Carolinas HealthCare Foundation at the ready

Michael Rose
Michael Rose

Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On April 23, 39 cyclists with physical injuries or disabilities embarked from Charlotte on a three-day, 180-mile, hand-pedaled Cycle to the Sea ride to North Myrtle Beach that raised $30,000 for the adaptive-sport program at Carolinas Rehabilitation.

And on May 23, thousands of people attended a carnival at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, raising over $250,000 to benefit the Carolinas Kids Cancer Research Coalition, a group formed earlier this year by eight philanthropic groups to support clinical trials by the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Center at Levine Children’s Hospital.

Lending a hand for both events was the Carolinas HealthCare Foundation, a philanthropy formed in 1959 that supports Carolinas HealthCare System.

Operating with a staff of 22 employees, the foundation has raised over $179 million in the last 25 years and helped generate over $80 million more in grants and contracts funding.

The foundation reported $300 million in assets at the end of 2009, and last year alone raised roughly $15 million, mainly for the health-care system’s facilities in Mecklenburg County.

It also supports the work of 15 other facilities in the Carolinas that are tied to the system and supported by active foundations of their own.

“We are involved in everything that relates to Carolinas HealthCare System, Carolinas Medical Center and the various entities that are part of that,” says Michael Rose, the foundation’s president and CEO.

The foundation, for example, helped develop the Carolina Kids Cancer Research Coalition, which in February announced it was giving $5.7 million to the pediatric cancer center at Levine Children’s Hospital, a Carolinas HealthCare System facility.

And as the “in-house consultant” for foundations that actively support other system facilities, Rose recently attended a retreat in Asheville for the board of Anderson Medical Center in Anderson, S.C., to help develop a plan for its philanthropic arm.

The foundation also sponsors dozens of fundraising events each year, and benefits from hundreds of other events other groups sponsor to benefit the health-care system.

Events sponsored by the foundation and by other groups to benefit the foundation range from several thousand dollars each to hundreds of thousands of dollars each, and all those events also help engage new friends to the system, Rose says.

“We do that because it develops a base of support for us and attracts people to our facilities, and helps people feel like they’re helping make something happen, and helps identify people who are interested in us,” Rose says. “And that leads to major gifts.”

The foundation, which also focuses on corporate partnerships, has begun developing the use of technology to raise money.

Since launching online registration four years ago for the annual Hopebuilders 5K Run/Walk, which will held for the 15th time Oct. 9 and will be presented by Babson Capital, participation has doubled, to 2,000 people last year, and net contributions have grown by roughly 25 percent to $130,000 last year.

With roughly $50 million in planned gifts it knows about, the foundation also works closely with Carolinas Medical Center to set priorities for addressing its ongoing and future needs.

“Every day’s a new day,” Rose says, “and we try every single day to be prepared for what the next day might bring.”

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