FirstHealth grows campaign, annual fund

Todd Cohen

PINEHURST, N.C. — Walter Reid is the kind of giver The Foundation of FirstHealth wants to develop.

Since moving to Pinehurst roughly 30 years ago after selling the New Jersey-based Charms Candy Company his father had founded, Reid has been a steadfast contributor to the foundation.

After making an initial gift of $4,000, Reid joined the foundation’s Scroll Society, pledging to give $1,000 a year over 10 years.

And Reid, who will be 94 this year and now lives in Southern Pines, has named the foundation as beneficiary of two charitable remainder trusts, valued at $4 million and $3.6 million, that he created after selling Charms Candy.

“The basic premise that has worked for us is relationship-building,” says Kathleen Westover, the foundation’s president.

Dating to 1929, when a foundation was formed to support Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst, The Foundation of FirstHealth is the umbrella group for five philanthropic entities with endowments totaling $40 million.

This year, the foundation expects to complete a $30 million campaign that already has raised $28 million and increased its goal from $25 million.

Chaired by Dr. John Ellis, a retired orthopedic surgeon who lives in Pinehurst, the campaign will generate funds to support a new heart hospital and institute, a hospice residence, and a hospitality house.

The campaign also has boosted annual giving and major giving.

Last year, annual and major giving totaled $10 million, up from $4 million to $5 million a year before the campaign began in 2005.

In addition to The Foundation of FirstHealth, Westover serves as executive director for the Moore Regional Hospital Foundation; FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation in Troy; FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital Foundation in Rockingham; and Moore Regional Hospital Auxiliary.

Moore Regional Hospital Foundation, which supports health care throughout Moore County, distributed $11.5 million over the two fiscal years ended Sept. 30, 2007.

Westover says it has cost the foundation 13 cents to 15 cents, on average, to raise each dollar in the capital campaign.

Expected to be completed in 2010, the heart hospital and institute will be a building connected to Moore Regional Hospital that will consolidate heart services and include six new hybrid suites that can handle both invasive cardiology and open-heart surgery.

The hospice residence, to be located on a 33-acre site three miles north of the hospital, initially will house 12 residential beds and will have the capacity for future expansion.

And the hospitality house, to be located across the street from the hospital, will include areas for overnight lodging and day-time respite for patients’ families, and will serve as a center to help people navigate the FirstHealth system.

Groundbreaking for both the hospice facility and hospitality house likely will be in 2009.

Westover, who has worked for The Foundation for FirstHealth for 18 years, the last three as president, says it expects to complete the public phase of the capital campaign by November, and then begin an effort to enlist 100 to 200 new members of its Scroll Society.

Members of the Scroll Society pledge to contribute $1,000 a year for 10 years, and may designate that their gift support any of the entities the foundation oversees, or any of the funds that support particular programs like heart or cancer care.

As with Walter Reid, Westover says, fundraising ultimately depends on “peer groups asking people to join us.”

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