system, which includes Stamford Hospital.
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
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.