Center Foundation is developing plans to raise more money to support and expand the center’s programs for patients.

The goal is to “involve more people in raising the margin of excellence in our hospital’s programs” and generate $5 million in new gifts and pledges by the end of this year, says Peggy Carter, the foundation’s new vice president of development.

That would bring the foundation’s assets to $30 million.

After deciding three years ago not to undertake a capital campaign because of the slumping economy, the foundation launched a series of smaller drives to fund new programs.

It has raised roughly $25 million over the past three years, with the amount raised each year ranging from $3 million to $12 million, says Carter, who was vice president of corporate affairs for Sara Lee Branded Apparel until opting to leave this spring as part of a voluntary-separation plan offered to employees.

She says she will be creating a strategy to “grow the corpus of the foundation so we can increase the number of programs we offer patients, and support them on an ongoing basis.”

Founded in 1999, the foundation has raised funds that allow the medical center to provide a range of additional services, particularly at its cancer, heart, stroke and women’s centers.

The medical center, for example, provides services that complement those offered by the Hospice and Palliative CareCenter in Winston-Salem, underwrites cancer-prevention studies, and supports The Oaks, a residential-care facility for people who cannot go home but can no longer remain as hospital patients after they are discharged.

The foundation also has launched several new programs at its Sara Lee Center for Women’s Health, which was funded in 2001 with a $5 million gift from Sara Lee Branded Apparel.

“Speaking of Women’s Health,” for example, is a day-long seminar, offered through a national program, that has attracted 950 participants a year for the three years it has been offered in Winston-Salem.

The women’s center also offers Girls on the Run, a Charlotte-based program that provides underprivileged girls with health information, exercise and diet.

And the foundation also has helped the women’s center hire a community health educator for the Latino community who works to help women navigate the health-care system and make health decisions for their families, and who hosts a weekly program on a local Latino radio station.

The biggest source of funds for the foundation is its Founders Society, a group of roughly 900 members who have made a commitment to give $10,000 or more, either immediately or over several years.

The foundation also accepts unsolicited gifts, and offers naming opportunities to individual and institutional donors.

Sara Lee, for example, named the women’s center with a gift of $5 million to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its predecessor company and brand, while Winston-Salem entrepreneur Derrek Davis named the cancer center with a gift of more $5 million.

Chaired by Graham Bennett, president of Quality Oil Co., the foundation’s board also has a committee that is developing a strategy for accepting planned gifts that typically are deferred or involve assets other than cash.

That committee is chaired by Cowles Liipfert, a partner in the law firm Craige Hawley Liipfert & Walker, and should have a plan the foundation can begin putting in place this fall, Carter says.

Overall, she says, the foundation is “laying out what are our priorities moving forward, and what is our best strategy for ensuring a predictable flow of funding to support them.”

A key goal of programs the foundation supports, she says, is to “help establish good health habits so people avoid getting into situations that lead to hospitalization – a healthy, lifestyle.”

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