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Mission Healthcare posts record year

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Ret Boney

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – On the heels of a strong fundraising year, Mission Healthcare Foundation is preparing to launch a capital campaign to fund a new cancer center.

The foundation is the philanthropic arm of Mission Health System, which operates community hospitals in Asheville, Spruce Pine and Marion.

In the fiscal year ended September 30, the foundation raised a total of $8.26 million, the second-best year in its 23-year history, says Bruce Thorsen, the group’s president.

That ability to buck the down economy is due to the foundation’s ability to attract grants, not only from private sources, but from state and federal government as well, he says.

Mission is one of the only non-academic hospitals with membership in the U.S. Army Telemedicine and Technology Research Center, which is interested in Mission’s work in electronic medical records processing, says Thorsen.

And the state is interested in the hospital’s role in disaster-preparedness.

Other programs funded by the foundation include the hospital’s work in genetics, its pet-therapy program and its autism program that helps local pediatricians diagnose the disorder in young children.

“We have a lot of good, creative people and they have some great ideas,” he says. “So we have wonderful programs and projects to take forward and that’s why we’ve been so successful in the grants arena.”

Next year, Thorsen plans to launch the quiet phase of a capital campaign that will raise $10 million to $15 million to fund a new cancer center.

While the economy may still be in the red when the campaign starts, Thorsen is optimistic.

“This is such an emotional appeal that we feel like we’re going to do okay,” he says.

The foundation has raised a total of $91 million since its inception in 1985.

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