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Home arrow COMMUNITY arrow Philanthropic giving shot in arm for GRH


Philanthropic giving shot in arm for GRH

Foundation Manager Will Simons demonstrates how the new vein viewer helps nurses like Sue McCarthy at Grande Ronde Hospital find those deep veins in some patients. The GRH Foundation purchased two vein viewers during this year. (Grande Ronde Hospital photo)
Foundation Manager Will Simons demonstrates how the new vein viewer helps nurses like Sue McCarthy at Grande Ronde Hospital find those deep veins in some patients. The GRH Foundation purchased two vein viewers during this year. (Grande Ronde Hospital photo)

The Grande Ronde Hospital Foundation has spent more than $1.6 million in contributions since 1995 for patient care equipment, thanks to generous donors, annual fundraising events and responsible management of its financial assets.

The foundation is governed by a 12-member board of directors. The board of directors are community members who volunteer their time and service. They meet about five times a year to discuss the status of patient care project goals and consider new patient care equipment needs as identified and suggested by the GRH administrators.

Foundation Manager Will Simons joined GRH last October in the middle of a very productive fiscal year for Foundation activity.

“Our mission is to help fund patient care equipment at Grande Ronde Hospital,” Simons said.

According to the foundation’s annual report for the 2013 fiscal year, nine different projects were accomplished that will enhance patient care at the Grande Ronde Hospital. Most prominently among them was the helistop, which was partially funded by a contribution of $100,000 from the GRH Foundation.

Patient care equipment was also purchased during the last fiscal year, including a new colonoscope and two vein viewers. Contributions also paid for the upgrade to the chemotherapy and infusion center and about $3,600 of restricted funds from the community that were divided among four other patient care departments. All this was possible due to philanthropic contributions from individual community members and businesses.

“There are many types of philanthropic giving,” Simons said. “Grants that are gifts of support; fundraisers like our annual golf tournament, projects that the foundation can help offset the costs of; restricted funds earmarked for certain types of care (specific departments); and gifts-in-kind from the community like knitted caps for oncology patients or vehicle donations for the Home Care Services department.”

The foundation manages these contributions and applies them as specified by the donor or by the foundation board of directors who have identified projects at GRH that they want to help fund in partnership with the hospital administration. Their success at this is what keeps the GRH at the cutting edge of health care technology and patient care.

“These improvements also keep patient care local and help patients with their lives,” Simons said. “This way patients don’t have to travel out of the area for their health care. If there is a doctor referral from La Grande to Walla Walla, for example, the appointment could conveniently take place at the Grande Ronde Hospital.”

The Foundation currently holds $2.7 million in assets that have been raised in the past. Those assets are professionally managed in an investment portfolio that earns dividends for the foundation.

“We are very good stewards of those assets,” Simons said. “We use some of this to fund the purchase of patient care equipment. We’re advocates for the Grande Ronde Hospital and want to keep health care local. It’s an investment in our community.”

Due to responsible management of the foundation’s assets, they are able to contribute annually to their projects. 

“We are distributing around 5 percent of our invested resources each year to patient care equipment,” Simons said. “As we increase planned giving, we want to increase our annual investment in health care.”

The Foundation welcomes individual philanthropic contributions and planned giving or bequests from an individual’s estate. Simons plans to put more information on the hospital’s website about how individuals can include the hospital in their estate planning. Planned giving is an important focus for the Foundation.

“For example, the helistop was built with the funding help of donors Glen, Jean and Alex McKenzie,” Simons said. “That was because of their generosity from planned giving.”

The foundation also engages in a variety of fundraisers like the Grande Ronde Hospital Amateur Golf Tournament. This coming Sept. 14 and 15 will mark the 19th annual tournament. At the two-day event, there will be a live auction and a silent auction.

“This isn’t just fundraising. It’s friend raising too,” Simons said. “Our community relationships are important, and the money all
goes directly to patient care

The Foundation’s acquisitions of patient care equipment could not be made without the aid of generous donors and a community cooperating to enhance its healthcare options. The impact of such donations is visible and practical. 

“By giving to patient care, it’s just as valid as a brick and mortar gift,” Simons said.

Memorial donations are another way that the community contributes toward patient care. Surviving friends of a decedent often choose to donate funds for certain services or hospital departments like hospice treatment, the oncology department, home care, the family birthing center or the radiology department. 

All donations, large or small, are accepted and appreciated by the Foundation. They all go directly toward improving patient care at GRH. 

“People can make a difference,” Simons said. “Many hands make less work.”

For more information about planned giving and other types of donations to the GRH Foundation, contact Simons at 541-963-1431, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  


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