Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - Business -

sys­tem, which in­cludes Stam­ford Hospi­tal.

Com­mu­nity sup­port

Con­struc­tion of the main Stam­ford Hospi­tal build­ing, an ap­prox­i­mately $ 450 mil­lion project that opened in Septem­ber 2016, de­pended on a three- pronged fund­ing strat­egy.

“We knew that we could bor­row $ 250 mil­lion, self­fund with earn­ings of $ 100 mil­lion and then would need a min­i­mum of $ 100 mil­lion from phi­lan­thropy,” Rien­deau said. “That was the go- in cal­cu­lus.”

The ac­com­pa­ny­ing fundrais­ing cam­paign, “Heal­ing Reimag­ined,” would raise about $ 114 mil­lion for the main build­ing, as well as about $ 6 mil­lion for the Ben­nett Cancer Cen­ter, $ 5 mil­lion for a pe­di­atric in­pa­tient unit and $ 41 mil­lion for other projects.

Phi­lan­thropy has also un­der­pinned ma­jor tech­nol­ogy in­vest­ments at the hospi­tal, in­clud­ing a $ 2 mil­lion ro­botic surgery sys­tem and spe­cial­ized equip­ment for its neona­tal in­ten­sive care unit.

In ad­di­tion, pri­vate con­tri­bu­tions also fund free pro­grams that the hospi­tal would not oth­er­wise pro­vide, such as transportation and fit­ness- nutri­tion and in­te­gra­tive- medicine pro­grams for pa­tients at the Ben­nett Cancer Cen­ter.

Western Con­necti­cut Health Net­work — which in­cludes Nor­walk, Dan­bury and New Milford hos­pi­tals — has also seen ro­bust com­mu­nity con­tri­bu­tions in re­cent years.

Do­na­tions of more than $ 10,000 in­creased by 48 per­cent dur­ing the past three years. In the same span, an­nual giv­ing av­er­aged $ 23 mil­lion. Last year, the to­tal hit $ 30.5 mil­lion last year, the sys­tem’s third- high­est an­nual to­tal in the past 15 years.

Those con­tri­bu­tions are fully fund­ing a new $ 4 mil­lion pe­di­atric in- pa­tient unit at Dan­bury Hospi­tal, a $ 2 mil­lion pan­cre­atic- cancer study, and pro­grams that in­clude a Com­mu­nity Care Team fo­cused on im­prov­ing the health of at- risk area res­i­dents.

“Back in the day, phi­lan­thropy in health care was a ‘ nice- to- have’; now it’s a ‘ must- have,’ ” said Grace Lin­hard, WCHN’s chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer.

The Yale New Haven Health sys­tem — which in­cludes Green­wich, Bridge­port and Yale New Haven hos­pi­tals — sim­i­larly re­lies on com­mu­nity sup­port for ma­jor projects.

Pri­vate- sec­tor fund­ing ac­counted for $ 22 mil­lion of a $ 70 mil­lion neona­tal in­ten­sive care unit that opened in Jan­uary at Yale New Haven Hospi­tal and all of the fund­ing for a $ 10 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion of the same type of unit that opened in Fe­bru­ary at Bridge­port Hospi­tal.

Fam­ily and foun­da­tion de­ci­sions to make mul­ti­mil­lion- dol­lar do­na­tions are built on con­fi­dence in hospi­tal of­fi­cials.

In 2014, the Carl and Dorothy Ben­nett Foun­da­tion made a $ 9.1 mil­lion gift to Heal­ing Reimag­ined. In to­tal, the Ben­nett fam­ily has given more than $ 20 mil­lion to the hospi­tal sys­tem.

The Bennetts’ ties to the hospi­tal date to 1974 when Carl Ben­nett, now 95 and liv­ing in Green­wich, was asked to join the hospi­tal’s board. He and his late wife, Dorothy, started the dis­count- store chain Cal­dor.

Daugh­ter Robin Ben­net­tKanarek, pres­i­dent of the Carl & Dorothy Ben­nett Foun­da­tion, served from 2000 to 2013 on the hospi­tal foun­da­tion’s board and also worked as a nurse at the hospi­tal.

Ben­nett- Kanarek cred­ited new Stam­ford Health CEO and Pres­i­dent Kathy Si­lard, who pre­vi­ously served as the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, with an in­stru­men­tal role in the fam­ily’s de­ci­sion to make the 2014 do­na­tion.

“I think it’s a mat­ter of form­ing strong re­la­tion­ships,” said Ben­net­tKanarek, a Green­wich res­i­dent. “Kathy did that

Con­trib­uted photo

New signs have been in­stalled at the en­trance to Stam­ford Hospi­tal, whose cam­pus is also known as the Ben­nett Med­i­cal Cen­ter. The Ben­nett fam­ily has given a to­tal of more than $ 20 mil­lion to the hospi­tal. In front cen­ter is Carl Ben­nett. In back, from left, are Robin Ben­nett- Kanarek; Kathy Si­lard, CEO of the Stam­ford Health sys­tem; and Marc Ben­nett.

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